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Behavior Modification by Retailers

January 30, 2012

Here is an article from the “Financially Fit” section of Yahoo. The motto of this section is “Saving Smart and Living Well”.

The article starts out simply enough:

Come on, who doesn’t love a little good old-fashioned shoe porn? Banish all thoughts of thriftiness and indulge your inner Carrie Bradshaw with our roundup of majorly mouthwatering kicks. Whether you favor stilettos, wedges, flats or strappy sandals, there’s something for every footwear fanatic here.

Okay, so this article is promoting buying shoes. But it’s in the “Financially Fit” section, so they are cheap, or at least good buys, right?

Except the first shoe pictured cost $1070. Later, there’s a shoe for $1,559. And another for $1095.

Suddenly, those shoes pictured for $610 and $585 and even $449 don’t look so expensive. And it’s in the “Financially Fit” section, so it much be a good deal….Wait – $500 on a pair of shoes?! A month’s worth of rent?! Two car payments?! 5 months of a $100 phone/internet/cable bundle?!

This is just one example of behavior modification from a trusted source.

Here’s an article I read recently in the paper, about the selling strategy department stores are trying to adopt.

After getting women hooked on fancy handbags and expensive shoes in recent years, retailers are trying to rekindle a love affair with clothes. Department stores are leading the charge, with Saks, Nordstrom and Macy’s improving clothing lines and refurbishing women’s departments. The retailers are counting on women to spend more overall and not simply shift their dollars away from higher-margin purses and footwear.

I understand that a business is trying to gain a stronger hold in the market and make a larger profit. But sales are already strong:

Women’s apparel sales amounted to $108 billion in the 12 months ended in September, according to NPD Group Inc. Women bought $22.5 billion of footwear and $5.7 billion of handbags, the Port Washington, New York-based firm said.

So how are the department stores going to try and increase their bottom line? Behavior modification.

Changing shopping behavior won’t be easy because women are used to scanning the handbag aisle and seeing something they don’t have in the closet.

(Read the full article here.)


Beware of tactics that retailers and even trusted websites try and use. Look at the items that are around it – even though the $4 Yummy Cereal is surrounded by the $5 Delicious Cereal and the $6 Tasty Cereal, that doesn’t make Yummy Cereal a good buy. The same goes for coupons screaming that they are a 47% savings or the placement of impulse items by the register. The bottom line for retailers and businesses is how to earn your money, so spend it because you want or need to, not because they tell you to.


From → money management

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