Motivation and emotion/Book/2021/Emotional buying

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Emotional buying
What drives consumers to make emotional purchases and how to avoid it?

Overview[edit | edit source]

- Emotional Buying is when consumers make purchases based on emotional ideals. Emotional buying and impulse buying are similar and are, in most cases, interchangeable.

- It is a problem to the individuals who take part in it due to financial issues that can last years (Jung, 2017).

- On average, around 16% of purchases were impulse or emotional purchases (Mohan et al., 2013)

- Will focus on three areas. These being:

Focus questions
  • Why do people make emotional purchases?
  • What do companies and marketers use to promote emotional buying?
  • Are there any strategies consumers can use to reduce emotional purchasing?

What Causes Consumers to Make Emotional Purchases[edit | edit source]

This section discusses why consumers buy items through emotions, focusing on three big reasons, these being materialism, shop for identity, and mood improvement, (Donnelly et al., 2013).

Materialism[edit | edit source]

Within the brain, a fight between short-term emotional factors (materialistic mindset) and long-term rational factors (desires of long-term concerns) (Hoch & Loewenstein, 1991). People who compulsive buy more tend to have weaker rational reasoning in relation to money.

Identity[edit | edit source]

People tend to emotional buy when faced with building an identity or self-worth goal. However, if impulse buyers looking for identity face money issues, they tend to not purchase anything compared to people looking at materialistic values (Hoch & Loewenstein, 1991).

Figure 1: How moods fluctuate and influence consumer buying

Mood Improvement[edit | edit source]

A study by Faber and Christenson (1996) found that mood (Figure 1) is a contributing factor of [awkward expression?] what drives emotional and impulsive shoppers. Most compulsive buyers tend to go to malls and shopping centres based on negative feelings.

Table 1.

Frequency of Experiencing Different Moods Prior to Deciding to Go Shopping

Impulsive Buyers Comparison Group
Mood Rarely or Never Sometimes or Often Rarely or Never Sometimes or Often z p <
Happy 4.2% 95.8% 8.4% 91.6% 1.41 ns
Sad/Depressed 13.0% 86.9% 87.5% 12.5% 4.97 0.001
Angry 30.4% 69.6% 91.7% 8.3% 4.29 0.001
Irritable 30.4% 69.6% 83.4% 16.6% 3.68 0.001
Excited 12.5% 87.5% 75.0% 25.0% 2.52 0.5
Anxious 21.7% 78.4% 79.2% 20.8% 4.26 0.001
Bored 21.7% 78.4% 62.5% 37.5% 3.61 0.001
Proud 41.6% 58.4% 75.0% 25.0% 3.03 0.005
Hurt 34.8% 65.2% 95.8% 4.2% 4.26 0.001

Table 2.

Difference in Frequency of Experiencing Moods Prior to Versus During Shopping

Impulsive Buyers Comparison Group
Mood More Before No Diff. More After More Before No Diff. More After
Happy 12.50% 50.00% 37.50% 16.70% 70.80% 12.50%
Sad/Depressed 54.20% 45.80% 4.20% 62.50% 2.00% 33.30%
Angry 54.20% 37.50% 8.30% 12.50% 79.20% 8.30%
Irritable 41.70% 50.00% 8.30% 8.30% 62.50% 29.10%
Excited 21.70% 52.20% 26.10% 37.50% 54.20% 8.30%
Anxious 16.70% 66.70% 16.70% 8.30% 70.80% 20.80%
Bored 50.00% 50.00% 0.00% 20.80% 58.30% 20.80%

- Participants were asked if they felt immediate mood changes after they purchase an item. All but one compulsive buyer said yes (95.8%).

- The impulsive buyers tend to feel happier compared to the control group.

- The control group tend to feel either no change or more negative after purchasing.

Company and Marketing Strategies[edit | edit source]

When looking at the marketing side, there are certain strategies that companies implement to suck customers in to make impulse purchases. The section communicates how they work and why people fall for these tactics.

Discounts and Special Offers[edit | edit source]

Signs and displays with tags are designed to pop out and grab the attention to customers. They invoke emotional arousal are usually directed towards compulsive buyers (Gupta, 2013; O'Guinn & Faber, 1989).

Employees[edit | edit source]

Although most people do not notice, employees are another way that companies can influence customers to make emotional purchases. Emotional Labour is when workers express and suppress emotion during work (emotional labour). Although it is not obvious through the definition that it relates to customer purchasing habits, retail can train their employees to express certain emotions based on the what the customer displays.

-       Customers purchase more when an employee expresses deep-level emotion acting compared to surface-level emotional acting (Seger-Guttmann & Medler-Liraz, 2020).

-       The amount of help employees display does not increase items sold. Only emotional acting increases sales.

Online[edit | edit source]

This section looks at what online shopping strategies are applied on consumers. Whether it is done better than instore shopping or exclusive to online shopping.

Consumers are more likely to have planned what they are purchasing when shopping online (Wolfinbarger & Gilly, 2001). Due to this, companies need to find ways to convince customers to purchase more using a couple of strategies.

