The Science and Psychology of Shopping
The shops eagerly wait for this day, as many of them make a profit in that fiscal year, thanks to the sell during Black Friday. It has been discovered that some of the retailers make 40 percent of their total annual sale during this day. The National Retail Federation has predicted that tomorrow, about $447.1 billion will be made from the sells, which would mean that the sales would be increased with 2.3 percent. Of course, not everyone is interested in the Black Friday, but it seems that this day attracts us for whatever reasons, the psychologists have stated. You see, Black Friday is for a single day, as its name suggests, but since there are so many people in the stores, you will not be able to find too much after a certain number of hours.
It seems that the Black Friday can influence the people who do not like to spend too much money, and the reason for that is the fact that most of the items they purchase will be offered as gifts. Scott Rick, who is a marketing professor at the University of Michigan, stated that there are two different kinds of shoppers: the “spendthrifts”, who spend as much money as they can without gaining any pleasure from the items, and the activity, and the “tightwads”, who enjoy the items and the activity, but who do not like to spend too much money on them. In most of the cases, the difference between these two types of shoppers is very big, but the situation changes during the holidays, or during certain events, such as the Black Friday. He stated that the main reason for that is the fact that they enjoy offering the products which they buy as gifts and that when they do that, they no longer care about the fact that they have spent a certain amount of money on them.
This makes people realize that they have a very small amount of time during which they need to act, and as a result they buy as much items as they can; items which they do not need in most of the cases. The experts have stated that as long as these days are not too frequent, people will react in this manner. You might have wondered why a store doesn’t offer more of these discounts, for example one every month? Well, because people would not buy that much then, as they would know that they will get the opportunity to do it the following month. Waiting a year to do it, is much longer. Kenneth Manning, who is a professor of marketing at Colorado State University, stated that in most of the cases, the decision which these people make is emotional, as they do not buy things because they need them, but because they feel pressure from it. The so-called hyper-consumerism has become more and more popular in the past period of time; and it is characterized by the fact that people buy certain things just for pleasure. Of course, the two are different, but are somewhat similar in the same time.
The stores depend on the shoppers, and as a result they make as many deals as they can during the Black Friday. During the Black Friday, the stores open at midnight, and as you enter you will be treated with friendliness. Everything will seem perfect: you will smell backed cookies; you will see all those shiny things, which is all a strategy. The reality is that during other days, the situation is different. During the Black Friday, people feel that they are appreciated, that the stores tried to satisfy them, even if in reality the situation might be different. Walmart stated that the prices of Black Friday will continue on Saturday and Sunday as well. The company has also created Cyber Monday, which is similar to Black Friday, only that the discounts are applied to the online shopping.
Gad Saad, who is a professor of marketing at Concordia University in Montreal, stated that in most of the cases, when people think of shopping, they think of hunting, and of gathering for food. He has reached to the conclusion that shopping can really influence ones emotions. For example a man who drives a very expensive car will feel more confident than if he would drive a cheaper car. Clothes, and many other accessories can have this effect on people as well, and the reality is that they had it since hundreds of years ago. The dandies have influenced entire societies through their clothes, and even if the comparison is far fetched, you have to admit that you will have more respect for one if he wears elegant clothes than for one who wears old and dirty clothes. Saad said that shopping might be triggered by our emotional instincts, as we might think to the period when our ancestors where hunting and were gathering food.
As I mentioned, one of the reasons why people gather to the Black Friday is because they know that the period is limited. That is just one of the tricks of the stores, but they have other Aces in their sleeves as well. They offer numerous giveaways, and free items, and that might make you believe that you have earned something very important, when in reality you did not. Lisa Cavanaugh, who is a consumer psychologist at the University of Southern California, said that another thing which is very important regarding Black Friday is the fact that it is just after Thanksgiving Day, which is a holiday. People make the connection with it, and that makes them wanting to shop more. Cavanaugh said that the stores have tried numerous tricks in order to keep people in the store.
They play certain music, and in most of the cases it has a very slow tempo. This will make the people more relaxed, and they will take their time shopping. It has been discovered that people shop based on the emotions they feel. One of the worst things you could do is go shopping when you are hungry. Because of the hunger, it is very likely that you will buy lots of food, which of course, would not be too much of a deal if the food would be healthy, but you would most likely buy only junk food. The psychologists have discovered that it is a bad idea to go shopping when you are sad as well, because if you do, you might purchase many things that you do not really want or need. It has been discovered that when we are sad, we are willing to pay more money for a certain product. It seems that the people who are focused on themselves are willing to spend more as well, and when they are sad and self-centered, that is a very complicated situation. They will spend money both to be happier, and to have a higher self-esteem, which will not happen.
For example when they feel proud, they will buy clothes, watches, shoes, and so on. People will buy more when they are happy. Peter Darke, who is a marketing professor at the York University in Toronto, made an experiment. He gave certain students a $10 bill, and he asked them to buy something from the university shop. He told some of them that they could keep the change, and he told some that he needed the change back. The ones, who had to give the change back, were awarded with 50 percent discounts, and the surprising fact was that they were just as happy as the ones who got to keep the change, even if they did not gain anything. Darke said that they came back smiling, telling him that they got a 50 percent deal, and he said that the students reacted in this manner, because they believed that they were treated better.
Some of them might even believe that they received the discount because they were great shoppers, but that wasn’t the case. However, Darke said that in many of the cases, people stay away from the discounted items, especially when they do not know the reason why they are being discounted. He did another experiment where he showed the students a pair of headphones. There were some students who knew that the previous price for the headphones was $60, and that it is now $40. Some of them only saw the $60 price, whereas some only saw the $40 price. He noticed that the people who knew both of the prices were more eager to buy them, as they knew that they benefited from it. Cynthia Jasper, who is a professor of consumer science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, stated that another reason why people buy during Black Friday, is because they do not want to wait for another deal, as shopping might be too exhausting. It seems that the stores will be opened for an increase amount of time during this year, and the reason for that is the fact that they did not have very big sales during the year.
Cavanaugh said that this is a strategy as well, as when people realize that there might be a couple of hours until the shop is closed, they will be willing to buy more items. The reality is that knowing how to trick the customers into buying is a real skill. It has been discovered that the majority of people from the United States of America, shop from right to left, when they are in a supermarket, and in order to take advantage of this, the shop owners always place the fresher products at the right of the store. By seeing them, people will make a comparison between the fresh products and the prestige of the store. Another way through which people are tricked into buying certain things is in the price. Most of the items are sold at .99. For example an Xbox 360 will be $199.99. That means that it is $200, but our brain is confused, and as a result you will lie to yourself, saying that you bought it for 100 dollars and something. We are pretty bad at math, and as a result the shop owners can benefit from this. We buy many of the products because we believe that they are a bargain.
For example a very powerful tool through which the stores or the retailers can make you buy certain things, is through making you believe that the products are discounted when they are actually not. Some even spread rumors prior to the release of the product, and when we see that it actually costs less money than it was rumored, we might be more willing to buy it. The lack of math skills makes us take stupid decisions, such as to be willing to pay in mortgages. By the time we will be finished with the mortgage, we will have paid more money than the original price. However, the fact that we have to pay a small amount of money each month, made us believe that the deal is good. Another way through which we are tricked into buying certain things is brand association. The truth is that we like to shop based on the brand, even if the quality of the product is not good. This is why we pay $100 dollars for a bottle of wine, even if it might taste as a $30 one. We make the association between the brands and the quality of the products and in many of the cases, the association is not well founded.11