You pride yourself on independent thinking—heck, let's say you even have a master's degree in philosophy. But just like any American, you were shopping last weekend for potato chips in Aisle 7 as you prepared for the Big Game party.
We all know we're being manipulated every time we shop, but it can still be unnerving to see the true extent of mind games being played on us. That's why I was fascinated (and mildly traumatized) to browse through a recent Reddit thread called, "What marketing tricks do we unknowingly fall for?" While not all the respondents are experts in pricing strategy or marketing psychology, many of them experience it on the front lines as both shoppers and retail employees. While the whole Reddit post is worth a read, we pulled a few of the more notable tactics that are as insidious as they are inescapable: 1. The Instant Markdown Getty Images Why wait for a holiday sale when you can find big markdowns pretty much any day of the week? Discount retailers and Amazon have made day-one markdowns so common, they're popping up all over. Redditor chriz2fer sums up the tactic pretty simply: "Retail price $139.99. Our price $49.99." While tantalizing as a customer, all you're really seeing with such a strategy is how far below MSRP a retailer is willing to go while still turning a profit. As we saw with popular fashion delivery service Stitch Fix recently, retailers who offer steep discounts and source products from the same wholesalers can be a risky proposition.
There’s a group of hardware store employees in the San Francisco Bay Area who embody that sage observation that we humans are not “cisterns made for hoarding—we are channels made for sharing.” They also happen to personify a trend that’s reshaping our service-based society, one that increasingly has top consumer brands jumping on board: the sharing economy.