Shopping expert shares 5 things to know before the January sales next week

Were you aware of this?

January sales
(Image credit: Katie Stewart / Alamy Stock)

Following the festive period, the much anticipated January sales are set to begin. You could be looking forward to grabbing a few bargains with any money or vouchers you've received, and so you should! However, according to analysts at GlobalData, UK shoppers posted back more than £4.1 billion pounds of online clothing purchases last year. This shows a huge epidemic of overspending, especially during the January sales. 

If this sounds familiar to you, then you may have been subject to psychological tricks applied by businesses, aiming to lure customers into impulsive purchases. Shops often do this to make shoppers spend more money, so it's important to know that you're not being tricked into unnecessarily buying something. 

To help you identify popular tactics used to influence shoppers into buying more, we spoke to Michael Weir, head of behavioural science at Impression. He revealed to us the top 5 subtle tricks Brits should look out for, and that's what we will be sharing with you today.

Before you find out more, check out these four reasons why shopping certified refurbished is a great way to save money. 

1. They create a fear of missing out 

One of the most powerful tools that brands use to encourage you to buy is creating a fear of missing out. This could be done through countdowns and messages that trigger scarcity, such as ‘low in stock’ or ‘selling fast’, encouraging customers to rush through the buying process and check out quicker. 

Be cautious of being swayed by these pressuring tactics. Try making a wishlist of things you want before going online to avoid overspending. Just because an item is ‘selling fast’, doesn’t necessarily mean it's an essential purchase if your budget is tight heading into the new year.

2. They put on 'exclusive' deals

As humans, we want to feel special, and businesses often tap into this by offering us exclusivity through memberships, loyalty programs and personalised deals. 

Be cautious of getting caught in the headlights of discounted pricing just because it appears that it's special for you. If you didn’t intend to buy it before you saw the discounted price, don’t let your member status be the reason that persuades you to check out. 

3. They offer rewards in return for spending more

Rewards often come in the form of free gifts, promotional codes and free delivery deals. We all know that feeling of adding more items to the basket to guarantee free delivery, despite this doubling the intended cost of the purchase. 

Brands use these tricks to tap into the idea of reciprocity or giving something for getting something. By offering you rewards for shopping, you are more likely to spend more, but also build loyalty with them.

4. They use influencers to influence trust

Many websites will use recognisable personalities or influencers to earn your trust in their products and ultimately persuade you to make a purchase. 

By using influencers and popular models, whose faces we are used to seeing, it makes us feel more at ease believing them. After all. if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.

5. They use countdowns to rush the checkout process

Despite occasional intense messaging and countdowns, most websites will hold products in your basket for an hour. 

Really use this time, and don’t rush to checkout just because the website is telling you to do so. We know the timer is distracting, but that in itself is an easy psychological trick to push us to buy.

Take the time to reflect on whether the product is something you need and if you haven’t already, do some research around the product to make sure you couldn’t find it elsewhere for a cheaper price or higher quality. 

Lizzie Wilmot
Staff Writer, Home

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.