|Shopping Momentum and Money Psychology|
Three groups of marketing researchers have a common finding and conclusion: once someone purchases an item, they are far more likely to continue to purchase other items. Shopping leads to more shopping.
This shopping momentum is a two-stage process. Initially a shopper decides whether to purchase the first item, takes time, weighs pros and cons. After this initial deliberation phase, once the shopper has made the decision to buy, significantly less effort is put into evaluating subsequent purchases on the same trip. The initial purchase – actually the anticipation of the purchase – creates a change of the state of mind of the shopper. Both making and spending money triggers the pleasure center of the brain to produce dopamine. This has a singular impact of shifting the state of mind. Once the state of mind is in the “buy” mode, other purchases simply sustain this state of mind.
When I previously practiced Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis, I worked with some executives who had addictions to various substances. One very wealthy shipbuilder described his reliance on cocaine. “I have always chased that initial high. The first time I ever used cocaine, I experienced an incredible rush. Every subsequent use has been less than that experience, but I am always chasing it, hoping to recapture it. It was incredible. It has led me to some very bad decisions and compromises in my life and business.”
Same with shopping. So how to strategize?
Minimize shopper’s momentum with a plan. A list. A conviction not to get swept up by sales, impulsive purchase, and to not stray in any way from the list.
Pause between the pick and the purchase. Since the anticipation of the purchase and acquiring a new bling object releases dopamine to change a state of mind, disrupt the flow of that state with a contemplative pause. Never mind if the “bling” doesn’t have glitter, such as a backpack from REI, it still leads to a greater likelihood of additional purchases. Such as a sleeping bag. And hiking boots. (I know these things).
Monitor your energy. When you become depleted from a task, you succumb more quickly to the urge to respond according to emotion and impulse. Various activities that impose high demands of self-controlling concentration become depleting and have an impact by withdrawing energy from an emotional bank account. Some of the expressions:
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