-       Link to external page about “are you forgetting something” last minute purchases

-       Simple layouts often make the customer purchase more likely to

Other Influences

There are also other ways that stores can manipulate customers.

  • Music within a store can influence customers to stay inside for longer (Beverland et al., 2006; Dubé & Morin, 2001).
  • The layout of the store, keeping the more desirable or common items at the back (Ang et al., 1997; Simonson, 1999)
  • Lighting (Summers & Hebert, 2001) and scent (Chebat & Michon, 2003) also alter how customers behave in-store.

Although evidence is out there proving these methods work, there are not enough information explaining how they influence customers

Avoiding & Controlling Emotional Buying[edit | edit source]

Due to the nature of advertising, it is hard to find solutions to NOT purchase items. However, there are some strategies to help reduce emotional buying.

Two question approach[edit | edit source]

This approach works effectively when you shop alone. When you walk around and find something you like, ask these questions:

-       Do I need this in three months time?

-       Will purchasing this cause any financial difficulties within the next week?

Asking these questions will increase the activity in your both the orbitofrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex, the areas that help with logical decision making. The goal for this strategy is to reduce emotional processing and look at logical processing .

Time When You Shop[edit | edit source]

When planning to shop, look at the following factors.

  • Emotion
  • Alone or with others
    • Friends
    • Family
    • Others
  • Time of day

Each element can change how you perceive shopping promotions and self-regulation (Gupta, 2013; Jung, 2017; O'Guinn & Faber, 1989).

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

- Consumers make emotional purchases because they have weaker rational thinking for their future, want to build an identity, or they want to feel positive through making irrational purchases. - What do companies and marketers use to promote emotional buying?

- Companies use emotional labour, special deals/promotions, music, scent, lighting, and store layout to influence customer decision making

- Two strategies include the two question strategy and planning future shopping based on certain factors.

- Emotional buying can be difficult to stop. Based on personal circumstances, it may be better to look for a psychologist and ask for more professional help.

See also[edit | edit source]

The following pages relate to the current topic of Consumerism and Consumer Purchasing:

References[edit | edit source]

Ang, S. H., Leong, S. M., & Lim, J. (1997). The mediating influence of pleasure and arousal on layout and signage effects: Comparing more and less customized retail services. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 4(1), 13-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/0969-6989(95)00091-7

Beverland, M., Lim, E. A. C., Morrison, M., & Terziovski, M. (2006). In-store music and consumer–brand relationships: Relational transformation following experiences of (mis) fit. Journal of business Research, 59(9), 982-989. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2006.07.001

Chebat, J.-C., & Michon, R. (2003). Impact of ambient odors on mall shoppers' emotions, cognition, and spending: A test of competitive causal theories. Journal of business Research, 56(7), 529-539. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0148-2963(01)00247-8

Donnelly, G., Ksendzova, M., & Howell, R. T. (2013). Sadness, identity, and plastic in over-shopping: The interplay of materialism, poor credit management, and emotional buying motives in predicting compulsive buying. Journal of Economic Psychology, 39(1), 113-125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joep.2013.07.006

Dubé, L., & Morin, S. (2001). Background music pleasure and store evaluation: intensity effects and psychological mechanisms. Journal of business Research, 54(2), 107-113. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0148-2963(99)00092-2

Faber, R. J., & Christenson, G. A. (1996). In the mood to buy: Differences in the mood states experienced by compulsive buyers and other consumers. Psychology & Marketing, 13(8), 803-819. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1520-6793(199612)13:8<803::AID-MAR6>3.0.CO;2-J

Gupta, S. (2013). A literature review of compulsive buying–a marketing perspective. Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 14(1), 43-48.http://www.na-businesspress.com/jabe/guptas_web14_1_.pdf

Hoch, S. J., & Loewenstein, G. F. (1991). Time-inconsistent preferences and consumer self-control. Journal of consumer research, 17(4), 492-507. https://doi.org/10.1086/208573

Jung, J. (2017). Impact of motives on impulsivity and compulsivity in compulsive buying behavior. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, 45(5), 705-718. https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.5885

Mohan, G., Sivakumaran, B., & Sharma, P. (2013). Impact of store environment on impulse buying behavior. European Journal of marketing, 47(10), 1711-1732. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-03-2011-0110

O'Guinn, T. C., & Faber, R. J. (1989). Compulsive buying: A phenomenological exploration. Journal of consumer research, 16(2), 147-157. https://doi.org/10.1086/209204

Seger-Guttmann, T., & Medler-Liraz, H. (2020). Does emotional labor color service actions in customer buying? Journal of Services Marketing. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-10-2019-0421

Simonson, I. (1999). The effect of product assortment on buyer preferences. Journal of Retailing, 75(3), 347-370. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-4359(99)00012-3

Summers, T. A., & Hebert, P. R. (2001). Shedding some light on store atmospherics: influence of illumination on consumer behavior. Journal of business Research, 54(2), 145-150. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0148-2963(99)00082-X

Wolfinbarger, M., & Gilly, M. C. (2001). Shopping online for freedom, control, and fun. California Management Review, 43(2), 34-55. https://doi.org/10.2307/41166074

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