Ah, the mall. Why is it that with almost every trip to the shopping centre, you end up spending waaaay too much than you set out to do? I mean, all you needed to buy was new socks and some lightbulbs, but here you are, walking away with a bundle of shopping bags hanging from each arm.
How did this happen?
While you can (and should) kick yourself for giving into your impulsive buying tendencies, maybe you can take some comfort in the fact that you don’t have to place the entire blame on yourself. This is going to sound silly, but blame the mall!
How malls make you spend more?
Why? The mall is designed to make us spend more. It’s full of sneaky little cues that confuse us, make us lose focus on the main reason we’re at the mall in the first place, and encourage us to fork over our cash for things we hadn’t intended on buying.
This might sound a little paranoid, but it’s totally a thing—architects call this phenomenon the Gruen transfer, or scripted disorientation. That’s why we should be aware of the many different tricks malls use to try to make us buy more, so the next time we visit a mall, we might be a little more in control of our spending.
1. Confusing layouts
Everyone has gotten lost in a shopping mall. You’d think that malls would want to stop inconveniencing its visitors, but their confusing layouts are actually 100% intentional.
As you struggle to navigate through the mall, you often end up at stores you hadn’t planned on visiting. And the more stores you visit, the likelier it is that you’ll make a purchase.
2. Uncomfortable common areas
Ever notice how a mall’s common areas are often loud, harshly lit, and just stressful? Why is it often so difficult to find a nice place to sit?
Common areas like atriums and hallways are often uncomfortable so that you’ll be more than eager to seek the refuge of a quiet, pleasant store. With its better acoustics, lighting, and oftentimes even a nice scent, you’ll probably want to spend a longer time in the store, which again, makes you more likely to buy.
Why are food courts and cinemas located either on the top floor or in the basement, far from the entrance? And why are department stores located in far corners of the mall? Again, this is a strategic way to make consumers cover more ground, see more stores, and buy more.
Ever wondered why stores of one kind are often located right next to each other? Arvind Singhal of Technopak Advisors explains to DNA India: “Many women apparel stores will be next to each other. While a shopper may resist the temptation to buy from one shop, but a number of shops may weaken the determination.”
5. No sense of time
You can spend a lot of time thinking 'how malls make you spend more?'. It’s almost impossible to find a clock anywhere you look in a mall. Many also don’t have windows to the outside world. That’s because most malls are designed to make you lose your sense of time, causing you to spend longer hours there.
6. Stressful car parks
Easily the worst part of going to the mall, shopping centre car parks are notorious for being confusing and stressful. That alone will make anyone want to delay having to deal with looking for your car, figuring out how to exit, and queuing at the toll. You end up spending more time at the mall.
How malls make you spend more, can almost be a rhetorical question. For those who actually finding things to pass time, is the perfect destination. Where do you spend your time the most without even realising?