Have you ever walked into Target with a set shopping list but ended up leaving the store with more items than you planned? Well apparently, there’s a scientific explanation for your excessive spending called the “Target Effect.”
Earlier this week, People pointed out that Urban Dictionary defines the “Target Effect” as “the result of going into a store, intending to buy a few things, and leaving with much more,” which “frequently happens while shopping at Target.” But if you tend to shop at a lot of department stores, then you know that this experience may not just happen at Target.
Tom Meyvis, a New York University marketing professor, previously told Refinery29 that stores like Target and Walmart carefully plan out how they sell their merchandise to get people to purchase things they don’t necessarily need.
“Walmart was once famous for doing things like putting like Band-Aids next to fishing hooks and things like that. Something you don’t naturally associate, but once you see them there, it makes sense,” he revealed. “So when people come in for something in one category, you can cross-sell, you can sell them something that compliments in the next product category by making sure they’re right next to each other.”
Although Target obviously has a strategy to sell more items to customers, Professor Meyvis revealed that he doesn’t think the store uses “tricks” to get people to buy things. He instead believes that people are spending more money on items that they want than on merchandise that they don’t need. “These unplanned purchases are often things that we do like and that we do want. We just didn’t think of them,” he said.
Dr. Kevin Chapman, a Kentucky-based psychologist, also noted that Target stores are “well lit” and have an “ambient atmosphere” so that customers can spend more money.
“There’s a lot of color at Target. It’s pretty consistent throughout the store and generally that’s going to make people feel happier,” he said. “And what do people do in happy-feeling environments? Why, spend money, of course!”
Customer’s may need to hold on to their wallets in the near future because over 1,000 Target locations will be re-modeled by 2020, according to Target’s Vice President of Store Design, Joe Perdew. But if we stick to the “get in, get out” method on our future Target shopping runs then we should be just fine!