Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Beating up the Customer

If you are one of those who find Christmas shopping to be a painful experience you may be comforted to know that your discomfort is by design. According to this article by Oliver Burkeman in The New York Times, “evidence suggests that the less comfortable you are during the seasonal shopping spree, the more money you’ll spend.”

“So stores crank up music, repeat the same songs, over and over again, pipe in smells, race shoppers around to far-flung points of purchase and clog their heads with confusing offers. All of which makes it more likely we’ll part more readily with more money.”

It works too. Yesterday I went into Hot Topic in The Mall to pick up a few things for Peanut (she loves the store!). Though the store was playing a familiar Rolling Stones song, it was blaring so loud that I found it to be annoying. That being said, I still made a purchase.

“Music played at high volumes, for example, may be irritating, but researchers from Penn State and the National University of Singapore concluded it was one of several factors that leads to overstimulation and “a momentary loss of self-control, thus enhancing the likelihood of impulse purchase.”

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that online shopping is expected to increase by 12% over last year. Online shopping now makes up 6.3% of all retail sales and continues to increase year after year.

And, according to this story, 16% of those online shoppers are doing their holiday shopping in the bathroom
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