A new mom dives into parenthood. Will our heroine survive?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Legends of the MALL. Part 1 - Impulse Purchases

Today I was shopping at the local mall and went into a store to purchase one item that I needed. ONE item. That I NEEDED. When I took it to the register I was greeted by a young friendly woman who asked me if that was all I needed. Yes, I replied. She said was I sure, because "we have lots of little lotions and other items you might need right here at the register". I'm all set, I replied, this is a gift and I need only this ONE item. OH! Its a gift! Would you like to add some other items and make it a gift basket? The lotions are only a dollar. I politely declined once more, but what I Really wanted to say was "Please just ring me up and let me leave. That lotion may be only a dollar to you, but to me a dollar is a BIG DEAL!

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever purchased an "impulse item" because a nice lady gently pushed you into it? Or maybe you actually didn't notice at all because the nice lady was so smooth. Most of you probably know that the sales lady is really just trying to do her job and make a few extra bucks for her company, but what you may not know is that impulse items are very strategically marketed to you. Marketed in such a way, that if you don't know the truth you might do exactly what they want - load up on extras at the register. As a former employee at several of those mall stores you've probably been to a million times (Motherhood Maternity, Brookstone, Make-Up Boutiques) I know exactly how they do it and I want to share it with you, so maybe you can save yourselves a few dollars next time you're at the mall.

#1) IPS "Items Per Sale". Did you know that most mall employees are under intense pressure from their managers to acheive an average IPS of 3 or better?? This is probably the one thing that bothered me SO much about mall sales. If someone doesn't want more than one thing, I didn't want to be the one to pressure them into purchasing something else. Next time you go to a store at the mall and try to buy only one item, pay attention to what they say. If the line isn't too long they will more than likely try to show you an item or two at the register that is under 3 dollars.

#2) The impulse items at the register are frequently rotated, usually on a weekly basis, and the employees are coached on how to market that new item each week. They will often have a goal of how many they have to sell each day based on their number of hours worked. Sometimes there even contests to see who can sell the most.

#3) These items may only cost you a few dollars, but to the store, they are big money. Think about it - a 1oz. tube of lotion is on display at the cash wrap and is selling for $2.00. You think, WOW only 2 bucks! And because its only 2 bucks, you don't mind adding it to your total purchase when the nice sales lady suggests it to you. You might even think she's doing you a favor. But before you purchase the lotion, go check out the 5 oz, or 10 oz size. I can guarantee you the cost per ounce is NOT $2.00. In fact, it's probably much less than that. The store makes way more profit margin on that little tube of lotion than on the big ones. Which is one reason they want you to buy it so much.

I hope this has been informative for you. I plan to continue the series next Friday with "Is it really on sale?". Did you know that many stores have FAKE sales? I used to get conned by that one all the time! See you next week! For more Frugal Friday Tips please visit Biblical Womanhood


Debbie J. said...

Very informative post. We do have to be firm with those sales people!

Pen Pen said...

Very good post! I've never thought about that as I receive all that pressure at the register. But you are right, it happens just about everywhere! Thanks for the insight.

Mrs. Nichole Jordan said...

Very good post!
You hit the nail right on girl.
Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I try not to give into impulse buying. If the line is taking a long time I look through my stuff and try to put at least one item back. I check to see if I already have an impulse purchase or paid too much for an item. I figure if they make me wait it is going to cost them and save me money. It also keeps my eyes from looking at all the stuff on the sidelines.