13 Retail Store Tricks That May Be Causing You To Spend More Money

And, the retail sales tricks talked about in today’s blog post are done throughout the year.

I’m not talking about scams or anything like that.

But it is true that retail stores, online retailers, and many other companies tend to use tricks to get you to spend more money in order to boost their revenues.

Companies may engage in these retail store tricks to get you to:

  1. Buy more of their product(s).

  2. To make their item(s) seem like a better deal.

While even the smallest advertisement, placement, pricing, and so on may seem insignificant to you, companies know what they are doing. They have done thousands of hours of market research in order to make more money, and they know what works.

These are businesses after all, and their goal is to make money.

But, my business is all about teaching you how to keep more money in your pocket 🙂 So, today’s post will explain various retail tricks as well as my tips to avoid falling for them.

Pricing games

Showing different prices for virtually the same product can encourage you to buy one product over another. And, it’s not always about whether a product is priced the cheapest.

Some of the pricing games and retail selling techniques that a retailer may use include:

  1. Anchor pricing – This is when it says that a product costs $100, but then you find an almost equal item next to it for $50. You are much more likely to buy the $50 item, and this is a common retail store trick. Retail stores like to do this because it makes the $50 item look like a great deal, when in reality it is actually not.

  2. Cents make a difference – A price like $9.99 may seem much more appealing than one priced at $10. It’s only one cent, but the retail stores know this trick well.

  3. Is the price written out? – When the price of an item is written out, such as Ten Dollars, people are likely to spend more money on the item.

  4. 10 for $10 – Many grocery stores and retail stores have this offer. This causes people to buy multiples of the same product because they believe that this is the only way they can get a good deal. However, for the most part, you can purchase just one and it will still just be $1. You should always read the fine print.

My retail sales tips for these is to always make sure that the item is actually a deal, and that you aren’t buying an item because of some perceived value. Always make sure that you actually need the item and be mindful of the different pricing games that may be influencing your purchases.

Related: 30+ Ways To Save Money Each Month

Tax free sale days

Back to school time is just one time of the year that means tax free sale days, but in order to get more customers in the door, some stores also offer random sales tax free days throughout the year.

Surprisingly, when I worked in retail, these were always the best days for revenue. Even though the sales tax was only around a 7-8% discount, our store was always way busier than days in which we gave 20% off discounts.

I guess it was the fact that people thought they were sticking it to the man? Haha, I don’t know!

Either way, my tip is that you should always try to take the largest discount!

Sale bins at the check out

Check out lanes are always full of items, and this is because retailers are hoping that you’ll think you need something at the last minute.

Retailers will also add sale bins near the check out lanes for the same reason. They are assuming you will be in a rush and won’t have enough time to think about whether you truly need the sale item or not, plus they hope that you’ll just say yes to it because you don’t want to hold up the line.

You should only look into a sale bin if you actually need an item.

Sale bins can cause many people, even the most frugal people, to spend money because they think they are getting a great deal.

Free food samples

Whether you are shopping at a grocery store or at the mall, free food samples usually cause a person to spend more money.

This is especially true at grocery stores because a little bit of food can make you shop hungry- which then makes you spend more money. Plus, you may be very likely to purchase the item you just tried, either because you liked the item or because you don’t want to offend the person who spent their time making the food.

What you need is far away

Why is it that the items you need the most are usually the farthest away? Items such as milk, eggs, and bread are usually the farthest away, and sometimes they are even far apart. These are very common grocery items, so wouldn’t you think that they would be closer together?


This retail store trick is common at grocery stores.

This is because by placing them far away from you and far apart, you are then more likely to shop in the other aisles and spend more money.

Free trials

Free trials are great because you can test an item before paying for it.

However, stores realize that by offering you a free trial, you may be more likely to purchase the item in full, especially if you lose the item. They may then gain a customer for life just by simply offering one cheap free trial.

My retail sales tip for this is to make sure that you are actually interested in the product. If you aren’t interested in it after the free trial, you should always make sure that you aren’t going to be charged for the item in the future.

Related: Are These Bad Money Habits Making You Broke?

BIG shopping carts and a lack of baskets

Due to traveling full-time, we visit a lot of different stores and chains. One thing I’ve noticed recently is that a lot of stores no longer have baskets.

I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that offering baskets usually means that you’ll buy less stuff. I know this is true for me- I usually pick up a basket so that I am forced to stick to my list. After all, there are only so many things that I can realistically carry before it feels like my arms will fall off!

Stores are also moving towards larger shopping carts. This is because it’ll seem like you aren’t buying that many things when your cart looks empty. Plus, with a larger shopping cart, you are able to carry more things.

My top retail sales tip for this instance is to always stick to your list. And, if they have a basket and you think everything will fit in a basket, try to stick with just that!

The most expensive items are usually at eye level

The most expensive items on a shelf are usually right at eye level. This is because it’s what you see first. Usually the least profitable items and the ones that are the cheapest are on the very bottom shelf.

Due to this, my tip is that you should always look at all of the shelves to make sure that you’re receiving the best deal.

Free shipping with $XX purchase

Many online retailers will offer free shipping, or even a free item, if you spend over a certain dollar amount. Retailers aren’t dumb, though, and they definitely aren’t losing out on money by giving things away. Retailers know that a person is much more likely to spend money if they think they are getting something for free.

Also, if a person is right below the free shipping requirement, they may end up spending a lot of money in order to get the free shipping. This is because their purchase, in their eyes, looks to be like a better value.

Mixing up the store layout

Have you ever been to a store and been a tad angry because they completely changed the layout on you, and now you don’t know where anything is?

Well, stores do this on purpose.

By changing up the aisles and layout, a person then has to search harder for what they want. Meaning you may then come across items that you didn’t know they had, and items you didn’t know you needed. This gives the retail store more of an opportunity to sell you things.

What other retail store tricks do you know of? What retail sales tips do you have to share?



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