What’s the best way to save money if you’ll shop this Thanksgiving weekend? Avoid these retailer marketing ploys that are designed to distract, entrap, and ultimately, get you to spend more money.
Make purchases painful
The National Retail Federation estimates that 116 million holiday shoppers will head out on Black Friday, and 75 million will do their holiday shopping on CyberMonday. Though 65% of survey respondents said they’d shop over Thanksgiving weekend because of the holiday deals retailers offer, it begs the question: Is shopping over Thanksgiving weekend really the best way to save money? According to some behavioral scientists, our attraction to shopping on this weekend has less to do with deals, and more about feeling like we’re a part of something big. Dr. Gad Saad, author of The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography, and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature writes that the foundations of consumerism date back to Darwinism, and that “advertisers are effective to the extent that they provide you with information consistent with your human nature.” Other scientists think we’re attracted to crowded stores and malls as a response to our early “hunt and gather” instincts.
According to Psychology Today, you’ll prime your brain to be less likely to buy into the false “urgency” that crowds and holiday promotions create if you can create a barrier that’s painful enough to make you stop, consider the marketing and environmental hype and evaluate purchases, you’re less likely to overspend. An easy way to do this? Use cash.
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Retailers can target offers to online shoppers with stunning accuracy thanks to “cookies” and your past purchase behavior. If you’re not someone who has historically required a deep discount to be convinced to buy, that can work against you when you shop online. Somewhat ironically, the best way to save money online may not to be to show that you’re a loyal customer. Instead, sign out of your browser to see if that item you were about to buy when you logged in is offered at a steeper discount. If you’re not concerned about an item being out of stock, it may also be worth the effort to abandon your cart. Wait a few hours to see if you get a “bounceback” offer in your email to finish your purchase.
Don’t assume free shipping is a deal
Free shipping day is officially December 14th this holiday season, and while it may have lost some of its luster now that we live in the age of Amazon Prime, MarketingLand says it’s a powerful discount that will attract nine of out of ten shoppers to buy online when it’s offered. Because it is not uncommon for retailers to offer free shipping, only to bump up prices on other items to cover their costs, do a Google Shopping search before you assume you’re getting a good deal.
Steer clear of holiday scents
Neuromarketing taps into your sense of smell, sight, hearing and touch to deepen your experience in a retail environement. According to ScentAir, a company that provides retailers, hotels and restaurants and other industries with custom aromas, people are more likely to spend time in places that have warm scents, like vanilla and cinnamon, and may prefer crisp simple scents like orange or lemon, compared to complex infusions. Further, it says nearly 60% of people will spend more money in a place they think smells good.