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4 Consumer Psychology Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know

The Master Mind Behind Marketing
4 Consumer Psychology Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know

  Have you ever gone shopping with a list composed of a strict few items, but somehow ended up walking out with a cart-full more than what you had in mind? Maybe you initially wanted a cake mix, but instead came home with a pumpkin scented candle and a buy-one-get-one-free deal on cookie dough. As a consumer, it’s easy to forget we are victims of a commercially and meticulously designed business tactfully devised to insert you in those type of mind-boggling situations. If you’re wandering why you never come out with with what you came for, it’s consumer psychology to blame. Here are 4 secrets that merchandisers and marketing experts use to entice customers like you into spending more. 

 

1. Olfactory & Visual Manipulation Tactics

You may have noticed that flowers and produce are often located at the front of a store. This is actually because the scent of these flowers presents customers with a pleasant welcome while also offering a bright pop of color, suggesting a warm and enticing aesthetic. Additionally, by presenting consumers with fresh fruits and vegetables, it signals to consumers that it is a healthy and natural environment. For example, the misting system used on the produce is intentionally used to make the vegetables appear fresher when, theoretically, this is deceiving as the excess water could actually cause the produce to spoil faster. Ultimately, these types of strategies encourage consumers to purchase more fresh food, which is typically much more expensive than processed food. 

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      2. Color Psychology

Ever wondered why so many fast food chain logos contain either red, yellow, or both in their logo? Think of one. You could’ve said Mcdonald’s, In and Out, Burger King, KFC, Arby’s, Popeyes, Wendy’s, Sonic… just about every major fast food restaurant somehow incorporates at least one of the two colors. So, why is this? Studies show that the color red actually triggers stimulation, appetite and hunger, while yellow is a vibrant color that is easy to spot from a distance (hence why the McDonald’s sign is so easy to identify), and implies happiness and warmth. The combination of the red and yellow color is known as the Ketchup and Mustard Theory, essentially saying that these colors are intended to heighten your metabolism. The color green is also used because it is associated with being healthy, harmonious and environmentally-friendly. For example, Subway and Starbucks use green instead of red to promote the use of their fresh ingredients. 

 

     3. Store Layout 

  So, what exactly is store planning? Store planning is the designing and optimizing of physical retail stores to upgrade customer experience and maximize sales. It involves determining the ideal store size, layout, fixture placement, signage, and product placement to create a visually appealing and engaging shopping environment. There are several store layout techniques that businesses take advantage of to maximize profits. One example of this is the selection of candy assortment at the check-out counter. This is strategically placed as a last-attempt effort to persuade customers into impulsive purchasing. According to Hershey, customers are 36% more likely to make these ‘spur of the moment’ decisions, expecting a 45% increase in sales for items sold at the counter. Another important layout strategy that businesses utilize is keeping valuable, high-demand items within eye level. Research has shown that by placing items on lower shelves, it often appears as less valuable to consumers. Popular products are often placed in middle shelves in order to attract attention and be easier to notice. 

Additionally, some other layout techniques that businesses utilize is developing a floor-plan based on consumer behavior and how they interact with merchandise. Customers can move quickly through an efficient floor space using standard fixtures and displays. For example, one floor layout designers use is called “the loop effect”, making the floor path a standout color, lighting the loop to guide the customer, or using a different floor material to indicate this pathway. Lines are actually not recommended due to a psychological barrier to some customers, potentially discouraging them from stepping away from the loop and interacting with merchandise. Often with this specific design rewards the customer with interesting visual displays and focal points on the way to the checkout area. There are several other floor plans businesses use, such as angular, geometric, diagonal, straight, grid, (etc.) all to create an illusion to consumers that increases the amount of browsing in the store.  

     4. Urgency Tactics 

Another tactic businesses use on consumers is by offering limited-time deals, meaning it is only available for a certain amount of time. This is intentionally placed to create a sense of fear that the offer is going to disappear. Many times, this will be associated with advertisements that use messages including: “buy now before it’s too late!” Scarcity is one of the major factors that influences purchases decisions; by creating the illusion that the product has limited stock, it will entice customers to make the purchase without giving it much thought. This ultimately boosts sales, increases customer loyalty, and attracts new customers. 

 

Now that you’re familiar with just a few major consumer-psychology tactics, maybe now you’ll think twice next time you find yourself browsing a little too long around Target, or contemplating over a limited time flash-sale on sunglasses.

 

 

Sources

https://www.psychologistworld.com/perception/color#:~:text=Red%20increases%20the%20pulse%20and,is%20active%2C%20aggressive%20and%20outspoken

https://brandingcompass.com/branding/color-theory-green-as-a-branding-color/ 

https://redstonefoods.com/candy-soda-blog/manage-c-stores-candy-aisle#:~:text=There%27s%20a%20reason%20you%20see,for%20attracting%20impulse%20buyer%20purchases

https://www.optimonk.com/limited-time-offers/#:~:text=Limited%2Dtime%20offers%20are%20a,quickly%20and%20make%20a%20purchase

https://www.smartsheet.com/store-layout  

 

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About the Contributor
Hi! I'm Maddie, and I am a senior at FIHS. This is my first year as a journalist for Golden Times, and I am excited to explore the different events at our school and write about them. A little about me is that I am a Productions head for Interact Club, the Community Coordinator of AP Student Council, and I have enjoyed writing since I was able to spell. I  spend most of my time working on short stories for writing contests, working, and hanging out with friends.
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