Storewide Sensory Overload!

"Don't worry, dear. According to the article, Red means savings!"
“Don’t worry, dear. According to the article, Red means savings!”

Merchandising or manipulation? It’s probably a bit of both. We’re talking about the ways retailers place items on the shelves as well as the ways they modify the store’s lighting, music and even smells. This is all in an attempt to alter your buying behavior, usually meaning making you spend more money! And if you’re trying to cut back – and who isn’t? – it may be helpful to learn some of their tricks.

Here are some of the retailers’ Sensory Weapons:

Color: Colors have different associations and those things tend to get people going. So, for example, red is almost always the color associated with sales because it inspires people to take action and it’s a stimulating sort of color. Lifehacker

Touch: We are more likely to buy something if we touch it. And, oddly, if the display is too neat or fancy, we shy away. It reminds me of the big healthcare tub display at the checkout of my local Walmart – a big tub with a huge variety of 88-cent aspirin, nasal spray and bandages literally dumped in. It’s a glorious mess, (below) and I can’t keep my hands out of it!

Who am I to resist?
Who am I to resist?

Music: It depends on what the retailer wants you to do. Sometimes they want you to move through a place quickly (like a fast food restaurant), while other times they want you to linger. Lifehacker

Layout: It could be the grocery store that moves everything every six months to make you discover new items to buy. Or a really specific example such as Ikea – which has a definite In and Out door, and a specific path we must take to get from one to the other.

Smell: yes, even smell. Smell has a strong tie to memory (Personal smell note: Fresh cut grass = first day of kindergarten.) If the retailer can connect with a memory, it’s a sale!

I guess you could make a counter argument… that all of this sensory experience is part of the fun of shopping. (I’m told some people enjoy shopping, anyway.) What do YOU think? And check out the original article!