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Knowing These Mall Secrets Can Help You Shop ‘Til You Drop Without Falling Prey To Consumer Gimmicks

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Clueless shopping mall

Mall magic doesn’t just happen by grouping a bunch of popular shops together. There’s actually a whole science behind what makes people shop till they drop. So just what are all these big mall secrets that have people flowing through their rotating doors day in and out? Read on and learn all about what makes the mall shopping experience so darn irresistible.

1. Best Selling Items To The Back

One of the most common mall secrets involves shopkeepers putting their hottest items toward the back of the store. Common sense would say that they’d put them on display at the very front of the shop to draw mall shoppers inside. However, sale rates rise when their top items are moved to the back.

Olivia Palermo shopping

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Doing this means that shoppers will have to walk through the entire shop. On the way to their desired item, their eyes are bound to be lured in by the likes of clearance sweaters, the newest pair of folded jeans and an even wider sales offering. Surprisingly, this tactic has been proven to make those cash registers sing. 

2. Shopping Mall Speed Bumps

When walking through your local mall, you might notice that the floor isn’t always level throughout the entire complex. Shopping malls across the United States have had their customers walking on an incline for years. This wasn’t done just for the sake of having a beautiful or elaborate design either. 

mall secrets

Michael Jacobs / Art in All

The reason for these speed bumps is actually intentional, built to slow shoppers down. The steeper the incline, the longer it will take visitors to walk by a shop. Ultimately, this leaves for a greater chance of a customer getting lured into a store over something they see in a front window display.

3. Tempting Little Check Out Items

Stores like to always keep customers second guessing about their wants and needs. Strident shoppers can cover every aisle, successfully cross out every item on their checkout list and need nothing more from the store. Then it’s to the checkout line, a.k.a. the store’s last chance to sell you something. 

Sephora shopping


Even stores that aren’t food related will display shelves of candy and other knick-knacks you don’t particularly need. Most can ignore a taunting candy bars, but if they’re a parent with a nagging child that candy can easily turn into an extra two buck or two in the store’s register.

4. Rockin’ Mall Tours

Back in the 1980’s, mall tours began to become a big thing around the United States. It all began with Tiffany and moved on to artists like Avril Lavigne and Cody Simpson. On paper, these mall tours might not look like so beneficial for the mall itself. People will go there to see the artist, buy their merchandise and split.

concerts - mall secrets

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That’s hardly the way that it goes. Sure, people go there for the sake of the free concert, but when the music’s over these same people will be thirsty, hungry or maybe feel the need to  browse around before leaving. 

5. Second Best is Good Enough With Anchored Prices

We’ve all been entranced by a lovely article of clothing only to find out that it was a few hundred dollars more than we could afford. Instead of walking out and tackling the winter in summer clothes, shopper can actually usually find something similar enough within the same aisle for a much cheaper price. 

paris hilton

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Don’t think that those kinds of situations happen by accident. Store owners know that some people can’t afford a $500 piece of apparel, so they’ll place similar ones around it at varying prices. Their plan is to lure in shoppers by the golden option hanging before them, but settle for the silver when they find it’s all that they can afford. 

6. A Touching Salesperson

Stores don’t hire just anyone to be their salesperson. Hiring managers have to see potential in their chosen worker and then they need to train them to be experts in the field. This training involves a number of tricks that a customer likely never sees coming. For instance, a salesperson’s touch is employed as a technique for encouraging potential customers to buy a product.

mall secrets

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You can often see salespeople identify browsing patrons and approach them with a sale pitch while lightly touching their arm. This is meant to create a bond between the salesperson and potential customer, in hopes of making the latter easier to manipulate. Studies have shown that this method almost guarantees a sale.

7. Tricking Your Senses With Colors

When it comes to mall secrets, these bustling consumer meccas have sales down to a science. They aren’t just arranging the stores in a certain fashion, but the employ the power of color to trigger a sensory response. Red is used for making something seem urgent. It is the most used and beloved color in shopping malls across the country. However, every color of the rainbow has a role.

mall secrets - store color pink


Yellow is a huge attention grabber, orange is used to push customers to make a decision and black suggests luxury. Certain color schemes are also used to calm customers. Blue brings about trust and security, green relaxes a shopper and purple creates a soothing and calming effect. Next time you’re at a shopping mall, pay attention to how color is used. 

8. Shopping to The Rhythm

Shops at the mall are very selective about the music they choose to play. The reason behind this is that shoppers tend to stay in rhythm with the tunes. If fast paced, high-intensity music is playing through the mall, shoppers will be more likely rush through stores, grabbing what they need and immediately heading out the door. 

Mall music

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If something soft is playing for the customers, they’re more likely to slowly sway down the aisles. That means more time inside a shop, more exposure for each individual product and a better chance of making sales. This isn’t only a mall secret, but pretty much a secret amid businesses of all kinds. 

