When you’re looking to manage your money the right way, it can seem like the only way you’ll keep your cash in your pocket is by never leaving the house. Because the moment you even think about shopping…
Whether you’re browsing online or stepping over the threshold of a bricks-and-mortar store, there are a few mind tricks businesses are playing with you in order to get you to part with a little more of your cash.
We all know that supermarkets place milk and bread at the back of the store, so you have to pass thousands of other products before you even reach those ‘essential purchases’; we all know that just by searching something online, adverts for those services and products will follow you around the internet, but have you ever thought about…
Putting ‘You’ first
One of the best ways for a business to engage a potential customer is come across as service-orientated, right? It’s not about business and all the money they make; it’s about you and all the dreams that come true when you shop with them…
That’s why, when you read a lot of marketing copy or check out company straplines, you’ll see a lot of ‘you’ and ‘your’. ‘Your local bank’, ‘The designs you need’…
It adds a folksy sort of charm to the proceedings, of course, but it’s a very old old marketing trick – getting rid of the business-orientated ‘we’ and replacing it with the customer-focused ‘you’ – and it seems, these days, that every company going is trying it on. Seriously, count them.
The real trick here is to look past the words and focus on a company’s actions. Are they really serving you the best deals? And, besides, do you really need to buy them anyway?
Colour has a huge impact on the way we view a business, and the way we view products in general. In fact, there’s a lot you can read online about the psychology of colour – that is, how colours alter our mental state.
So, for instance, blue is a colour that’s closely associated with trust. Green is linked to nature. Red with warning. As such, businesses, when looking to engender specific feelings in their customers, will deploy colours that do precisely that.
That’s the reason why ‘sale’ posters are likely to be in red. You can’t miss ’em. Your brain is hardwired to acknowledge that colour as a possible danger. And, from a business perspective, the danger is that you miss out on a great deal.
Likewise, locations or sites that want you to stay with them for a while will use soothing colours that decrease the amount of stress you feel. By creating a warm, relaxing state, you’ll stick around longer (and buy more, of course).
The touch test
We’re imaginative creatures, right? And that’s why the touch test works so well – whether it’s a clothes store’s fitting rooms, the perfume counter at a department store, or a test drive at your local car dealership.
By ‘giving’ us that product, however briefly, we start to imagine what it would be like to own that product. We see ourselves behind the wheel of that car; imagine strutting into that party wearing that dress, that perfume… Before you even know it, your brain’s decided that we already own it. There’s just the small matter of paying for it.
The touch test has a secondary advantage, too, of course, because we’re so much more likely to respond when we get something for free; it creates a feeling of goodwill (and a little bit of guilt) that typically translates into a quid pro quo transaction from you.
Ok, we’re not only imaginative. We’re also a little bit egotistical. And that’s why anything exclusive immediately grabs our attention. We want what others can’t have, and companies know this.
That’s why you’ll often find emails with subject lines like ‘You’re invited to our…’ or ‘A deal just for you…’ ‘A special thank-you from us…’. Firstly, notice those ‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘you’re’s creeping into the content once more. They’re putting you first.
Secondly, communications like these immediately place you higher up the hierarchy than others. And doesn’t that feel good? It might be because you’re a loyal customer, or just because you’re the right demographic for whatever this business is selling, but in creating a sense of ‘exclusivity’, you become so much more likely to spend your hard-earned cash with a business that you feel actually values you.