Please, Soothe Me?

People often like to enjoy their shopping experiences, or at least, not despair too much over it (Otnes & McGrath, 2001). Despite common misconceptions, this applies to both males and females (Arnold & Reynards, 2003). In fact, some people use shopping as stress and sadness relieve (Arnold & Reynards, 2003; Tauber, 1972). With the existence of so much choice, people are further likely to choose a store, physical or digital, they feel could leave them in good state of mind, whether it is through assuming that the products will work for a long time, being able to secure a bargain or less like to have to be stuck in a crowd and getting infuriated, etc. (Arnold & Reynards, 2003; Darke & Dahl, 2003; Machleit & Mantel, 2001; Schwartz, 2004; Tsiotsou, 2006). Thus, how consumers feel and expect to feel are important elements to success.

Some people get to choose what tastes good, not just what is practical for running a human body (Wansick & Westgren, 2003). Yes, I am including restaurants

Still, with purchasing comes the parting of money and, for a lot of people, supplies of money is limited (Aruoba, Waller, Wright, 2011; Cribbs, Joyce & Phillip, 2012; Sun & Morwitz, 2010). Thus, products may have to be seen as value for money to be sold (Grewal, Krishnan, Baker & Borin, 1998). However, with so much choice, consumers may run the risk of assuming there is a better choice out there they have not found yet (Iyengar & Lepper, 2000). As a result, there comes more possible guilt from shopping (Machleit & Eroglu, 2000) and people usually prefer not to feel guilty (Hetts, Boninger, Armor, Gleicher & Nathanson, 2000). Similarly, there is little guilt leading up to impulsive purchases where consumer consider alternatives less (Spears, 2006). Even then, regret after impulse purchases can exist (Spears, 2006).

Something to consider, though findings on the too-much-choice effect have been varied (Scheibehenne, Greifeneder & Todd, 2009)

So consumers prefer to feel good, while there are aspects in the shopping experience that can create guilty feelings. However, this guilt can be reduced (Lee-Wingate & Corfman, 2010) and in a number of ways including:

Possibly tasty and good for the heart

  • Allow returns – giving consumers the opportunity to reverse transactions can be more profitable for the company (Che, 1996). This leeway can reduce hesitancy and encourages consumers to experience the product more, without having to permanently live with some possible bad decisions through loss of money and guilt (Che, 1996). Hence, consumers may allow themselves to purchase products more often.
  • Flat rates – people generally feel more guilty when the cost of pay-as-you-go bills rise over time, like taxi meters (Lambrecht & Skiera, 2006). In additional, people usually overestimate their usage, hence, people often feel flat rates as more of a bargain (Lambrecht & Skiera, 2006). Therefore, flat rates provide consumers a sense that the rates will protect them from overspending, meaning that paying flat rates feels better than what may be in reality cheaper pay-as-you-go rates (Lambrecht & Skiera, 2006). Have you tried comparing different types of bills with your actual usage in mind recently?

A Kit Kat tapped on a packet of cheese and onion flavoured Walkers chips

So providing consumers with more reasons to buy a product, the option of flat rates and the ability to return products can reduce guilty feelings. Have you been a guilt-free consumer?

Copyright © 2013 Thoughts for Creation


One comment

  1. I agree with the idea that people use shopping as a relieve for stress, sadness or any negative emotion. But, in my opinion, the shopping process might also cause also stress or bad feelings indeed. Let make an example: you want to buy a pair of shoes. You go to the shopping street and after an hour and a half you cannot find them. You just check the last shop and finally you find them. But what a surprise when you ask for your size and you find there is no availability! That would not probably annoy a person who enjoys shopping as a process. However, if somebody considers shopping as the way to reach a purpose instead of a process itself, I’m sure not succeeding on a shopping expedition would not cause that many positive emotions.

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