Malls really aren’t just four walls that are housing different shops. It is usually a massive area containing multiple shopping outlets and franchises. But, things aren’t that simple as malls require shoppers to purchase as much as possible in as short a space a time. How they manipulate shoppers is worth investigating, so that we can combat it in ourselves and perhaps use it in our businesses.
We tend to use our senses in a complicated way: for example, we don’t just decide we want food based on taste alone. Something can look appetising but taste awful and something can look awful but be delicious. Similarly, we associate positive sense engagement with whatever caused it and other things closely associate with it. This is why malls play positive music that makes us feel comfortable. This way, we associate nice music with nice things. Our rational faculties are lowered a bit, meaning we’re more likely to think something is a good deal when it’s actually normally-priced; we think that we need a product, when we really don’t, due it being so “nice”.
As signage manufacturers, in South Africa, New York, Hong Kong, will tell you, the most important element of signage is the property of being memorable and functional. Thus, signs that are big don’t necessarily mean they will be remembered: they will just be big. Smart designs and spacing in malls means we learnt to associate particular colours and fonts and smells with particular elements of the mall. Even the spacing of the mall means we keep travelling further to obtain a sign and direction: meaning we pass shops we other might not have in order to acquire a sense of direction of where we are. Thus, one clever way malls do this is to occasionally and unequally space out maps and directions, meaning you’re forced to wander, increasing your chance of buying.
You can put things in a better light, literally. Even making them shiny can, for example, slow people down which gives you more time to sell products and increases the chances of customers buying things from you store. People also believe shiny cars drive better, despite the fact that a clean car has little to do with a car’s interior – by definition.
If you put $200 next to $400, the former looks better. Indeed, if you priced a tie for $200 by itself, it might look crazy. But put it next to a $400 tie and suddenly it looks amazing and obvious as a purchase. This is known as anchoring, where we pin a specific measurement against a figure provided: in this case it would be in the high triple digits. This is a smart way to get people to pay unnecessary amounts where they otherwise would not have.
All of these are methods malls use that we should watch out for but also utilise in our own attempts to sell and get more customers for our businesses.