The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Secrets Retailers Don't Want You to Know

Personal stylist Angie Cox (Photo credit:

Retailers are using every trick in the book to lure shoppers into stores and get them to open up their wallets—secret strategies they don't want you, the customer to know about. Angie from, who was recently invited to speak about this topic on NBC's Today show, says the best defense is to have your own shopping strategy beforehand. "I think you have to be really aware of your state of mind when you shop," says Angie. "Be discerning about what you buy, and take it home and retry it again with what you have and make sure you're happy with it, and if you're not, return it. Find something else." Well said, Angie! (And congrats on the TV spot! She's a natural in front of the camera, and I think she'd make a fab host of her own style show, too.) Here are some more secrets retailers don't want you to know that were mentioned in the segment—see if you're an "aware" shopper or not!

Secrets Retailers Don't Want You to Know

Seduction begins by setting the right mood. Retailers work hard to create an inviting atmosphere that will put you in a good mood for spending, appealing to all your senses with cool music, alluring scents, and eye-catching displays.

The store layout is key.
Retailers cleverly and strategically place what they call impulse-buy areas near the entrance, which is why you'll see makeup and perfume counters when you first enter department stores. The layout also encourages shoppers to linger, because as retailers know, the longer you stay, the more you'll spend.

Free samples let you try before you buy. Personally, I love getting free samples in the makeup department, but retailers know that once you've tried a product at home you're more likely to come back and make a purchase. Stores will also monitor what you've purchased, then send you related coupons in the mail (again, I think this can be a good thing if used correctly).

A confident shopper will spend more. Retailers use subtle messages to boost confidence such as indirect lighting and the infamous "skinny mirrors" which are tilted at an angle to make you look taller, longer and leaner in the dressing room.

Signs create a sense of urgency and exclusivity. Retailers use words like "new," "free," and "limited-edition" to attract shoppers. And have you ever noticed those "One-day only" sale signs that seem to stay up all week? Don't believe everything you read!

create a sense of urgency and exclusivity - H&M started this trend with retailers by making you feel "when its gone, its gone" but sometimes you can catch one on Ebay months later.
#1 budget chic (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 08:23 (Reply)
I saw her- she was awesome (and so stylish)! I write a weekly shopping column for a local newspaper so I go into lots of stores to cover stories. I think store layout is HUGE to the success of a store, as well as eye catching displays and all the specials and coupons a store has-Macy's, Kohls, and Ann Taylor Loft always have amazing coupons :-)
#2 Real Style Real people (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 08:29 (Reply)
Thanks for sharing Angie's "secrets", BB! Strategy, strategy, strategy!
#3 Katie on 2009-03-09 09:27 (Reply)
To be fair, there were a couple other experts who contributed their secrets in the segment but I didn't catch their names/titles. And yes, I'm partial to whatever Angie has to say :-)
#3.1 The Budget Babe on 2009-03-09 09:32 (Reply)
yeh, I do think spending more makes me more confidenT.
#4 dreamer0703 (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 09:36 (Reply)
Just when I thought I couldn't adore Angie more ... what a fun segment!
#5 Sal (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 09:52 (Reply)
Oh, and ads! The ads seem to sell/promote a lifestyle more than the product itself.
#6 Jacki (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 10:59 (Reply)
Ever wonder why people spend so much at Target? Their store layout is Key! It's called the Runway layout. The layout makes you wonder into every isle even if you're not looking for anything in particular..I learned this in my marketing class.
#7 Ally (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 11:22 (Reply)
Skinny mirrors? I wish. I always look horrible in department store mirrors lol.
#8 Wanderlusting (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 11:34 (Reply)
I am taken aback budget babe. Thank you SO much for your awfully kind words and generous compliments. You’re a honey and I love your blog. It’s killer.
#9 angie cox (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 19:15 (Reply)
A very important thing for me when shopping is the music in the store. If I walk into a store playing Beyonce "Diva" I am going walk around that store in super bad bitch mode and go for the gold. If the music is bad or annoying I will probably just walk out of the store.
#10 Sweets on 2009-03-10 13:14 (Reply)
Leave a comment
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.
Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.