Why Do Sales Make Us Irrational Shoppers?
Did I make you want to got out and purchase what I am selling? Well…..Did I?
Being in marketing, I understand that if you want to get something to sell, you need to discount it or at least perceive that you are providing a discount. Oops, I said it. Not all sales are actually discounted prices or true sales. I might be thrown out of a few marketing associations, but hopefully people knew that. Did you know that?
Well, after thinking about it a little more, I don’t think a lot of people actually know about this practice. So, why do you think sales make us irrational?
Not that my opinion really matters, but here is my take on why we become irrational when it comes to a sale. Sales are typically either a percentage off or a dollar amount off. They also usually have an expiration date. When we see that we can save money on a purchase that we might have made and then see that the savings has an expiration date, we tend to throw rational thoughts out the window.
If you were doing regular shopping, then you might think if the purchase is necessary, see if there is an alternative, find coupons, or do some comparison shopping. We take our time with the purchase, especially if it is a large purchase. I did all of these when I made my couch purchase. I wasn’t in a hurry when picking out a couch, so I took my time to make a rational decision for our needs.
One example of when we throw common sense out the window is when the “Buy X amount and get X” sales come about. When I ran my ecommerce business, I would do a few tests to see which sales would work the best and how people would react. I love analytics and following how people respond, so that was fun for me.
When I would place up a “Spend $100, Get 10% Off” sale alongside a “Spend $100 and Get Free Shipping” sale, I would see some crazy results. People were allowed to choose which sale they wanted to use for their purchase. 7 times out of 10, people would select the “Spend $100 and Get Free Shipping” sale. The funny thing was that if they looked, they would save more money with the 10% off sale because ground shipping only cost $5.99!
This just shows how people perceive sales. People love free shipping and many won’t do the calculation to find out which sale is technically better. Instead of using common sense, they have thrown it out of the window and went with the sale that pleased them more. They perceive a better value with regards to free shipping. Why do we do this?
I think we stop being rational when we have deadlines and we think we are saving money. We all want to save money, but we fail to do the appropriate research to see which deal is best and which one saves us the most. We turn completely into emotional buyers and a sale just makes us feel better for spending the money. We probably planned to make that purchase anyway, but now we have the extra push to pull the trigger.
The purpose of this post was not to make you think that everyone is irrational when it comes to sales. I don’t think that is the case, but I do think we forget about rationale and make the purchase decision based off of a perceived sale. I really want to hear what you think about this. Do you think we become irrational around sales? I mean, if you have shopped during Black Friday, then you know what I mean.
Let me hear from you. I want to hear your opinion on this. Why do sales make us irrational shoppers?
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