Consumer Behavior Shopping Habits

Consumer Behavior

Situational Influences and Shopping Habits

a. Overview

Studies find that it’s part of our psychological makeup to do the same things over and over again. Essentially humans are pretty predictable, and stores take advantage of that to get us to buy more.

i. If a shopper touches or picks up the merchandise they are more likely to buy it. (that’s why certain items are in easy reach).

c. The 5 Types of Shoppers.

The Way You Shop Can Influence How Much You Spend. If you’ve ever come home after shopping and wondered, “why in the world did I buy that?” the answer might have to do with your shopping personality type.

  • 1. The Touchy-Feely Shopper—a shopper that picks something up and then usually purchases it.
  • 2. The Mall Lingerer –these shoppers take their time going through a store.
  • 3. Guerrilla Shopper–the opposite of the mall lingerer. This person waits until the last minute, especially around the holiday season, and then runs around frantically, trying to get all the shopping done in one shot.
  • 4. The Sales Junkie–these people are subjected to a spillover effect. If they see one bargain, they think everything in the store is a bargain, making them apt to spend more money. For instance, some dollar-store items (like peroxide, tomato sauce and Gatorade) are sometimes cheaper at supermarkets/discount stores. Warehouse stores like Costco may be a bargain when it comes to batteries and cereals, but less so when it comes to items like digital cameras.
  • 5. The Social Shopper– this type enjoys shopping with friends and almost never shops alone, they tend to make a lot of impulsive purchases.

d. Six motivation-based shopping orientations of college students

i. Chameleons: shopping styles are situation-specific or constantly changing. Their shopping approach is based on product type, shopping impetus, and purchase task.

ii. Collectors/Gathers: stockpile items and to purchase large quantities to either save money or alleviate the need for shopping. They attempt to get the best price and take advantage of retailer guarantees.

iii. Foragers: motivated to purchase only the desired items. They are willing to search extensively and have little store loyalty. They like to shop alone.

iv. Hibernants: are indifferent toward shopping. There shopping patterns are opportunistic rather than need driven and they will often postpone even required purchases.

v. Predators: speed oriented in their shopping. They plan before shopping and like to shop alone. They don’t enjoy shopping and tend to shop outlets where they are assured of getting the items they need quickly.

vi. Scavengers: enjoy shopping both to make purchases and as an activity. They like to go to sales and consider shopping to be entertainment. They make numerous unplanned purchases.

e. Impulse Purchasing vs. Unplanned Shopping

i. All consumers are confronted with unplanned and impulsive shopping decisions, and there is a difference between making an impulsive product choice and an unplanned one.

ii. A consumer may make an unplanned purchase because something in the store, such as a point of purchase display, triggers a reminder that they need something. Unplanned purchases are usually made because of a need.

iii. An impulsive purchase is made spontaneously and usually without regard to costs or negative consequences. They are usually motivated by the need for immediate self-gratification.

iv. How do retailers encourage consumers to make impulse purchases?

  • 1. Placing certain products together in the store—such as putting the peanut butter next to the bread—will help consumers remember how well those product go together.
  • 2. Add-on purchases. Employees can ask consumers to purchase an umbrella to go with their new raincoat, or socks to go with their new shoes.
  • 3. Make the consumer feel good. Give the customer personal attention, a “special” deal or free products can create positive feelings.
  • 4. Make it easy for the customer to buy. Give the customer less time to think about the purchase with things like automatic one-click buying on a website.
  • 5. Promotional sales and discounts. Buy one get one free offers, or buy 2 for $5.00, causes the consumer to think the products are on sale, when they may not be, and lowers their ability to think about the consequences.

ii. The more time you spend in a store, the more you buy; 30-40 minutes = average $72.00, but 3 hours or more = average $200.

iii. Stores are designed to keep you there for hours on end so you’ll buy more! If customers can see over the shelves, they will spend more time in the store because they can see the available merchandise. Also, notice how you have to walk through the store to get to the escalator, the sale items, and the bathrooms?

iv. You will overspend if you wait until the last minute and make one big trip to the store.

v. Shop once a week = 66% chance of making an impulse buy; Shop 3 or more times a week = 57% chance of making an impulse buy.

vi. You will be more likely to make an impulse buy when shopping with another person, the more people you shop with, the more likely you are to splurge.

b. Research Discoveries.

Here are some other shopping habits that Paco Underhill (author of The Science of Shopping) uncovered through his research:

i. The higher the “interception rate” (contacts with employees), the higher the chance of purchase.

ii. Placement of key merchandise in a “transition zone” near the door — but not too near — is advised.

iii. The “boomerang rate” (the percentage of shoppers who failed to walk down the full aisle), determines the “capture rate” (the percentage of customers who actually “see” a given product on the shelf)

iv. What Shoppers Like

  • 1. Touching the product
  • 2. Mirrors
  • 3. Discovering Bargains
  • 4. Talking to employees
  • 5. Recognition by employees

v. What Shoppers Do Not Like

  • 1. Too Many Mirrors
  • 2. Long Lines
  • 3. (Being Forced to ask) Dumb Questions
  • 4. Merchandise out of stock
  • 5. Obscure Price Tags
  • 6. Intimidating Service
  • 7. Crowded stores and aisles

Published by

Tim Friesner

Marketing Teacher designs and delivers online marketing courses, training and resources for marketing learners, teachers and professionals.