News flash! It's time to rid ourselves of the guilt we feel after every Target splurge when we run in just to grab a couple items and walk out an hour later with $200 less. Don't fret, there's actually a name for this phenomenon of not being able to just buy one thing. It's called the Target Effect.

The Target Effect, Explained

target dog

Urban Dictionary defines the Target Effect as, "The result of going into a store, intending to buy a few things, and leaving with much more. Frequently happens while shopping at Target". Essentially, this experience has transcended into pop culture prominence with this definition. And the great thing is, you are not alone. Lots of people every day experience the Target Effect and magically end up spending more than they intended in the store. The Target Effect is real, people.

How Do They Do It?

target aisle

The Target Effect doesn't just happen overnight; Target combines a keen design eye with knowledge of their customer base and broad marketing appeal. Read on for just a few of their viciously effective methods.

  • Well-lit: each store is well lit to encourage energy and focus and make shoppers want to spend time there.
  • Brightly colored: Target has always focused on bright fun colors and patterns within their products as well as their store design. This is broadly appealing and youthfully charming.
  • Store layout: vignettes of various items are prettily displayed to draw guests in, and unrelated items are next to each other so you have to spend a lot of time in the store to find what you need. This mere act of walking past more merchandise means you're much more likely to buy it.
  • Pricing structure: Target likes to price things at $9.99 so it catches your eye and makes you believe you are getting a steal or a great value. Even though it's just a penny under $10, our minds register it as much cheaper and therefore are more likely to pick it up and be interested in it. Similarly, $4.99 and many other price points can be efficaciously used.
  • Consistency: Target strives to make each store extra inviting and similar so it feels like home even when you're not visiting your normal neighborhood store. This means you're less on guard and feeling relaxed to get your shop on.

In Conclusion

shopping cart in Target parking lot

Guys, it's time to acknowledge that we never stood a chance. Target knows the power of persuasion and has exquisitely used its in house design and marketing teams to ensure we spend as much money as possible in its stores through a variety of clever methods. It's pretty clear that the Target Effect is real and not going away any time soon. We might be powerless to stop it, but hey, are we even sure we want to? Target is pretty great after all.

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