Monthly Archives: September 2017

Why We Enjoy Shopping

“If money can’t buy happiness, why does it sometimes feel so good to buy stuff?” asks Kristin Bianco in his personal finance column at Fox News Network. Well, there is an answer for Kristin’s question if you search for it at the right place. That place is consumer psychology. Professor Kit Yarrow, professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, writing in Psychology Today names the good feeling that Kristin experience when buying stuff “retail therapy”. She says a recent study has found that more than half of Americans admit to engaging in “retail therapy.”

So, when your customers feel down, they go shopping to feel better…

Finding the joy of shopping

According to the emotional view of consumer decision-making, each of us is likely to associate deep feelings or emotions, such as joy, fear, love, hope, sexuality, fantasy and even a little ‘magic’, with certain purchases. Also, scientists have found that shopping does make some people feel good. It’s been reported that when a person shops, the brain releases the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is linked to feelings of satisfaction and pleasure and is released when you face new, exciting experiences. So, what do your customers pay for when they want to have “retail therapy”?

Recent survey results indicate that engagement in retail therapy is often driven by factors such as boredom and seasonal changes. As many as 66% of adults and 75% of teens indicate that shopping is a great cure for boredom, while 45% of adults revealed that the seasonal changes are the biggest motivator to go shopping.

If your customers really want to feel happy, they will go on a ‘shopping spree’. WiseGeek describes a shopping spree as “a playful” and “devil may care” attitude in a single shopping trip where lots of money is spent. A shopping spree is the action you take to start your ‘retail therapy’. But what do your customers say about the joy of shopping?

Customer insights about the joy of shopping

Here are some commentary and comments from customer’s experiences about the joy of shopping.

“I think the clothes I buy will make me happier. The storage bins, the throw pillows, perhaps a bottle of nail polish. And while it’s true for a day, it doesn’t bring me real, lasting happiness. It gives me a bit of a happy high: “I love this new dressssss! How cute and stylish am I!?” but then the excitement wears off and I want to buy something else… ” writes Ashley in her blog “Our Little Apartment”. The comment of Ashley supports the findings of the survey done by Ebates.

Customers, sometimes, are feeling guilty after a shopping spree. Here are some of the comments on Ashley’s blog:

Ashile says: “It is so true that in the moment we think buying some new it will make us happier. But truly, it is only momentary happiness”.

Marta says “We all have wasted money and resources and time on unneeded shopping. You know how I do now? I ask myself “do I REALLY need it?” “Would I come back tomorrow again to buy it?” “Is it likely that I’ll never find such a wonderful cloth again in the world? Ever?” then, I usually realize that I’m not going to buy anything, and I feel sort of liberated.”

Customers are feeling both positive and negative emotions at the same time before, during and after shopping. But what will the customer feels when she visits your shop?

Creating the right environment for joyful shopping

Previous studies have shown that consumers are influenced by their shopping environments which in turn influence consumers’ emotional states and purchases. The negative emotions consumers experience before the shopping process are soon forgotten when consumers immerse themselves in the shopping process and start visiting stores and examining the merchandise.

It is unlikely that a random purchase at any venue will have therapeutically value for people feeling down. Their shopping experience needs to reward them. Emotional customers seeking ‘retail therapy’ should visit your shop to reward themselves. There are some obvious things a retailer needs to do to create lasting shopping experiences for their customers.

  • Keep a wide range and a variety of products;
  • Keep products that are in ‘season’;
  • Make sure that there are always some items on promotion;
  • Try to create an atmosphere in your shop that will make the customers feel happy;
  • Provide the customers with excellent, friendly service and make the transactions hassle free;
  • Allow your customers to see, touch, rub, wear, taste and smell the products;
  • Keep your shop clean and tidy at all times;
  • Make sure that your shop is well well-lit and that there are enough cashiers at the pay points;
  • Play music that put customers in a good mood and give them stylish shopping bags when they check out

Lastly, “What are customers doing when they are feeling bored? They surf the internet and do some online shopping…

Concluding

It seems difficult to draw a line between ‘the joy of shopping’ and ‘compulsive buying’. Compulsive buying is described as a ‘addictive disorder’ whilst the joy of shopping is keeping our shops open. The question that we as retailers need to ask is what to do if we recognize some of our customers as compulsive buyers? Do we have a moral duty to warn them about it? Or to suggest help?

Most of us will buy something to feel better when life is treating us badly. A piece of chocolate cake and cappuccino at the local coffee shop may just be the right therapy. Or, if you feel really down, a shopping spree at the upmarket shopping mall may do the trick. Maybe you’ll be feeling better after shopping – however, that may be only for a short time. The challenges of life will probably stay the same and besides, you’ll have less money. This article touch on consumer behavior and specifically buying behavior. Are retailers obliged to suggest help for their customers that shows signs of being a compulsive buyer? Or is it just good for your business?

