As Black Friday approaches each year, shoppers globally are enticed to spend their money, both in virtual or physical stores. Brands use several tricks to get us to make buying-related decisions, most of them based on emotional decisions.
A Short History of Black Friday
Black Friday has been bandied about since the 1950s and was coined by the police in Philadelphia. The day following Thanksgiving was chaotic in the city because of the holiday and a football game. Despite the negative connotations of the phrase, businesses in the city continued to call the day Black Friday, and it stuck.
By the early 21st century, it had become so popular in the U.S., and the craze quickly spread worldwide.
How Brands Trick Us into Buying
From Thanksgiving until the end of December last year, spending in the U.S. exceeded $789 billion. Big brands use several retail tactics to get us to part with our hard-earned dollars at this time of the year. Here are some of the tricks they use:
1. Marketing Tactics are Misleading
Sometimes, even when a deal is not as pleasing as it should be, we are still tempted to spend, even if the price is just a bit lower than usual. The marketing at this time of the year is so targeted that as shoppers, we think we are getting a bigger deal than at other sales through the year.
And then, there is the “shopping momentum,” buying something else after making the first purchase. Here big brands encourage us to make a second purchase, often of an unrelated product. This is done by leading us in as new customers with an item sold at a ridiculously discounted price, but we are then compelled to buy other, unrelated things.
2. Misleading Discounts
The promise of a good discount is what lures most of us to spend money on Black Friday, but that price is often inflated. As shoppers, we compare the sale price to the suggested retail price, and the discount appears huge. However, the prices of most consumer goods are selling for lower than the suggested retail price throughout the year, meaning that the deal is not so great after all.
3. Targeting Different Shoppers with Different Prices
For those who shop online, we are constantly tracked by “cookies” that store information about our browsing and buying habits. When we go back to their site, these brands target us with offers based on this information. This means websites know which customers are prepared to pay for items and always looking for bargains. Therefore, according to our previous shopping habits, some of us are targeted with more discounts than others.
4. Instill A Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
Marketers use the tactic of promoting Black Friday deals as “limited-time offers,” and few of us can resist that. The reason, the fear of missing out drives us to fall for the limited-time offer, in case we don’t find a better deal elsewhere.
5. Using Doorbuster Deals to Get Us to Spend More
Limited doorbuster deals are used to get shoppers to spend. However, these fantastic deals are usually available in limited quantities, but the deal has already brought us to the retailer. So the limited stock is sold out, and we end up buying something else at a higher profit margin. Some hints are found in the ads, and as consumers, we need to be on the lookout for wording like “limited stock on hand,” “for the first 20 customers,” and “no rainchecks.”
6. Time Limits Lure Us In
Besides limited quantities, retailers also use the trick of having a specific period for their deals. For example, they advertise a super-low price on some items for only certain times on Black Friday.
This is a strategy used to lure inside their stores to hope we will be persuaded to spend even more money on other items we see.
7. Strategic Product Placement
There are certain tricks used by retailers who rely on in-store customers involving product placements in stores. Sometimes, they rely on making us walk the whole of their huge stores to get to our purchases, but we wander past various tempting displays as we do. In this way, we are encouraged to make impulse buys. For example, on Black Friday, sale items are often placed as far back as possible.
Displaying doorbuster items next to related accessories that aren’t on sale is another trick used by retailers. This way, we buy more than just a phone, TV, etc.; we also make unplanned purchases, just not at a discounted price.
Now that we know the tricks used to get us to spend on Black Friday, we know how to avoid falling into the trap. Avoiding them is easy. All we need is a list and a keen eye. Otherwise, we can also just overcome the FOMO and not shop at all.