They end things in ‘.99’
Don’t fall for prices ending in 9, 99, or 95. These so-called charm prices make us think they reflect good deals, says William Poundstone, author of Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It). We also tend to round these prices down, reading a price like $5.99 as $5, a phenomenon known as the left-digit effect. Ninety-nine-cent stores are a notorious ripoff for this very reason; they have a profit margin twice that of Walmart, Poundstone reveals. Here are the signs that a shopping site is fake—and about to steal your money.
They break you in with cheap items
It’s no coincidence that the first thing you see in most stores is a bargain bag of candy or half-priced socks. In retail, these cheap little impulse buys are called “open-the-wallet” items and are designed to break a psychological anti-spending barrier when you enter a store. “Americans are cautious,” says retail consultant Jeff Green; a cheap addition to the shopping cart right away gives consumers that extra little push they need to spend more money later on.
They entice you with smell
When you walk into a grocery store, you smell bread baking or rotisserie chicken roasting in the deli area because retailers know those smells get your salivary glands working. When you’re salivating, you’re a much less disciplined shopper, says Paco Underhill, author of What Women Want: The Science of Female Shopping. And it’s not just true for food retailers: Working with an appliance store, researcher Martin Lindstrom pumped in the smell of an apple pie, and the sales of ovens and fridges went up 23 percent.