The Clever Way Department Stores Lure People In To Shop Without Them Even Realizing

Departments stores use tactics such as controlling temperature around doors and scent to get customers into stores and to spend more money.

By Brian Scheid | Published

department stores

The art of keeping customers in the store for longer periods of time so that they can spend more money while they are there is a trick department stores have been working on mastering for decades. These retail mirages have been a part of a store’s location’s ability to boost its bottom-line revenue for as long as stores have been competing for your business. Many of these tricks of the trade go unnoticed by the general consumer but work most effectively, and we have some insight into these tactics divulged to consumer psychologists.   

According to Dr. Catherine Jansson-Boyd from Anglia Ruskin University and reported by the Mirror, “The temperature of shops can be used as an element to manipulate customers.” For example, during the winter months, department stores will turn up the heat vents around the entrances of their locations so that when the doors open, you are coming in from the winter cold, and you are met with a warm blast of air to comfort you and give the appearance of a warm environment that you will not want to leave to return to your cars through the harsh winter. This temperature change certainly feels great when walking into the store, and I know I have stayed a bit longer to avoid going back out into the cold.

Local corner stores will also replicate this temperature tactic on a smaller scale. However, pure grocery stores like Aldi’s, Sainsbury’s, Key Food, and IGA don’t have the luxury of drastically adjusting their temperatures because of their need to keep different food items at specific temperatures to ensure the preservation of the quality of those foods. Unlike department stores which service the selling of goods in the food industry, they rely on appealing to your sense of smell. 

We are all aware that in this day and age, practically all of the food being sold on grocery store shelves are manufactured in other places and shipped to the stores ready to sell right from their shelvesGrocery stores will use artificial scents to tempt consumers to purchase specific products. When you are in the bakery area of a grocery store, you will smell the distinct smell of freshly baked bread coming out hot from the oven when there is no oven or freshly baked bread being cut for your consumption.

The smell is curated to bring back your memories of childhood when your grandmother would be baking her homemade bread or cookies that you looked forward to snacking on all week. That sense of nostalgia is enough to get you thinking about some of those baked goods that might not be on your weekly grocery list but now are invoking a feeling of a need for that extra item for your cart. Even though our knowledge of the grocery industry and the lack of made-from-scratch products in the store but even with that knowledge, we are still easily lured into buying that extra item before we leave the store.