5 Stores Where You Shouldn't Pay Full Price

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5 Stores Where You Shouldn't Pay Full Price
Gene J. Puskar/AP
By Lisa Koivu

A funny thing happened a few years ago: The recession hit and suddenly people were shopping less. Retailers tried different tactics to get people shopping again and the market became over-saturated with sample sale sites and daily deal sites selling items that couldn't be sold in stores. While those types of sites are far less plentiful now that the economy has stabilized a bit, one thing that hasn't changed is that retailers are still coupon crazy. Stores that once would rarely offer coupons now offer them constantly.

Some say that in response to the coupons the retailers have actually raised their prices and thus are breaking even, and perhaps that is the case. What I do know is that regardless of the retailers' intent, there are some stores where the coupons are so plentiful that it would be unwise to shop without one.

While it may still be harder to find in-store coupons, here are five stores where you will never want to pay full price online:

1. J. Crew. J. Crew has steadily gotten more expensive throughout the years, but over the past couple of years they've been releasing coupons nearly as often as the other retailers on this list. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%You can normally find a J. Crew coupon at least once a week. Sometimes it will be an extra percentage discount on their sale section while other times it will be 25 to 30 percent off full-priced items. (Sometimes you might get really lucky and also score free shipping.)

2. Ann Taylor. Honestly, I've never once looked at the Ann Taylor (ANN) website and not found a coupon available. If you don't see one on the day you are order, come back the next day.

3. The Body Shop. I remember being a teenager and not being allowed to shop at The Body Shop because it was too expensive. These days they frequently offer 50 percent off site-wide deals, as well as buy one get one deals. Additionally, discounted vouchers for The Body Shop regularly pop up on Groupon.

4. Kohl's. There are so many ways to save at Kohl's (KSS) these days. In addition to the store's regular coupons that can usually save you anywhere from 15 to 25 percent (sometimes 30 percent if you have a Kohl's charge card), be on the lookout for their Gold Star Clearance Days when prices get heavily slashed, and you can almost always earn $10 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent. Kohl's Cash can then be used on your next $10 and up purchase.

5. Gap. There are maybe one to two days each week when you won't find a Gap coupon listed on their website. Gap (GPS) sends out near-daily emails with new codes. In addition to the frequent online codes, coupons are frequently released for Gap Outlet.

If you head to any of these sites and are unable to find a coupon highlighted be sure to check out a coupon aggregator site like retailmenot.com for any available codes.

Lisa Koivu is the founder of ShopGirlDaily.com, a shopping blog for women who want to have the best for less.


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5 Stores Where You Shouldn't Pay Full Price

A big, bold "SALE" sign helps get people in the store, where they are likely to buy non-sale items.

Once you enter, there's the shopping cart. This invention was designed in the late 1930s to help customers make larger purchases more easily.

 

In supermarkets, high margin departments like floral and fresh baked goods are placed near the front door, so you encounter them when your cart is empty and your spirits are high.    
Flowers and baked goods also sit near the front of stores because their appealing smell activates your salivary glands, making you more likely to purchase on impulse.

Supermarkets like to hide dairy products and other essentials on the back wall, forcing you to go through the whole store to reach them.

 

    

Once customers start walking through a store's maze of aisles, they are conditioned to walk up and down each one without deviating.

Most stores move customers from right to left. This, combined with the fact that America drives on the right, makes people more likely to purchase items on the right-hand side of the aisle.

Anything a store really wants customers to buy is placed at eye level. Particularly favored items are highlighted at the ends of aisles.
 

There's also kid eye level. This is where stores place toys, games, sugary cereal, candy, and other items a kid will see and beg his parents to buy.
Sample stations and other displays slow you down while exposing you to new products.
Stores also want items to be in easy reach. Research shows that touching items increases the chance of a purchase.

Color affects shoppers, too. People are drawn into stores by warm hues like reds, oranges, and yellows, but once inside cool colors like blues and greens encourage them to spend more.

Hear that music? Studies show that slow music makes people shop leisurely and spend more. Loud music hurries them through the store and doesn't affect sales. Classical music encourages more expensive purchases.
Store size matters, too. In crowded places, people spend less time shopping, make fewer purchases (planned and impulsive), and feel less comfortable
.
Stores not only entice you with sales, they also use limited-time offers to increase your sense of urgency in making a purchase.
The most profitable area of the store is the checkout line. Stores bank on customers succumbing to the candy and magazine racks while they wait.
Finally, there is the ubiquitous "valued shopper" card. This card gives you an occasional deal in exchange for your customer loyalty and valuable personal data.
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