Tricks of the Trade: Department Stores

Sales... coupons... Special buys: these deals seem like a shopper's dream.

But what they really are: little tricks of the trade department store trade.

Take a few minutes to learn them and you might end up with more money in your pocket instead of theirs.

First, layout.

The most profitable items are usually at the front of the store.

And since people naturally tend to walk to the right, higher ticket or better profit items are often on your right side.

Next, flooring.

Ever notice the floor is smooth in the front and carpeted on the sides?

That's meant to funnel you in and slow you down so you'll spend more time looking.

Even restroom placement.

Every notice how the bathrooms are at the back of the store?

That's to get you to look at more merchandise on the way there and back.

Also: Prominent signs above items.

When you see a sign, you expect an item to be on sale.

But sometimes, it's just there to draw attention to full-priced items.

Finally: coupons and rewards.

Save $25 when you spend $75 encourages you to buy more to get the discount.

Same goes for reward programs.

They encourage you to spend more for some reward later, that some people don't end up using.

Bottom line: every business has tricks of the trade.

There's nothing wrong with that.

But understanding what they are could keep you from spending more money than you intended to.

Want more information?

Just go to and search for "Tricks of the Trade."