Well it’s long been known that brands and advertisers use specific marketing tactics to convince shoppers to make purchases, there are some tactics that they use that, while not illegal, border on being unethical. If anything, they’re certainly not fair to American consumers and, because of that, we’ve rounded up 6 of the worst deceptions that are foisted on shoppers regularly. Read them, take note and, as always, enjoy.
Deception #1: The Packaging perception trick. The old saying about “not judging a book by its cover” could also be used when it comes to purchasing products, especially food products. Simply put, many consumers are fooled into thinking that a taller or narrower product package holds more product then it actually does. A great example of this is the large boxes used for cereal and ice cream, which look big but generally contain much less product that it would appear.
Deception #2: The “Up To” trick. This is a tactic used by many department stores when they are having clearance sales. They place a sign in a prominent location that says “50% Off” but, upon further inspection, you notice that site also says “up to”. This fools many shoppers into thinking that they’re going to find lots of items at half price but, in most cases, there are only a few while most other items are marked at 5%, 10% or other, lower, percentages off.
Deception #3: The Rebate hoax. While “extreme couponing” makes headlines, there’s very little talk about rebates that department stores offer when you buy a specific product. The reason is simple; redemption rates for rebates are far lower than for coupons. Even worse is that the price usually seen on the sale sticker already has the rebate price deducted, a rebate that most consumers will never receive and thus a lower price that they won’t receive either.
Deception #4: The “Buy X amount for X dollars” fake-out. This happens in grocery stores all the time. They post sale signs advertising, for example, 10 items for $10. Most consumers, seeing that advertisement, will purchase 10 items in order to get them for $1 apiece. The fact is however that, in almost all cases, they could just as well purchase 1 item, or 3, or even 6, and still get them for $1 each, without the need to purchase 10.
Deception #5: The ‘Price Anchoring’ scheme. This consumer deceit was brought to light in the last few years when department store JCPenney actually tried to stop using it. When their sales plummeted they changed their tune (and fired their new CEO) and went back to ‘price anchoring’, whereby they take a $32 retail price for a shirt (for example) and increase that cost to $56 in the store. Then they put the shirt “on sale” for the original retail price of $32. This has the effect of convincing a consumer that they’re getting a “great deal” when in fact the department store is getting exactly the price they wanted for the shirt to begin with.
Deception #6: The ‘low payment focus’ scam. This scam can be found on numerous advertising campaigns. For example, you’re listening to a TV commercial that says “for the price of a cup of coffee each day, you can get the insurance you need”. These companies don’t focus on the overall price but instead the “low payment” cost. Many car dealerships do the same thing, asking their customers how much they can afford to pay every month rather than focusing on what the total cost of their automobile will be when it’s finally paid in full.
Now that you’ve seen how marketers and retailers try to fool you, hopefully you’ll be the wiser and keep your eyes fully focused on the actual price you’re going to pay, not the fake one they try to focus on. Best of luck shoppers!