Retail in Asia

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12 sneaky ways online retailers get you to spend more

“The internet is the wild west in terms of pricing,” Mark Ellwood, retail expert and author of “Bargain Fever,” told Business Insider.

Here are 12 tricks online retailers might use to get you to spend more:

1 They make you feel like you’re part of an exclusive club

Becoming a member of a retailer’s loyalty or rewards program has its perks, but it’s another way retailers get you to spend more.

Benefits might make you feel like you’re part of an exclusive club, and more inclined to take advantage of the “perks” of membership.

2 They remind you of items you might have ‘forgotten’

Having an account on a retailer’s website makes shopping easier for you, but it also makes it easier for them to lure you back in.

For example, online retailers might offer discounts to “help” you finish the purchase when they see you’ve abandoned your cart.

3 They push products strategically

According to Ellwood, the first few products you see on an online retailer’s website aren’t necessarily the most popular.

Instead, the featured item is usually the product the company has the strongest need to get rid of, since online retailers know people buy what is on the top of the list.

4 They offer free shipping … after a certain amount

Ever seen “free shipping on $50 or more?” Online retailers know free shipping is something many shoppers look for, so they use it to encourage shoppers to spend more to get the complimentary delivery.

According to money-saving expert Andrea Woroch, most online retailers set these thresholds above their average online order to increase sales.

5 They make the checkout process as easy as possible

Having an account on a retailer’s website can make shopping easier for you, since you won’t need to enter billing, shipping, or credit card information.

Not only does an account facilitate a faster checkout process, but you’ll also be able to reorder the products you need without having to search very far.

6 They offer spending-based discounts

Oftentimes, you’ll see retailers offering discounts pegged to a spending threshold: Spend $50 to get $10 off or $100 to get $25. This trick works just like free shipping — the more you spend, the bigger discount you get.

7 They constantly change prices

According to Woroch, online retailers use a tactic called “dynamic pricing” where they adjust prices based on consumer and market behavior to capture more customers.

“That means the price you saw on a microwave when you left for work in the morning could be completely different by the time you get home at night,” she tells Business Insider.

8 They make you buy in bundles or offer items as add-ons only

Just like free shipping, some products might only be available for the low price when you buy it with another product or spend a certain amount.

9 They create ads that ‘stalk’ you

This tactic one that goes “unnoticed” because that’s virtually what’s happening: Websites track your browsing history with cookies and retailers can fill ads with the very products you’ve already viewed online. How many times are you willing to turn down the opportunity to buy something you like?

10 They have lenient return policies

Retailers who aren’t strict with their return policies know what they’re doing.

They are hoping that you take the policies into consideration when you make your purchase knowing that you’ll probably forget about the item or get attached to it and not return it after all.

11 They have a virtual checkout aisle

Just like goodies are placed in checkout aisles to entice shoppers into last-minute impulse buys, retailers to do it online as well.

Just before you finish your checkout process, you might see some suggested add-on items.

12 They stay in close touch

Signing up or subscribing to a retailer’s newsletter might be a good way to save on your initial order, but any message after that might be a trap.

Look out for e-newsletters that have headlines that promise “one-day only” or “limited-time sale,” since they might make you visit the site even when you don’t need to hoping to score a deal.