The tools companies employ to get you to buy their stuff have grown ever more sophisticated, with marketers even using neural measurements to design product packaging and appeal to your deepest desires to be covered in Cheetos dust , apparently. Research determines the ads you see, the scents and sounds you encounter in stores, even the way a salesperson might casually touch your arm.
They make you nostalgic. Don Draper was on to something with his sentimental pitch for a Kodak campaign. But the abundance of families, puppies, and childhood ephemera in the ads you see every day is more than a simple ploy to tug on your heartstrings.
Recent research shows nostalgia makes people value money less and feel willing to pay more for purchases. They sic rude salespeople on you. At high-end stores like Gucci, customers are actually more inclined to buy expensive products after a salesperson has acted snottily to them, a new study found. They use smaller packaging to get you to buy bigger. But research shows buying multi-packs of those small sizes can actually lead people to consume more overall.
They get you lost and confused. Losing focus makes people spend more on impulse purchases, says expert Martin Lindstrom, who has conducted studies on marketing strategies. Getting interrupted during shopping also makes you less price-sensitive , according to research co-authored by marketing professor Wendy Liu at UC San Diego.
They mimic your gestures—and get women to touch you. Additionally, research shows that if a salesperson of either sex imitates your gesticulations , you are more likely to buy what he or she is selling. They get you to handle the merchandise. And other research shows your willingness to pay more increases as you spend more time looking at and holding objects.
They create the illusion of bulk bargains. They give you free treats. They drop the dollar sign. They carefully engineer store ambiance. Ambient sounds and smells can make you less careful with your cash. He also found that alternating German and French music in a wine shop influenced which bottles customers purchased. Even nonmusic background sounds can make you overspend: A researcher found that the distraction of noise made people more likely to buy fancier sneakers.