9. Bargain Bin Booby Traps

A bargain bin lingering by a shop’s entrance can be a big difference maker in terms of sales. A passing customer will walk by the store, see that red sales sign and have their attention grasped. All it will take is seeing something like Flubber or Sandlot jumbled in a mix of four buck DVDs. If something familiar and nostalgic is sticking out, shoppers are more prone to stop and look.

Mall Secrets

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If they decide to buy the bargain movie, they’ll actually walk into the store and that can give way to more expose, hence more sales. The masses really love a great steal. A slashed price could make an item of little interest seem like an essential household item. 

10. Gender-Specific Items

Stores know exactly what to do to make a customers’ wallet grow thin. They’ll speak directly to a shopper and market something on a personal level. For example, gender-specific items are huge sellers and they are typically more expensive, yet just as effective, as their gender-neutral counterparts. They tend to sell high because they speak to conventional gender stereotypes. 

mall secrets


Gender-neutral items will usually be tucked away and left in the quiet. Gender-specific hair dye, shampoos, razors and deodorants are typically among top-sellers. One can only assume that the shampoo bottle with a woman sporting a luscious head of hair or bright, fun colors would be of a higher quality over a generic, plain-colored bottle shampoo. However, in many cases this isn’t true. 

11. Making Small Shops Seem Bigger

One of the biggest mall secrets is making their stores appear to be much bigger than they really are. Malls are often giant structures filled with an array of relatively small individual shops. A shop in the wrong hands can look small, cluttered and very unappealing to the average mall shopper. 

shopping mall secrets


In an effort to make shops look as spacious as possible, shop owners will pull every trick in the book. They’ll place mirrors in certain locations, cover the place in bright colors and limit the number of shelves. These tricks can take a small space and make it look vast and welcoming.

12. Sample After Sample

A quick stroll through a mall food court can almost result in mall-goers eating a full meal on the house. Servers will be quick to hand you a toothpick with their latest addition to the menu on the other end of it. It isn’t just the fast food eateries that are pulling this trick, but also bakeries and ice cream shops. 

mall secrets

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This small gesture isn’t strictly for your benefit. These little samples actually go a long way in terms of bringing money to the mall. Samples can come with an array of possibilities. Firstly, they introduce customers to a new product. Secondly, studies have shown that a free sample will make a customer feel more obligated to actually buy something at the restaurant. 

13. Tricky Escalator Positions

Anyone who has ever been to a mall knows that the escalators going up and down are never right beside each other. If you somehow accidentally go up, it often seem like you have to cross half the mall just to go back down. This layout isn’t some kind of flaw in the mall’s design, but actually one of the biggest tactics used by shopping centers.

mall escalator


This layout assures that a shopper will need to walk passed an array of purchasable offerings on their way between floors. This gives that nice sweater in the window or that warm pretzel an additional chance to be bought. For a shopaholic, this trap can easily result in an extra sale or two. 

14. Baked Goods At Every Door

From the minute you walk into the mall, these palaces of consumerism try to do everything under the sun to make you spend. One of the first things you’ll often notice is a wonderful wafting scent in the air. One that’ll speak directly to your stomach. Is that Wetzel’s Pretzels you smell? Of course it is. In most cases, malls will usually place a bakery or other eatery right by the entrance. 

baked goods - mall secrets


The smell of baked bread or a sugary sweet is bound to speak directly to your stomach and reel you in for a nice pre-shopping snack. If it isn’t Wetzel’s Pretzels, it’ll likely be an Auntie Anne’s or Miss Fields. Studies have shown that the smell of cinnamon has the power to make customers want to buy things. It certainly makes us want to buy yummy things!

15. Gigantic Red Sales Signs

When people see the color red, they immediately feel a call to action boil up inside of them. That’s what red does and malls know that better than anyone. They’ll place giant red sales signs in display windows or outside stores from Macy’s to Express and watch the magic happen. 

mall secrets

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Customers see these signs, go inside and likely leave with an item that wasn’t even listed for sale. That’s exactly what the store owners had in mind when they put those signs up. Sale signs are less about the actual deals and more about just getting people inside. That’s why they advertise the sale and not the items for sale. 

16. Two Digits After The Decimal

Believe it or not, an item sold at $19.99  instead of $20 can be the difference between a purchased item or one left to hang on the rack. From your local mall, to the McDonald’s down the street, this is a sale tactic that everyone has caught onto by now, and still, it tends to work like an absolute charm.

mall secrets

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When was the last time you entered a store and saw a flat price? It’s something that hardly happens these days. Even when paying hundreds of dollars for something, stores usually display prices with a decimal and two digits at the end. 

17. Long Lines Equal Impulse Buys

There is nothing more dreadful than waiting in a long line after hours of intense shopping. You and the other shoppers may be impatiently tapping your foot, but the store owners are all smiles. They can put more workers on the cashiers, but a long brooding line is just what they want.

mall secrets

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Long lines are one of the biggest mall secrets employed toward purchasing power. While you’re slowly inching forward, you’re likely to make impulse buys in the shop. That could mean a piece of candy, gum, a magazine or even a pair of socks or boxers. So next time you’re waiting in a mall line, just remember, they want to tempt you. 

