Christmas Shopping Wars: Retailer Tricks of the Trade

Buyers beware, retailers use surveillance video, music and nostalgia to strategize sales.
3:00 | 12/17/13

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Transcript for Christmas Shopping Wars: Retailer Tricks of the Trade
When you go to las vegas, every detail in the casino from the temperature, the layout, the drinks to even the oxygen has been set up to encourage you to spend and lose money. Did you know some of the same types of strategies are employed by your favorite retailers and with this final week upon us they are trying everything they can to get you to buy more. Here is abc contributor becky wolf. They can play you christmas carols, pile on the tinsel and cart out the mall santas but make no mistake, the holiday shopping season is a war. And in the battle for the $600 billion you will spend this year, stores will pull out all the stops to get you to open your wallet. But there are ways to fight back. We'll show you how to get inside their heads before they can get inside yours. It's the shoppers versus the retailers. The deal hunters versus the profit takers. If you want to win, you need to peek into their play book so you can beat them at their own game. First retail secret. Stores may be watching how you shop to get you to buy more. From big chains to small boutiques like this one, heat mapping technology analyzes what products grab shopper's attention using an overlay on surveillance video it can show where we linger, touch, our grab products. The red marks show really popular items like this. Once the hottest items are identified, a manager can use them to draw you in. So to beat this you have to go old school. I'm looking for a scarf. Stay focused on what you really want to buy by asking a sales clerk. It's not just what you touch. They are even watching where you walk. Once they know where customers are most likely to walk, they might drop a display in the middle of a popular path to get you to make an impulse buy. That's something consumer psychology understands well. It gets you to slow down. It gets you to focus and suddenly you're at the mercy of the stimuli that they're presenting to you. Put the blinders on, stick to the list, get in and get out. The longer people are in a store, the more money that they're spend. Next retail secret? A price tag strategy called the group of three with an anchor. You have got three coats priced left to right, $100, $200 and $600. The retailer doesn't expect to sell many of the most expensive item items. They're there to make the middle item look like a bargain. But where should you really be looking? To the left. Yeah, look left. Usually the item to the left is cheaper and not that different from the other two. When it comes to electronics, resisted a-ones. You get a big ticket purchase and you buy accessories. You think this only applies to fashion? Try electronics. BIG SCREEN TVs? You have got to get cables. Electronics are taking a play from the fashion industry. You go in to buy a tablet or smart one. And look what's next to the displays. Accessories. And how helpful the sales clerk tells me I need a cable, a screen protector, a charging case. You're tempted to buy. But hold on, now's when you need to pull out your smart phone. Check prices. They are at rock bottom prices. Order them on the phone or show it to the sales clerk and see if they will match the price. Another secret? Cranking up the tunes. It's not just you. They play it louder during the holidays and add that in with the crowds, the bells, the traffic, and you get overstimulated. Music circumvents the rational parts of the brains and makes it feel a certain way. And a lot of times makes us feel like celebrati spending money. Play it smart by bringing your own ear buds. I'm going with the charlie brown christmas album. Very calming. Creating an atmosphere is retail 101. I'm walking when -- when you go into a kitchen and home store, you might be enticed by the smell of cinnamon. Is that apple cider? The smell seems like it has a direct path way to nostalgia. Or to some sort of memory evoking sense? Yes. And there's tons of research on smells. The sorts of smells that are related to spending that make people spend more money. Casinos have done a lot of research on this. Apple cider makes me nostalgic. A homey snowy christmas smell and it is especially powerful around the holidays. We get a great feeling from that smell and we want to take that emotion home with us. They transport us to another place in time. Evoke a mood that makes you feel like you want to participate. And that leads to overspending and more impulse purchases. You have a list of presents you need to buy. Did you know the order matters? Studies show we spend a lot more time hunting for a deal on the first item of the list. I'm tired, I'm overwhelmed and just want to go home. Check off the most expensive items first. And lastly, be ware of the e-mail game of chicken. If you made a purchase online, they probably have your e-mail and boy are they using and abusing it right now. Last day for savings. Retailers understand that we have come to love a bargain and it ends up being the greatest problem for shoppers. Thinking something's a deal and not thinking to themselves is it really worth this to me? Toys, accessories and electronics get cheaper. And afterwards, let the sales really begin. When it comes to winning the battle of deals, what you don't know could cost you. Keep informed, keep calm and keep your holiday budget tight. Some smart advice. Thanks.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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