I’m a shopping pro – tricks used by stores to make you spend more including why supermarkets have hardly any windows | The Sun

DO you ever spend more than you intend to when you are out shopping?

It turns out that many brands use some very clever tactics to get you to part with your hard-earned cash.

Oxford College of Marketing uploaded a video showing seven of the top tricks stores use – so you can look out for them next time you are shopping.

They wrote on their @oxfordcollegeofmarketing account: “Have you fallen for any of these marketing tricks?”

Decoy pricing

First up on the list is “decoy pricing”, which is when stores offer a “third, less attractive option to manipulate you into buying the most expensive option."

They said: “The middle option acts as a ‘decoy’ making the larger option appear the best value.”

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One woman, who posts under Your Rich BFF, showed an example of a small popcorn being $4, a medium being $6.50 and a large being $7.

She wrote: “In this scenario if you are an average person you are opting for the large because at 50 cents more it feels like a meaningfully better deal than the medium.”

Competitive options

Ever wondered why you may see two vending machines next to one another, or why there is a McDonald’s set up right next door to a Burger King?

The marketing school said “offering two options changes your mindset from ‘do I want to buy this’ to ‘which do I want to buy more?’.”

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This actually can benefit both brands and can mean “more sales for everyone.”

Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

Did you spot Barbie references popping up everywhere this summer?

The next trick is known as the “Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon” or “frequency illusion.”

The school explained: “Once you first notice a new or unusual thing, you start to see it everywhere” and this is due to “heightened awareness and selective attention.”

Casino effect

In the gambling world, many casinos will not have windows, so gamblers “lose track of time.”

And the same strategy is used in some big supermarkets too.

The experts said: “Supermarkets have cottoned on and usually only have windows at the front of the store to get you to spend longer inside and shopping.”


Have you spotted many big brands making characters out of vegetables or sweets?

This is not a coincidence, as you are “more likely to connect with a brand that has a human face.”

They used the example of M&Ms having different characters, and said: “Anthropomorphic mascots are more memorable.”

Illusion of scarcity

If you’ve ever felt panic at a sale or when shops say they are running out of items, this is often deliberate.

This is because “limited availability of a product can increase its perceived value.”

If a website says they only have three shirts left in stock, “you are more likely to buy this shirt now because you perceive it as rare.”


When shops are having a sale on, you usually know about it from the multiple signs up everywhere reminding you.

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The “anchoring” technique is a “cognitive bias where you rely heavily on the first piece of information you receive.”

The school explained: “Items on sale are perceived as great deals, even if it’s more than you were willing to spend originally.”

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