With the holiday shopping season in full swing, I want to take this opportunity to share some insider knowledge of the retail industry to help you shop smarter. Happy holidays!

  • Music: Many studies have been done around how music affects the shopping experience. Loud dance music has been shown to invoke trendier purchases. Classical music has been shown to drive sales of higher-priced and luxury items, perhaps due to its association of affluence. The holiday season is not immune to this and retailers pump Christmas songs through their stores to invoke emotions of nostalgia and generosity, all leading to a greater basket size.
  • Scents: Retailers often scent their stores during the holidays with seasonal fragrances such as gingerbread and pine. Similar to Christmas music, this tactic invokes a sense of warmness and generosity, all leading to larger purchases.
  • Gift Sets: Gift sets seem like a great deal because the value of all items priced together is lower than if you were to buy them separately. However, the stated value of the item is the full retail of all items. It is sometimes cheaper to buy the items separately if they are on sale. This is also an upsell tactic where you come in to buy a single item but end up with a gift set because it seems like you get so much more for just a few more dollars.
  • Gift Yourself: This is a newer upsell tactic amongst retailers. You are incentivized to purchase a gift for a friend by being offered a gift for yourself. So rather than purchasing the gift that you know your friend really wants, you buy another item because you get something for yourself. The cost of your items is padded onto the price of your friend’s gift.
  • Product Placement: Items at eye level tend to have higher price points than those on the top or bottom shelves. These gain more visibility. In fact, many distributors pay for this space! The added cost is passed to the consumer in the price tag.
  • Threshold Offers: A popular practice for online retailers is to offer free shipping, a discount, or a free gift once a certain order value is reached. This order value is often up to 50% more than the average order value.
  • Online Product Recommendations: Online product recommendations are the equivalent of a salesperson trying to upsell a customer with corresponding products. As you get closer to checkout, the recommendations often become more geared to cheap impulse purchases. And savvier retailers often try to upsell with offers like “You’re only $5.00 away from free shipping. Here are some items that will help you get there.”
  • Bounceback Offer: Bounceback deals are offers where you get a gift or discount that can be redeemed for a future date if you make a purchase today. These sound like a great deal, and often times they are one of the hottest deals a merchant can offer. However, the redemption is incredibly low as customers often times forget to redeem.

Hope you find these tips useful. Looking for more tips? Reach out and ask!