Holiday Shopping Psychology

Shoot Date: 
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Well the holiday shopping season is now officially in full swing. We all know retailers have plenty of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to encouraging us to shop and spend around the holidays. But there are a few important things you can keep an eye out for to protect your wallets and save money. We’ve got you covered. Here with everything you need to know is Shari O.

Who doesn’t love holiday shopping, all the Christmas carols, festive decorations and even Santa Claus right there in the mall. But sometimes if feels as if retailers are also using all those things to encourage us to spend money. Are they?

SOME OF THE TRICKS RETAILERS PLAY

  • MUSIC / SCENTS
  • DISPLAYS
  • CHECKOUT LINES
  • “BASICS” LOCATIONS / REGISTER LOCATIONS
  • “SALE” OFFERS

That’s a definite yes. Which is why it's so important to be aware of the psychology retailers are playing with.

MUSIC AND SCENTS: Holiday music makes us nostalgic. We linger in the store and buy more to capture that warm, fuzzy feeling. Evidence suggest that the less comfortable you are during the seasonal shopping spree the more money you’ll spend. Stores crank up music, repeat the same songs, pipe in smells. Leads to overstimulation and momentary loss of self control thus enhancing likelihood of impulse purchases.

DISPLAYS: The main entrance may have a lavish display enticing you to spend, come in through a side door or the food-court entrance.

CHECKOUT: In fact, speaking of displays, cash register and checkout lines are stacked with items designed for you to buy on a whim. BASICS LOCATIONS: Customer inconvenience also works to retailer advantage. Some stores make you go to far flung places in the store for basics and to find those less busy registers.

SALES: Another reliable way retailers turn our sub-conscious disorientation into sales is known as the “disrupt and reframe” approach. The idea is to confuse customers to evoke even the slightest uncertainty, then rush in and offer a reassuring path through the resulting confusion. We hunger for what psychologists call “cognitive closures” and if spending is the solution so be it. This is one of the leading reasons those sale offers can sometimes be confusing. Of course the bottom line is always to get us to spend more not less.

So what can we do to stay focused and save money during the holiday season?

TOP TIPS

  • CHECKOUT LOCATION
  • SALESPEOPLE
  • ATTIRE
  • BYO MUSIC
  • VET ‘SALES’
  • SHOP SOLO
  • USE CASH-BIG BILLS
  • CHEAP STUFF FIRST-GET IN AND OUT

LINES: Make a habit of skipping the lines. When possible, pay for your purchases in less crowded areas of the store, like the men’s-underwear or home-furnishings department. Otherwise, while you’re waiting, you just might pick up something on a whim and spend more.



LOOKS: Steer clear of attractive salespeople. It sounds silly, but research shows you’re more likely to buy something from a sales associate who is easy on the eyes.

DRESS: Don’t dress just for comfort. When people are feeling insecure, they tend to buy more, So nix the sweats and the sneakers if they make you feel frowzy and opt for something stylish, like cute flats or an on-trend top, that boosts your self-confidence.



TUNES: Download an upbeat playlist. Outsmart the shops blasting “Jingle Bell Rock” by donning your earbuds and listening to songs with a beat faster than your resting heart rate, which is, on average, about 70 beats a minute. Those tunes will keep you moving quickly and efficiently through the stores.

SALES-TECHNOLOGY: Get dibs on discounts. Before you leave the house, download the free apps offered by your favorite retailers or check out their websites for announcements, coupons, and the latest information on sales. Smartphone users can use the no-cost app ScanLife to scan a product’s barcode and find out which local or online establishment has the best price.



SOLO: Head out solo. Unconsciously, people tend to mimic one another. That means if your girlfriend stocks up at the kitchen-supply store, you’re more likely to do so. So just say no to a shopping companion today.

CASH-BIG BILLS: Stop at the bank… Curb impulse buys by leaving your credit cards at home. Shopping with cash cuts your overall outlay by 23%. Avoid the ATM and go to a teller so you can request larger bills, such as 50s or 100s. You will be less likely to break them on unnecessary purchases

CHEAP STUFF FIRST-IN AND OUT: Buy less expensive stuff first. And here’s why: Once you shell out for something costly, your brain loses perspective on what’s a good price. We fret more about whether to buy the first item we purchase during a trip than we do subsequent ones. Get in, get out. The longer you listen to a sales pitch, the more likely you are to hand over the cash
What about shopping on line? That’s something so many of us are doing nowadays. Does it help us spend less or entice us to spend more?

SHOPPING ON LINE

  • DISCOUNT CODES
  • LIVE CHAT
  • BIG ITEMS

DISCOUNT CODES: These are actually all good reasons to shop online, but if you decide to do that, here’s another tip. Be a little sneaky. “Just as you’re about to finalize an online purchase, cancel the order”. “If you’ve previously shopped the site, the merchant should have your email address, and you may get a message within minutes touting a discount code.”

LIVE CHAT: Or contact a site’s live-chat associate and ask for a discount. This simple action could save you about 15%.

BIG ITEMS: December 21 to 24 
in particular is the time to scoop up big-ticket items, like televisions, furniture, and fine jewelry. As Christmas nears, merchants often discount premium items that haven’t moved. Prices continue to drop as the holiday gets closer, but so will the selection and you’ll be cutting it close on delivery time.

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