Why It's Literally Impossible to Buy Just 1 Thing at Target, According to Experts


How many of us have walked into Target in need of one very specific thing and then left with a full cart of goodies? For better or worse (for our budgets!), Target is basically a playground for adults. People have even had Target-themed maternity shoots and birthday parties in honor of their love affair with this magical place. If I can find cute boots, snacks, my favorite mascara, and a mug I never knew I needed all in one place, it feels pretty much impossible to leave with only one or two items. Well, according to professionals, that is completely on purpose.


Obviously any store we walk into wants us to purchase multiple things, but Target is really good at making sure we do. According to Refinery 29, there is even a name for it: the Target Effect. 

The publication interviewed Tom Meyvis, a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, to explain why we just can't walk out of Target without buying a bunch of stuff we didn't originally plan on. He said that super center or "big box" stores have an advantage because they carry pretty much everything, allowing them to sell across different categories.

“Stores have an idea about the path [shoppers take],” Meyvis said. “Walmart was once famous for doing things like putting like Band-Aids next to fishing hooks and things like that. Something you don’t naturally associate, but once you see them there, it makes sense. So when people come in for something in one category, you can cross-sell, you can sell them something that compliments in the next product category by making sure they’re right next to each other.”

Joe Perdew, Target’s vice president of store design, also weighed in on the layout of Target specifically. He told the website, “Our revamped Beauty department looks like a specialty shop and is designed to invite guests to try out products, and in Home, products are cross-merchandised and displayed in lifestyle settings, so guests can imagine what they’ll look like in their own homes.”

The article also states how the friendly workers, top-of-the-line designers, and good price points all contribute to unplanned spending at Target. I mean, it's pretty impossible to walk into the store and not browse the dollar section!

The retailer is reportedly planning to upgrade 1,000 locations by the end of 2020, adding things like “LED lighting, and wood paneled accents, along with additional mannequins and products displayed in lifestyle settings," Refinery 29 reported. 

“I don't want to say that the stores are making us buy things that we don't want, that we don't need,” Meyvis explained. “These unplanned purchases are often things that we do like and that we do want. We just didn't think of them.”

So yes, Target being intentionally sneaky, but are we mad at it? NOPE! I will happily accept defeat and continue to fill my cart at Target! 

Read More >