Buying decisions are a lot of times not rational at all. Do we only satisfy our needs?

Main Reaction - The TFL Blog | September 2019

Why do we buy the things we buy?

70% of all purchase decisions in the supermarket are spontaneous. This is due partly to our own impulsiveness but also the result of the work of marketing and sales experts who use their findings to design shops accordingly.

Ever came back home with your shopping bag a lot fuller than planned? I guess we’ve all made this experience, but what is it that defines our buying habits? Classic economic sciences tell us that it is the rational mind. But looking back at yourself coming home with your shopping back full of things you never meant to buy in the first place, we can agree that our buying decisions are a lot of times not rational at all.

Habits, however, make us less prone to make spontaneous buying decisions or fall for special offers. Once we’ve found a kind of cheese we like, we usually stick to it. Also, it has been found out, that even though a big variety of a product catches our attention, the big choice overwhelms us, thus we tend to buy nothing at all.

“People are actually not interested in buying a 4 mm drill. They want a 4 mm hole.”

This contradicts classic economics that tell us that only the usefulness of a product matters. However, it is an assured fact that a lot of other categories contribute to our buying decisions. Most of them are related to our social environment. We buy what our friends like or what reminds us of the cosy hours at our grandparents’ house. Emotional associations are far more important than usefulness and lead to irrational decisions.

This even applies to pricing. We refer to supermarket prices to find out the suitable cost of a product. Retail shops respond to this fact by putting an even more expensive product next to an already expensive product. This raises the average prices we find normal for a product of this kind.

Men are still trapped by the old motto “sex sells”. Products containing erotic images or offered by attractive shop assistants are especially popular. Whereas women prefer beautiful packagings and the possibility to touch and compare products. Men tend to find experience-oriented shops unnerving.

Funnily enough we tend to buy 10% more when the shop is designed counterclockwise. Research hasn’t yet found out why but this is the reason the path to the cash desks almost always is directed anticlockwise.

Realising how irrationally we behave when buying can be quite disillusioning. However, these facts make it quite plain to see that we need to address our customers’ needs and respond to them in an empathic way to convince them that our product best fulfils their needs – rational and emotional. Or as Theoder Levitt, an influential economics professor, once said: “People are actually not interested in buying a 4 mm drill. They want a 4 mm hole.”

Manuela, Switzerland

Blogger from passion
#astrologer #inlovewithleather
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