How Malls Trick You to Spend More Money? | Top 10 Tricks Used by Malls

How Malls Trick You to Spend More Money? | Top 10 Tricks Used by Malls

Ever noticed how a trip to the mall always ends up amounting to much more than you originally planned for? You return home with a bunch of stuff, half of which you probably don’t even need. Now, what is it about malls and impulsive buying? Why can’t you just buy what you want, and get out of that place without roaming around, and exploring random shops, buying all kinds of random goods?

We customers are encouraged to visit malls for a variety of reasons. Advantages of shopping at a mall include the psychological delight of finding many items under one roof and the availability of a wide range of selections for a single item. Also, there are a ton of dining and entertainment options for people of all ages. These are some essential motivators for shoppers to visit malls and spend money.

In this article, we will go through many ways in which malls trick you to spend more money.

Ways in Which Malls Trick You to Spend More Money

Marketing Tricks Each Store Uses

Ways in Which Malls Trick You to Spend More Money

In today's time, visiting a mall is a great source of leisure for people. It is a great source because it has almost everything that one needs to enjoy their free time. You can watch a movie, eat something, play games, and most importantly you can shop from various brands under one roof.

You might have noticed that once you enter the mall, it gets pretty hard to come out of it with empty hands. This doesn't happen on its own. It is a psychological game that the malls play with their visitors. The following are the ways in which malls trick you to spend more money:

Growing Number of Shopping Malls in India From 2014 to 2018, with an Estimate for 2022
Growing Number of Shopping Malls in India From 2014 to 2018, with an Estimate for 2022

Intentional Disorientation

One of the biggest traps that shopping malls have in store for you is the lack of direction. Shopping malls are designed in a way that won’t make it easy for one to find their way around without getting confused. If you ever observe carefully, you will see the severe lack of windows in malls. There is rarely a way for you to look outside. The inside of a shopping mall can begin to feel like an entirely different world.

Another thing that you must notice every time you visit a mall, is the lack of any means of checking the time. You won’t ever see any kind of clock around. This can really mess up your sense of time. You might actually end up spending a lot more time than you actually planned to. In this way, there are higher chances that the more time you spend, the more money you are likely to spend as well.

Use of Compromise Effect

Another trick that is played by malls to trick the customers is the usage of the compromise effect. This is similar to the decoy effect in marketing. In this trick, stores in malls place a costly item next to a little more affordable but comparable item in a store. The buyer is tempted to purchase the more expensive item, but they decide against it after seeing the cheaper, comparable item. So, in this way, the mall tricks you into buying its target products and earning and also makes the customer happy as they feel like they received a terrific deal.

This tactic may be found in both offline and online stores. So, read reviews, compare prices at several stores, and look for additional coupons before you purchase anything to avoid falling for it.

Attractive Storefronts to Lure You In

When you are entering a mall, remember the entire purpose of all the decor, design and architecture is to get you to stay for a longer time than you intend to.

The mall's architecture is very carefully planned. You can easily observe that there is not a lot of seating space offered in malls. Want to know why? This is to encourage you to walk into stores' environments that look more welcoming and warmer than the harsh lobbies. Even the lighting and acoustics are working against you. You can see that malls are usually lit up with harsh lights, and there’s a lot more echoing conversation and music going on in the hallways whereas stores are pleasantly lit with a soothing atmosphere.

Stores are designed in a way that will surely lure you in. With catchy billboards and attractive display items, it takes a lot of willpower to walk by without entering. Most of us do not possess that kind of restraint and fall prey to these tactics. This results in you coming back with a lot more bags and a lot lighter wallet than you were planning on.

Price Anchoring

Allen Walton, the founder of the online company SpyGuy Security, said that many retailers utilise price anchoring to encourage customers to make larger purchases.

He said, "Retailers make up a fake retail price and then have a heavily discounted sale price," he explained. "This makes it seem like the customer is getting a great deal compared to the usual price." According to Walton, this tactic is particularly successful because consumers are conditioned to believe that sales last for a limited period of time, encouraging buyers to make impulsive purchases. "They'll buy now instead of putting it off and risk the sale ending," he further added.

So, to avoid falling for this trick, customers should not rely on the first price they see in a mall. Instead, investigate similar things online or ask your friends and relatives how much they paid for particular items.

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Putting the Finest Offers in the Mall on Your Right

This one is a really tricky one. Maybe even a little hard to believe but it does work like magic. Most people have a strong affinity for the right direction in general. If you don’t believe us, ask yourself. When you enter a mall, which direction do you usually turn first? Exactly. Malls take full advantage of this situation.

Most of the top-notch items and displays are usually placed on your right so you are obliged to catch a glimpse. Most storefronts arrange their store setting in a way that every time you turn right, something attractive catches your eye and you keep on lingering. Hence, tricking you into spending more.

Appealing Fragrances and the Sense of Convenience

The malls also have grocery and bakery stores. These stores are, however, not just like any common grocery store in your area. These are fancy in their appearances and also provide you with fancy products. For example, such stores offer already chopped vegetables and sliced fruits with beautiful packaging. Also, the amazing fragrances of pre-made meals or other bakery items act as a great source of attraction to the customers. Thus, all this tricks you into buying them as it looks appealing and makes you perceive them as a convenient option.

Positioning of the Food Court and Gaming Area

Another trick used by malls to make one spend more is the positioning of the food court and gaming zone. But most of these, if not all of them, are found on a mall's upper floor. Ever questioned why? This is to ensure that you have visited a substantial amount of the mall before arriving at your preferred location for eating. Malls place gaming zones and food courts on the same floor so that when people are all excited and pumped up after playing games, they get attracted by the delicious fragrances from the food court. Therefore, encouraging them to spend more.

Intimidating Parking Structures

Parking structures in malls are quite intimidating. Needless to say, this is just another trick used by the malls. They intentionally plan the architecture of parking lots in a way that can easily confuse people. Once you successfully park and enter the mall, you won’t easily want to go back to retrieve your car because of all the architectural challenges involved. Instead of leaving on time, you are more likely to wander around and explore just so you can avoid the parking lot for a while. So, when people feel intimidated by the parking structure, they are more likely to shop for a little more time.

Bulk Buying Deals

Bulk Buying Deals
Bulk Buying Deals 

Another popular trick used by malls is bulk buying deals. Many stores in the mall offer deals that give the customers a huge discount if they make bulk purchases. This lures the customers into thinking that they will be benefitted from such deals. Therefore, makes you buy more than you planned for. As a customer, one should always come prepared with particular requirements in order to prevent falling into this trap.  

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A Calm Environment

Malls usually have slow music, an aromatic environment, and appealing lighting effects that relax our bodies and clear our brains. People want to stay a little while longer, which increases the likelihood that they will spend more money.


For all of us, shopping in malls is usually enjoyable. Even if you don't want to make a purchase, you can still visit a mall or window shop and pass the time with other people. However, shopping malls use a lot of the tricks mentioned above to boost sales. So, be on the lookout for the warning signals to help you save a tonne of cash!


Why do people prefer malls?

People prefer going to malls because of the availability of various factors under one roof like various brands, gaming zone, food courts, movie halls, etc. Malls offer a convenient and entertaining experience to the customer.

How do stores get you to spend more money?

The stores in malls make one spend more in the following ways:

  • Intentional Disorientation
  • Use of Compromise effect
  • Attractive storefronts
  • A Calm Environment
  • Price anchoring

What makes a good mall?

The following factors make a good mall:

  • Convenience
  • Diversity
  • Luxury
  • Entertainment
  • Shopping experience

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