Why It's Impossible To Buy Just One Thing At Target

full shopping cart

There is a reason that Target is the holy grail for mothers everywhere, because it's basically a one stop shop. You can get clothes for the whole family, goods for you home, baby items, electronics, beauty supplies and groceries! Let's not forget that in addition to the million other things you can get, the prices are super competitive as well. It's a wonder mothers ever shop anywhere else.

Even if you have a shopping list exactly one item long, chances are slim to none that you will actually be able to leave your Target store with just that one item. The good news is, you're not alone in not being able to limit yourself to buying just one thing at Target, and experts explain that there is a definitely a reason for that.

Tom Meyvis, a professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business explained to Refinery29 exactly why we find it so hard to limit our shopping to just one item when we walk in the doors of big box stores like Target.

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“Stores have an idea about the path [shoppers take],” he explained. “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.”

target shopping cart
Credit: iStock / krblokhin

Joe Perdew, Target’s Vice President of Store Design also explained that Target stores are purposefully laid out to help cross sell items by giving customers a visual representation of what certain products may look like in their homes and by letting them touch, feel and try before they buy.

We know that some guests want to grab a coffee at Starbucks and explore the aisles, so we’ve added features like dynamic product vignettes throughout the store that help guests envision how things will fit into their lives,” he explained. “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.”

People, and especially moms, are busy and have limited time to be able to shop at multiple stores to get everything they need. Target is helping to eliminate the need to shop at various stores by making their own shopping experience so awesome.

“You have good people in the marketing department at Target, and they have really good designers who have created such an ambient atmosphere for people. It’s really well lit at Target, right? There's a lot of color at Target," Dr. Kevin Chapman, a Kentucky-based psychologist explained to Refinery29 about the visual appeal of the store.

"It's pretty consistent throughout the store and generally that's going to make people feel happier,” he added. When you're happy you don't mind adding that extra item or 12 to your cart, making it almost impossible to leave Target with just one item.

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If you were worried that your impulse buys when you hit up your local Target were just you buying things you didn't really need, don't worry because the experts confirm that not only can you not buy one thing on your shopping trip but the other items you're picking up are necessary!

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

This definitely makes me feel better about my shopping habits!

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