As the holiday season approaches, we will be seeing more and more sale items. These sale pitches are designed to lure us into spending more of our hard-earned money that we originally planed on. But who can not resist a sale? Here are 5 of the basic sale pitches that are used over and over again that many of us fall for.
1. “Shop today and save 50% next week.”
Aimed at: Your best intentions.
Why you fall for it: The promise of bigger savings in the future appeals to people who think they can game the system, says Lars Perner, an assistant professor of clinical marketing at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. You figure on buying just one or two things now, then returning to pick up a few more. But volume-driven retailers are using the now-and-later tactic this year to steer consumers back to stores when they know they’ll have new stock or other promotions that help you buy more than you planned.
2. “Limit five per person.”
Aimed at: Your competitive spirit.
Why you fall for it: Limits trigger a feeling that the deal is so great that, if not for that limit-four-per-customer rule, shoppers would be filling their carts to the brim, leaving none for you, says L.J. Shrum, the president of the Society for Consumer Psychology and the marketing department chair at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Setting a limit increases the likelihood you’ll buy at least one, and it’s even more effective if you were already planning to buy one of the item.
I just fell for this. I bought the grand kids Wii games on Amazon which had a buy 2 get one free sale. What a deal! The only problem was that this was not their most popular games, but just the games that have a low sale volume. The sale was limited to one order per customer.
3. “Our Big Sale ends tomorrow/today/in a few hours.”
Aimed at: Your survival instincts.
Why you fall for it: Fear, pure and simple. This tactic appeals to a basic instinct to grab what’s available or be left without, says Noah Goldstein, an assistant professor of human resources and organizational behavior at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. Think of the crowds stocking up on bottled water and canned goods before a major storm comes through. In those frenzied hours, it’s a matter of survival.
4. “Get 23% off.”
Aimed at: Your love of a bargain.
Why you fall for it: Real estate brokers have long known that uneven pricing (say, $524,755 versus $525,000) catches buyers’ attention, because those odd numbers suggest a bargain that has already been marked down — whether that’s actually the case or not.
5. “We have a great deal on the accessories for that, too.”
Aimed at: Your long-term investor.
Why you fall for it: Once the consumer has already made a decision to buy and to pay, it’s easier to convince them to add related — but maybe unnecessary — items to their purchase, Shrum says. That’s because in your mind, you already own the product, making you more vulnerable to pitches for things that promise to make the purchase more useful or less vulnerable. A 2009 Carnegie Mellon study found that consumers were more likely to buy warranties on purchases if they thought doing so would extend the life of their gadget or preserve its value. And shoppers who felt they were being offered an un-advertised deal were 42% more likely to buy.
What sale gimmicks do you fall for?