18. Just a Limited-Time Offer

The list of best-kept mall secrets only gets deeper. When those giant red sales signs aren’t producing enough urgency amid customers, stores will bust out the limited-time offers. When people see that something is on sale for limited-time, they think they’re walking into a sale like no other sale before. 

mall secrets

Don Arnold/Getty Image

The illusion that comes with limited-time offers is especially effective during the holiday season. However, it’d probably be a good idea to take a step back and really look at the items that are on sale. Believe it or not, a good offer has resulted in people buying a lot of something that they don’t need. 

19. The Power of The Coupon

Coupons are just another trick up the sleeves of shopping malls. While they do save the average consumer money, malls and other stores wouldn’t send them out if they didn’t make a significant profit off of them. If a single $10 dollar off coupon is going to see shoppers drive all the way to the local mall, chances are those same patrons are going to buy more than just their intended item while there. 

mall secrets

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Sometimes these coupons require shoppers spend a certain amount to make the coupon valid. If you spend $50 bucks on clothes just so you can access that $10 dollars coupon, it’s the mall that’s getting the real deal and not you. Sure you saved $10, but you gave them $40. 

20. Downloading The Store App

Sales representatives will sound innocent enough when they sell you on downloading their store’s phone app laden with promises of deals and sale notifications. However, once you do, you’ll be all theirs. You’ll likely become immediately inundated with daily notifications concerning their next big sale or their newest in-store products. 

mall apps

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They know all the right ways to put blast list members in that shopping mood. Soon you’ll be taking weekly trips to the mall and buying things you never thought you’d own. Getting to a customer via an app is one of the newest retailer tricks. If that app can get you into their store, you’ll be all the more likely to spend some hard-earned cash there. 

21. Shopping In The Right Kind Of Light

Lighting can make or break almost any experience and that includes shopping at the mall. Getting that perfect lighting is not something that is easily done. If it’s too dim, you can walk through a store and miss certain products. It also works the other way around. Bright lights can leave for a harsh and glaring experience that can turn shoppers off. 

Mall Secrets

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When done right, lighting can create a beautiful experience and shopping malls are on top of their game on this. They engineer lighting in a way that will draw attention to certain products and shelves. In a way, the store owner’s are using the shop’s light to direct you to the products that they want to sell.

22. Per-Customer Limit

A number per-customer limit is a tactic that is guaranteed to cause a frenzy amid shoppers. It’s been known to result in lines that flow outside of the store. Usually, malls bust out this tactic when a new Apple product or video game console is released. Sometimes stores have a huge supply of a hot item, but use this sales strategy to make things feel more exclusive.

mall secrets


This selling style isn’t a move that’s essential to technology though. Limiting a product can make something seemingly normal appear to be a gem. The announcement alone will likely draw a small wave of people who can’t resist the temptation of getting in on a fleeting offer. 

23. Buy One, Get One Free

One of the biggest mall secrets is a free offering or a buy one, get one free deal. People can be huge suckers for a free product and will immediately give their attention to a sign advertising just that. You can go to the mall with a specific product in mind and easily get manipulated into making an unplanned purchase. 

Clueless shopping mall

Paramount Pictures

When you walk away with something free, you feel like a winner. Even if that free product came with an unneeded purchase. At the end of the day, it is the mall and its shops that are the real winners. While these gems do exist, it is very likely that the product they’re giving away was something overstocked and needed to leave storage. 

24. Eye to Product Contact

When consumers make eye-to-eye contact with an item, they’re literally on the same level as the offering that’s begging purchase. These signs make it all the easier for casual browsers to find something of interest. The lesser selling items and the over stock will usually be stacked below or on the shelves above these eye-level offerings. The hot items are what the retailer is basically throwing at the customer.

mall secrets

JIMIN LAI / AFP / Getty Images

This one tactic stores in malls use to basically tell you what they think you should own. This goes for everything in almost every shop. You’re being told which video games you should play, which phone is the best and what clothes you should wear. Talk about product placement!  

25. Counterclockwise Traffic Patterns

Of all the mall secrets, one of the biggest lies in the structure’s physical layout. Years ago, retail experts confirmed that most customers instinctively walk to the right upon entering a store. Malls have since been designed with that in mind. Upon entering a mall, a customer is subconsciously encouraged to turn to the right and work their way through the mall in a counterclockwise fashion. 

mall secrets

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A comfortable customer is one that will spend more time in the mall and spend more money. However, they don’t just place every single amazing shop on the structure’s right hand side. They mix things up and make some shops harder to find. This tactic is supposed to assure that customers will walk through as much of the entire complex as possible. 

Sources: Businessinsider, Payoff, Shopworks

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