A Magician's Look at Retail Marketing (Manipulation)


In honor of The Great American Shopping Season, I wanted to take a magician’s look at how consumer perceptions get crafted and our behaviors influenced. Here are three articles that give us a deeper understanding of the malleability of our minds.

What Turns Shoppers Into Raging Hordes?

As a magician, I specialize in directly manipulating people’s perceptions and their behaviors. But what I find most fascinating is how our psychology changes when humans come together. 

"Social scientists and psychologists are trying to figure out why Black Friday shoppers behave so badly."

Read More from The New York Times

How Discounts Act Like a Good Magic Trick

I may be a magician, but I allow myself to be misdirected by discounts just like anyone… only $12.30 left to get free shipping, you say?

"Deals work like misdirection in a magic trick, drawing your eyes away from what’s really happening. Instead of focusing on the discount, keep your attention on what you’re actually spending."

Read More from Quartzy

2 Powerful Ways Your Business Can Beat Out Big Brands This Black Friday & Cyber Monday

79% of people want the human touch to remain a part of customer service because every business transaction is also a personal transaction. You’re in business because someone chooses to do business with you. 

"If you’re looking to really surprise and delight customers, sometimes you have to do things that are difficult to scale. That effort you put into making a personal touch will pay off in the long-term."

Read More from Inc

In Conclusion

As consumers, it’s important to keep these perceptual tricks of the trade in the back of our minds when we shop. As business owners, operators or managers, it is equally important to know when to use them and when to avoid them.

So whether you call them your clients, customers, patients or guests, consider why people choose to do business with you. What and who shapes their decisions? And consider what you can do to make their transaction with your business more personable and genuine. 

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