Shopping On A Whim Leads To Marketing Vulnerability

It’s amazing how sometimes one can just walk into a mall without a “plan of action,” and leave, bags-full. Until this year, I rarely succumbed to the marketing tactics of retailers, but the more I learn about what’s actually happening behind-the-scenes (i.e. marketing mixconsumer behavior, product management and pricing, marketing communications, etc.), the more I find myself falling into the “trap.” You’d think doing well in those courses would make one a smarter consumer – ha! After all, they do say that application is harder than theory… (I kid!) But I mean – who could resist the “30% off regular price – additional 50% off last ticketed price” displays??

Personally, I think it’s partially a play on values and the way it is communicated; affecting one’s perceptions (or beliefs and attitudes), which in turn affect their behavior. “This is significantly cheaper than the regular price; therefore, I should buy it.” (A>B>A>B model) Not to mention the amount of items that  just so happened to be “On Sale” near the cashier, convenient for everyone standing in the long line-ups (POP marketing!), or the big red signs plastered from every entrance to the store…

Two Fridays ago, I found myself rummaging through a rack of such “oh-my-goodness-it-would-be-a-loss-not-to-purchase” items and as guilty as I felt, I seemed to justify everything I bought…it was ridiculously priced and I even tried on a few things in the change rooms (yay for generating trial). Although, most of what I bought is still sitting in my drawer untouched…

It’s funny I actually succumbed to this “SALE,” because, initially, I felt a little awkward looking through the “Clearance” section with everyone else – it’s not something I usually do. This may have just been a personal preference or, perhaps, a subconscious stereotype about those who regularly shop at sales and the mentality to prevent one’s associate with this group. BUT that just makes me sound like I’m a high-strung individual, which I am not! Hm… (I will not dive into a paper on how society influences one’s values at various stages of their life…right now…) In fact, one justification would be to change one’s attitude: “Clearance items are not ‘cheap’ items, per say, it’s just the end of season and time for the retailer to push out its new stock.” Yet…”this is what was leftover…” – But that would just be contradicting yourself and presumably that’s where your mind debates. (OK – humans do this pretty quickly. It’s not a life or death decision to look at clothing.)

I’ll end with this. There are different types of consumers. One way to group them is this: 1) those who are known to be at all the sales and don’t care what other people think of them, as long as they achieve what they want, 2) those who wish they were the former, but wouldn’t dare to act like the type (as if they have some “image” to uphold), 3) those who simply spend their money frivolously, 4) those who shop at convenience – sale or not… Which do you fall into?

Thanks for listening to my marketing randomness from shopping – in less than 500 words! “You know you’re a nerd when…”


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