How to run a sale

Further, it might well be the case that the risk involved e. Roselius might cause consumers to feel anxiety at the prospect of purchasing any high-priced item, even if the price is perceived to be a fair one. This might make the purchase of a high-priced item a situation where the consumer will be particularly responsive to the good feelings resulting from a perceived discount. The efforts which new-car salespeople make to leave their customers with a feeling of having received a discount may be an indication of the importance of smart-shopper feelings in this situation.

Since it is the negotiation process which helps the skilled salesperson create this impression, it is interesting that it is only the more expensive items which have resisted the one-price policy which is otherwise ubiquitous in American retailing Mason and Mayer , p. As is probably the case with any pleasurable emotion, it may be possible to become psychologically dependent on, or addicted to, smartshopper feelings.

The manifestation of such an addiction would be a certain set of behaviors which are not fully under the control of the consumer and which are dysfunctional to his or her life Faber et al. The particular set of dysfunctional behaviors displayed would result from the consumer's attitudes and beliefs about shopping and saving money. The result is, there could be a number of "shopping disorders" which are at least partially manifestations of a psychological dependence on smart-shopper feelings. One such shopping disorder would be compulsive involvement in the price search and evaluation activities which enable the consumer to find, and feel responsible for, discounts and low prices.

For example, airlines' frequent flyer programs have led some consumers to become "mileage maniacs" who devote an excessive amount of time to activities such as "playing cross-country hopscotch" simply to chalk up extra frequent flyer miles Rose Compulsive buying may be another shopping disorder which is related to an addiction to smartshopper feelings. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, at least sometimes, it is the thrill of getting a bargain which leads the consumer to purchase more than he or she can afford Morris This possibility would fit well with Faber et al.

A third shopping disorder involves the consumer who exhibits behaviors opposite to those of the compulsive spender: the inhibited, or "stingy,' consumer. Such behavior could result from a compulsive necessity to be sure that each prospective purchase is indeed necessary and is in fact at the lowest price available. Since such certainty is rare, this type of consumer will tend to protect his or her smart-shopper feelings by making very few purchases.


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An understanding of the effects of smartshopper feelings is as important as an understanding of their origins for the marketer who is concerned with maximizing the effectiveness of price promotions. Broadly speaking, smart-shopper feelings can affect the consumer decision process in two ways: 1 they can alter the sequence of events in the decision process, and 2 they can affect the evaluation of a single alternative. The sequence of events in the decision process can be strongly affected by word-of-mouth information from other consumers.

Folkes has suggested that consumers who feel proud about the price they pay are more likely than other consumers to brag, and thus spread information about the purchase, and the results of Schindler's b scenario experiment supports this possibility. Price et al. This could be considered a form of word-of-mouth communication between consumers. The anticipation of smart-shopper feelings could also affect the sequence of events in the decision process by causing an item to be considered.

Why I Stopped Extreme Couponing

Many consumers will scan sale advertising and examine every cents-off coupon they receive in search of items they are planning to buy. This procedure is a price search activity which may well lead to smart-shopper feelings, but also may lead consumers to consider items which they otherwise would never have considered.

Causing consideration of an item could have an important influence on the outcome of a decision since consumers may often use the "satisficing" strategy of choosing the first alternative which is satisfactory rather than considering the full range of possibilities.

Whether or not it is a price promotion which -causes an item to be considered, there are at least three mechanisms by which the anticipation of smartshopper feelings for a discounted item may influence the evaluation of this item.

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First, the prospect of these feelings may be considered simply another attribute of the item which is weighed against the values of the item's other attributes in an additive way. Although the attribute of anticipated smart. The second possible mechanism by which smart-shopper feelings may influence product evaluation is the possibility that the anticipation of the benefit of smart-shopper feelings Interacts with the assessment of the other costs and benefits of the item. In particular, the desire for smart-shopper feelings could lead the consumer to alter his or her perception of other attributes in order to "rationalize" the purchase.

Rose's description of one frequent-flyer plan enthusiast appears to provide an example of such rationalization:. Personal-finance author Andrew Tobias - who tells people to shop around for everything from shaving cream to auto insurance - admits he doesn't shop around when it comes to airlines. He says there's more to it than free trips: Sticking with one airline "makes you feel like part of a family," he says. But they make you feel like they really care. A third possible mechanism of the effect of smart-shopper feelings on product evaluation involves the possibility that the price evaluation activities which lead to smart-shopper feelings also have the effect of distracting the consumer from the consideration of other attributes Gardner and Strang If the goal which is salient in the consumer's mind affects the considerations which are evoked, then the goal of being responsible for a price savings is likely to evoke thoughts concerning whether the item is really on sale, whether or not a lower price might not be found elsewhere, etc.

Involvement with these considerations may distract the consumer from considerations which are less closely related to the goal of feeling responsible for a low price, such as whether the benefits of the item will really justify its costs. If smart-shopper feelings do indeed play a major role in the consumer's response to price promotions, then it is important to understand the origins and effects of these feelings.

Understanding of the factors which lead the consumer to feel responsible for a discount and the stimuli which arouse the desire for smart-shopper feelings would help the marketer design programs which maximize the amount of consumer excitement which can be generated by a limited promotional budget.

An understanding of the role of smart-shopper feelings in consumers' lives would help marketers target price promotions to those consumers and to those situations where they are most likely to have an effect. And, a detailed understanding of the mechanisms by which a price promotion may affect the consumer decision process would guide the marketer's decisions concerning the timing of promotions and the choice of products to be discounted.

In addition, these understandings are relevant to public policy and consumer education. An appreciation of the origins of smart-shopper feelings and the situations where they are most likely to have an effect on buying decisions should help the consumer put such feelings into perspective. Each consumer should be prepared to make an informed decision about just what role the excitement of getting a bargain will play in his or her life. Bawa, Kapil and Robert W.

“If only I had a personal shopper!”

Bearden, William O. Lichtenstein, and Jesse E. Bowman, Russell D. Faber, Ronald J.

Feick, Lawrence F. Price, and Audrey G. Folkes, Valerie S. Frijda, Nico H.


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  6. Gardner, Meryl P. Thomas C. Guiles, Melinda G. Hoch, Stephen J. Holbrook, Morris B. Chestnut, Terence A. Oliva, and Eric A. Jensen, Michael, Jr. Kamen, Joseph M. What this all boils down to is the experience. When it comes to consumer loyalty and engagement, a promotion can be an effective attention getter. But it has to satisfy that thrill-of-the-hunt urge in order to leave an imprint. The goal of a coupon should not be to get the shopper to the store once but to get her to plan her return.

    I'm the former President and CEO of LoyaltyOne, where I have been leveraging knowledge gleaned from million customer relationships over 25 years to create relevant. I cover the intersection of retail, loyalty and customer experience. Share to facebook Share to twitter Share to linkedin. Bryan Pearson.

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    6 Reasons Why I Stopped Extreme Couponing

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