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How Rational Are You While Shopping?

Have you ever wondered, why a supermarket is the way it is? Do you think the products are arranged in a random fashion to make you walk miles within the supermarket before buying your basic needs?

All those arrangements are calculated to make you buy more and pump money back into the market. There is a lot of science behind it.  Human beings make rational choices while they decide to buy their needs, because the resources available to them are not unlimited, but their needs or wants may be unlimited.

This incompatibility of the wants and limited resources make them look out for money that can satisfy all their needs and wants.  As a result, when there is heavy competition for resources, they win their share, which is much limited to pursue all their needs in most of the cases, they become rational in choosing their needs, replacing most of their wants.

This is the basic philosophy in which the markets and economics work; but they are the first to break this rational behavior as well. By flooding the market with innumerable goods, they give the consumers every chance to make irrational decisions, prodding their wants rather than their needs.  As you think, it is not just the television or the web pages you visit, the only places where you are made subjects of various marketing techniques.

If you are dreaming of a particular product, chances are high that the marketing effort is to make an impact on your sleep pattern scientifically. 

As Noam Chomsky explains in one of his interviews, businesses must inform the consumer about their products or services to make rational choices, but today’s businesses are un-informing people in order to make them make irrational choices. 

Or else, why do you need a film actor or actress to sell a fashion brand. What matters is the quality of characteristics of the products and there is no need of a brand ambassador for it. Isn’t it?

Let’s go back to the super market science. There are a lot of manipulations made based on advanced technological methods to monitor consumer behavior. All efforts are made to attract consumers to particular products and at times, they are successful too. 

You normally don’t find any product at the entrance of a super market, let alone are posters and greeters, that offer a warm welcome to the consumers. This is called as the ‘decompression zone’, where consumers prepare themselves for shopping.  As you start stepping into the supermarket, there would be a ‘chill zone’ with DVDs, magazines, which you can spent some time on browsing them.

There are two advantages of the chill zone. One, you may end up making a purchase there and two, it slows your pace, making you stay longer in the super market.  The time you spent inside a super market is called ‘dwell time’ and research has proved that the more the dwell time, the more sales happen. Sales rose by 1.3% when dwell time increased by 1%, says a report.

And then there is a bakery in every super market nowadays, making people eat after shopping, where they may again end up buying more, like frozen edible items. The aroma of these food items would help you locate the bakery and are normally at the exit or midway your shopping venture. 

The checkout counters also promote impulse buying decisions with prominent products kept at eye levels attracting mostly children with chocolates and toys.  The future technology for shoppers would be more fascinating. You may not have to spend hours at the checkout.

Radio Frequency Identification tags can automatically bill your products once you put them in your trolley and your credit card will be charged accordingly.  What is more interesting are these RFID enabled devices fitted on to your trolley would scan all the products in it and would suggest a few, if you miss out any, based on your shopping history or patterns previously. 

If you miss out a razor and walk past it, the device would recommend you buying it as you did previously.

Unquestionably, there is a lot of psychology already in play to make you buy and spend more at every place possible and there is more to come. When you travel, relax, jog, and more importantly when you are online, you are monitored for what you do, to influence your buying decisions.  Thus it is not just your rationality that finds you spending more while shopping than what you planned, but there is more to it; and expect more to come.

Image Source: Pixabay

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