A new study finds that the average person can be swayed by the promise of a better shopping experience.
It comes from a study by the Centre for Applied Rationality (CAR) at University College London.
“The general feeling is that we don’t like shopping at all,” says Mark Lehner, professor of psychology at the university.
“But we think of shopping as a very good thing.
So people tend to want to do more shopping.
So the question is: how do we make people like shopping?”
Lehner has conducted experiments with hundreds of people.
One of them, for example, was a former member of the Royal Marines.
He and a friend had both seen a marketing ad that said, “There’s a new product for you.
Here’s how you can get it for a fraction of the cost.”
“We wanted to see if we could get the general feeling that people were being swayed by that,” Lehner says.
The answer was clear: the more people talked about the product, the more they liked it.
This simple trick of persuasion also happens to be a very powerful way of getting people to spend money.
“In the end, what we found is that people can be persuaded by a simple thing like that,” says Lehner.
So what’s a shopping trip worth?
“I think the average shopping trip for me is about $200.
I think that’s about $100 a month,” says Rebecca Breslow, the study’s lead author.
Breslow has spent the last eight years working as a shopping expert.
She and her co-author, David Lewis, both have Masters degrees in psychology, and worked as psychologists in the US and Europe before they started CAR.
They used a lot of different shopping sites, ranging from eBay to Amazon, to find out what people liked and what didn’t.
When they asked participants to spend $100, for instance, they were asked what they thought the most valuable part of a shopping visit was.
At the end of the study, Breslo and Lewis were able to calculate the average cost of each item.
That’s what they wanted to know: the price someone could pay for a shopping experience, not how much they spent.
The results were startling.
On average, people spent a total of $150 for a trip to a store, including the time spent on the trip, and $300 for a store visit.
How can we persuade people to shop?
There’s only one way to get people to pay more for a particular experience: give them a reward for doing so.
“If you’re offering a reward, it can make people feel good, and that’s how we think shopping works,” Breslows says.
“So we’re trying to convince people that when you say to them, ‘You’ve been shopping for three days and you got to buy something, here’s your reward,’ that you’re giving them something in return.”
In other words, the rewards don’t just have to be positive, but they also have to make people happy.
In a study conducted by Bresslo and her colleagues, they used online surveys to find people’s most commonly offered rewards.
A reward for going to a grocery store was a large dollar bill, which had to be accompanied by a picture of a smiling person.
Another reward for buying a house was an expensive item, such as a house.
Some people were even offered a $10,000 reward for their participation.
What happens when the reward isn’t enough?
When people are offered something they don’t want, such a reward doesn’t seem like a big enough incentive.
But Bresles says that if the reward is too small, people may find it difficult to resist.
She says people tend not to take a big incentive reward, because they’re concerned it will be too small.
For instance, in one of the studies, participants were asked to pay for something they didn’t want to pay with cash, like a car.
Instead, they received a $20 gift card for an airline ticket.
After three days, most people said they would pay more with a credit card.
Then Bresle and Lewis looked at how people responded to a similar situation with a reward that wasn’t enough.
There were two possibilities.
First, they could have asked people to choose between a card with a lower interest rate, or one with higher interest rates.
Second, they can have people spend the $20 and then, later, give them $10 more.
Participants were also asked to decide whether the reward would be enough to keep them going, or to get them to cancel their participation and pay the $10 cash.
Both options worked.
People felt they would have to cancel the reward because they were so motivated.
But, they also said they wouldn’t have been willing to pay the money.