Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Psychology of Shopping

When you're out shopping, you need to be aware of how stores prey on you.  There is an entire psychology to shopping and advertising.

Push Early and Often

Wanna know why every store out there already has Christmas items on the shelves? Do ya? Because they are trying to get in your head. Christmas is pushed out at you early and often so that you freak out about it, you start buying early, you forget what you've already got and buy more.... or you trick yourself in to overspending. Why would they want you to wait for the holiday offers, if you go on and buy it early at full price?

Up the Prices Before a Sale

This happens all the time and is something you'll see more often at mass merchandisers. Get a new _______ for only $9.99!!!!!!!!!!!!!! On sale from $12.99!!!! Problem is, that item was $9.99 to begin with.  The price was bumped up for a few weeks and now it's bumping back down to the original price, but people snatch them up, thinking what a great deal it is! Not cool, but it happens.  Anyone that buys the item at $12.99 is just an added bonus.

One Item on Sale

This one makes me the maddest. Get a new super awesome vacuum only at Lowes for $89!! Normally priced $140! In the mad rush to get to Lowes (or whatever store it is) people lose their minds- only to get there and discover there was only ONE item in stock.  However, wouldn't you like to check out our other merchandise, now that you are here? It's a very hateful way to do business, but they are only required to have 1 of the sale items in stock to put it in their advertising. This comes out A LOT on Black Friday. In fact, at Sears one year if you had a magnifying glass and could have read the tiny little print in the midst of all the ads, you'd have seen that they advertised items not even all the stores carried! But hey, while you're here, might as well take advantage of our other deals... right?

Empty Shelves

Empty Shelves are a great way to force people to buy things they aren't sure about. After all, if there are only a few items left, it must be a great gift and a great deal! And if you wait to buy it, it might SELL OUT COMPLETELY and you've missed out! OH NO, better take two, just in case. This is something stores know and they often contrive to have empty shelves, or just a few items of something in stock at a time- especially if they aren't sure how it's going to sell.

Imposing Limits

Have you seen a not-so-great deal and then seen something like "limit 5 per customer"?  I often see these and think "Who would want one at that price, much less 5?"   Like the Empty Shelves tactic, this creates an urgency in a consumer's mind.  If they have to limit how many you can get at that price, it must be a great deal! Better buy the limit!

Hot New Toy List!!

Anyone remember Tickle Me Elmo? Folks buying them for thousands of dollars on Ebay, riots at stores, losing any sanity they still had at Christmas time... What about Furbys? Beanie Babies? Holiday Barbies?

It's the Hot New Toy List! Here are the Top 10 toys you must buy this Christmas to be a good parent, to make sure your child can keep up with the Jones' child. Rush right out there and buy it, no matter what! If you aren't sure what to get your kid, this will tell you. Can't afford it now? By all means, put it on a credit card, because this just won't be Christmas without all 10 toys under the tree.

It's all a ploy. You get people geared up and ready to fight for something they perceive their child wants and needs, when I'm sure 90% of the kids don't even want these items. Who decides this list anyway? Toy companies, Credit Card companies, Merchandisers? I know as a kid, most of the items on the Top Ten List I had never even seen or heard of it.

So be smart when you shop! Buy what you want, when you want it and don't let the holiday ploys trick you in to spending too much on junk you didn't want to begin with!



  1. Very good post! I need to start considering what to give everyone for gifts. I've just started making little crafts, not good enough at it to give it to someone so I'll have to spend money. >.<

    What I like to do is make a list of everyone I need to buy for and then make a final decision of what to buy BEFORE I get to the store. It's also a good idea to put a spending limit on each gift.

  2. Very good points April! Having a budget helps so much!

  3. your psychology education is shining through in this post! love it!