Belfast Telegraph

Retailers have plenty of tricks up their sleeve to rake in festive funds

By Staff Reporter

Shopping can be fun, can't it?

Wandering around high street stores gazing at the bright things on offer can be a delightful way to while away an hour or two. You may be tempted, but you can walk out without buying a thing.

Or can you? Not if the retailers have their way.

If you leave a shop without buying, they'll have failed.

Sainsbury's was recently caught out when a hapless worker wrongly hung a sign in the window exhorting staff to persuade customers to spend more.

The poster said: "Let's encourage every customer to spend an additional 50p during each shopping trip between now and the year end."

But the tricks they use are usually more sophisticated than that.

And as Christmas, the biggest shopping spree of the year, approaches, retailers will be ramping up efforts to make you part with your hard-earned.

If you know what to expect, you'll be able to spot the tricks and concentrate on buying only what you want, rather than walking out with what they hope to flog you.

Michael Sheridan is the founder of the global retail design agency Sheridan & Co, which has offices in London, New York and Shanghai.

He has worked with some of the high street's biggest names, such as Selfridges, Harrods and House of Fraser.

"I've worked with brands all over the world and regardless of target audience or product, upping sales during the season of goodwill is the holy grail of retail," he says.

"Through our work, we spend a lot of time putting ourselves in the place of the consumer. When you basically go shopping for a living, you learn a thing or two about the psychology of retail and the techniques used to seduce us into spending."

It's a highly developed science which gets its reward in boosting footfall - the number of people who go into shops - and spend, especially at Christmas.

Last year, the average UK household spent an estimated £822 on Christmas, according to a YouGov survey - a £54 increase on 2012.

This year a further increase is anticipated.

Belfast Telegraph