Have you ever wondered why you buy the things you do? Even with basic necessities, there is a reason why you choose certain products over others. Now, it is easy to think that price and quality are the only factors that come into play here.
However, you might be surprised to discover that there are more central influences at work. In particular, your memory, perception, and learning behavior are what really determine what you buy at any given time. Let’s take a look at how this works:
Nostalgia and Its Impact on Your Purchases
Have you walked past a clothing store recently and done a double take? Well, this is probably because many of the clothing items on sale are strongly reminiscent of the 80s and 90s. Considering this was only a decade or two ago, it can seem odd that these styles are making a comeback.
Well, it isn’t just clothes that are embodying this technique. You can find video games, restaurants, beauty products, and even TV shows all redefining a blast from the past. So, why exactly are manufacturers and advertising agencies working so hard to take you back in time?
Well, the simple answer is that nostalgia sells. Numerous studies have shown that people are more likely to buy something if it triggers some sort of memory associated with their childhood. This, in turn, has its own reasons – most people tend to only have positive nostalgia. So, you are more likely to look to your past fondly and remember the good times.
Not to mention, nostalgia often reminds people of simpler times, specifically those years where you had fewer responsibilities to worry about. So, by buying a vintage t-shirt or indulging in a sweet from your past, you are allowing yourself to take a brief reprieve from the present.
Experiences and How They Shape Future Purchases
On a slightly different note, let’s move onto experiences. How do these affect whether or not you may buy a product in the future? If you don’t have any prior knowledge about a particular product or item, you are probably going to seek some help first. This will either be in the form of a buying guide or reading reviews online.
Once you have purchased the item, you can then bank on your experience to determine whether this is something that you will get again. For instance, if you bought a particular product and found that it was of good quality, lived up to its value, and was a source of pleasure, you are going to want to buy it again. This is what is known as a learning process.
Interestingly enough, you aren’t always the person instigating this learning process. There are instances where the retailers and sellers actually nudge you towards it. This is commonly referred to as shaping. One of the easiest ways that sellers do this is by offering you samples of a product you haven’t previously tried before.
After this testing session, they may then encourage you to buy their product by offering you a concession. For example, the seller may provide you with a coupon or discount on your first and second purchases. It is only later on in the buying process that you will actually start to pay the full price. After this, you can be considered a loyal customer.
Perception and Buying
It can be argued that perception is more powerful than reality. There have been many instances where people have managed to convince themselves and others about incredible things, simply because they believed them to be true. To the same effect, influencing your perception can create a similarly significant effect.
When it comes to buying, it can be argued that at any given point, you are actually dealing with two forms of perceptions. The first are the beliefs that you have constructed for yourself. The second is what advertising companies and popular attitudes have created.
These two perceptions can work on your brain either independently or together. Regardless, you can be quite sure that they will end up determining just what products you buy and how much you will spend.
First, let’s consider what your own perceptions will do. All of the work here is done by your brain. More specifically, the nucleus accumbens, mesial prefrontal cortex, and the insula come into play. These are the components involved in analyzing products and determining whether their price is adequate.
The fascinating thing is that although your brain is essentially running calculations to see if a product is worth its price, the final decision is based on emotion. See, there is a reason why so many people get a feeling of euphoria after shopping sales. They are able to convince themselves that they got a good deal and were able to save money.
Now, as you are probably aware, this isn’t always true. Sometimes, you simply perceive that something is a bargain even though it isn’t actually so. Nonetheless, this isn’t what matters – rather than the reality of the situation, your perception is what is most important.
What’s left to discuss is how others can influence your perception so that your buying behavior is impacted as well. There are plenty of ways that people feel that advertisers and retailers can manipulate your emotions or feelings. Alluring images, powerful messages, and fun sentiments can all shape the way you see a particular company.
While all these are undoubtedly vital, what many people don’t realize is that there is something else at work. What many of these companies are actually trying to do is to familiarize you with their logo, brand, and products. It is human nature to be drawn to things that we find familiar. We feel as though we can trust what we know.
So, one of the main reasons that sellers are constantly appearing on internet ads, billboards, and TV commercials is because they want you to take notice of them. This way, the next time you want to make a purchase, there is a good chance that you will go with something that has caught your attention.
As you can see, there is a lot more to why you buy the things that you do. Your past, your experiences, and even your beliefs all come together to determine just what brand and product you will eventually choose.