The psychology of shopping and how the lies we tell ourselves convince us to buy things, even when we can't afford them or they aren't the best choices. Take a look at a few of these rationalizations that cost us big.
Shopping is one of our nation's favorite pastimes and for many of us, it's also our biggest downfall. I think that almost everyone has made some mistakes with money, from spending too much at the grocery store to maxing out the “just for emergencies” credit card.
When you work in retail sales, understanding the psychology of shopping is a key way to increase your sales. When you understand the common rationalizations that we all fall for, over and over, you can use them to increase your revenue. As a bonus, you can even learn from them and avoid making the same mistakes yourself.
When it comes to these sorts of rationalizations and lies that we tell ourselves, we tend to be quick to cast blame, on ourselves and on others. The truth is that the question isn't who's fault it is. Is it pushy sales people? Is it the materialist society? Is it just plain lack of financial skills, or is it a sign of a deep-seated irresponsibility?
The question is, what sort of lies to we tell ourselves in order to make undermining our own financial security okay? Because, that is truly what it is. Even the most responsible people can fall into this trap very easily.
In order to understand how it happens, lets take a look at 5 lies and rationalizations, that cost us a lot of money:
- Sticking with the status quo – This is all about doing what feels familiar. Believe it or not, it is one of the main reasons that people end up hurting themselves financially. Basically, this belief works like this: We keep picking the same things that we chose before, even when we know that there are better options available. This one applies to almost every area of life. It is why people shop at the same store over and over, even when they could get a better deal somewhere else.
- Rationalization after a purchase – This one happens to me a lot. It's so sneaky, I don't even notice it until I really think about it. The rationalization works like this: After we buy something and realize that it isn't right, we give ourselves lots of reasons why it is actually right. It seems silly when you read it, but the truth is that none of us enjoy being wrong. This is so prevalent, in fact, that it is one of the main reasons that products that are marketed with a money back guarantee have a very small percentage of returns. Once we buy it, we will convince ourselves that it is right, even when we know better.
- It's looks familiar – This little lie is the cornerstone of the advertising industry. When choosing a product to buy, we naturally gravitate toward the brands that we feel we know something about. It doesn't matter if all we know about them comes from commercials and product placement. Often we buy things whose brand we recognize, even when it isn't the best option. Remember that every time you do this, the advertisers win.
- It's Free! - Trust me when I tell you that there is very little you can get that is actually free. For some reason the word “Free” has a tremendous amount of sway over our choices. Many times people will take a deal that works out to be pretty bad, just because it was advertised as “Free.”
- Thinking we have more restraint that we actually do – This one is a particular weakness of mine. I think that I have much more self control than I actually do. No matter how well intentioned I am, if I go into a store with money or a credit card in my pocket, you can almost bet that I will come out having bought something. The more money I take into the store, the less I come out with. Getting a credit card “just for emergencies”, but keeping it in you wallet is a great example of this lie in action. If your “emergency” credit card is easy to reach, it will be even easier to come up with some justification for using it – just this once.
These lies and biases are at the root of why we make the financial mistakes that we do. By understanding them and how they work in our lives, we can make better choices with our money. If that's not enough, when you understand why people buy the things they do, you can sell almost anything more effectively.
What lies and biases do you think have the biggest impact on your financial health? Have you ever used these tactics to increase your sales? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for RetailGigsBlog. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.