Mystery Shopping – An Excellent Way To Make Extra Money

Mystery shopping (sometimes called secret shopping) is an excellent way to make extra money. It is very easy to do, you need no previous experience, no special knowledge and no expensive equipment. Mystery shopping can be performed by anyone who is able to go shopping. The mystery shopping companies employ men and women of all ages and descriptions as secret shoppers in order to obtain feedback from a wide range of different people on a wide range of services. Some mystery shopping assignments have to be undertaken by people who are accompanied by children in order to report back on specific facilities in places such as theme parks or family restaurants. (If you don’t have children of your own in the right age group, don’t worry: you are allowed to borrow them from relatives or friends.) If you enjoy shopping, mystery shopping will be a fun way for you to make extra money.

Mystery shopping consists of getting paid to go into a business (eg a shop or restaurant), without the employees knowing that you are anything other than an ordinary shopper, and reporting back to the mystery shopping company. A focus group is when you get paid to sit down with other people who are also getting paid and discuss new products or services, many focus groups are actually held online, so you don’t even have to leave home for carry out the assignment.

The reason mystery shopping companies and survey companies exist is to provide companies with impartial feedback on their employees, products and services. That way they can see where there might be problems and make the necessary changes to improve things.

Mystery shopping companies will pay you to shop, eat at restaurants, have a drink at a bar, visit the cinema, take a trip and take part in focus groups. If you are sent out to do mystery shopping, you might be required to visit a particular shop and just make enquiries about an article to test the staff’s customer service level but, if you are instructed to make a purchase, you are allowed to keep the articles and will be reimbursed for the cost. If you are sent to do mystery shopping at a restaurant or bar, you will be given a budget figure to spend on your food and drink and that money will be reimbursed to you by the mystery shopping company on top of your fee for the assignment. You might be asked to sample new products and these items will be sent to you free of charge. As part of your mystery shopping, you might find yourself receiving free samples to test of anything from detergent to chocolate. (This can also happen if you join survey companies.)

Mystery shopping jobs are obviously easier to find if you live in or near a fair sized town where there are a large number of shops, restaurants etc but, if you live in a rural area, you can still earn money taking part in online focus groups which can be found through online paid survey companies.

After you do a mystery shopping assignment you answer some questions on a form provided by the mystery shopping company and file your report with them. These reports are usually set up as a series of questions with a box for you to add any relevant details the company might request. The reports can usually be completed very quickly and it is best to complete your report straight after you finish your mystery shopping so that you don’t forget any detail. Some mystery shopping companies require you to report to them by phone immediately after you have completed the mystery shopping assignment but, generally, the companies expect you to submit a written report by post or email.

The way to approach mystery shopping is to remember that basically you are like a reporter. You must never add your feelings or recommendations to a mystery shopping report. Your job is to just answer the questions, report the facts and describe what actually happened during your mystery shopping expedition.

If you accept a mystery shopping assignment but then are unable to complete it, make sure you immediately notify the mystery shopping company so that they can make alternative arrangements to avoid letting down their client.

When you start doing mystery shopping, make sure you accept all suitable assignments including last minute jobs and any less than glamorous assignments you might be offered. The top class assignments will be offered to reliable mystery shoppers so you will need to prove yourself and build up a good reputation by making a good job of the lower quality assignments and getting your report in on time. At the start, you might find yourself being asked to do mystery shopping a the local fast food outlet or department store. Once you build up a reputation as a reliable mystery shopper, you can look forward to assignments where you are paid to visit expensive restaurants and designer shops. You might even be lucky enough to get a free trip and hotel accommodation as a mystery shopper.

Always keep in mind that, although mystery shopping is a fun and easy way for your to make extra money, it is a business and you need to behave in a businesslike manner when carrying out your mystery shopping assignments and reporting the results to the mystery shopping company. Your mystery shopping reports will be helping to shape the future of the businesses you visit and you have the chance to make a positive impact on decisions relating to improvements to services and facilities which will be of benefit to you.

Reason Why to Shop at an Online Shopping Mall

Shopping in a portal online shopping mall is shopping at its best. This way of shopping will alter the way you shop online from now on. This type of mall will allow you to shop at the same stores you currently shop at now and it will allow you to save up to 40% on your purchase. It’s like getting an instant rebate at every store. Here are some of the reasons to shop at this type of mall:

1. There are many stores and many different categories; if you are looking for something specific in a specific category and can’t find it, look to another store with the mall. There are a lot of similar lesser know sites that may have just what you want.

2. You can check out your Sunday ads and then go shopping; many of the stores that print flyers are usually included in this type of mall. You can shop those stores and the same items and get a rebate on top of it.

3. The rebates offered by most stores will often times pay for the shipping and handling. If you purchase a certain amount of goods, shipping is free.

4. Going to an online shopping mall offering rebates is like going to a major shopping mall and someone handing out coupons as you walk through the door. You get these types of rebates every time you shop. You don’t have to remember coupon books.

5. You can do all your shopping without even leaving the house. You can do it at the height of the rush hour or do it a 3 AM when all the family is fast asleep.

6. You can do all your holiday shopping without leaving the comforts of home.

7. Surprise that certain someone and have it truly be surprised. Have them ask, when you found time to shop when you are so busy. Order flowers, plan a vacation, buy chocolate, jewelry, fragrances or sporting good; virtually anything you can thing of.

8. Shop for birthdays, anniversaries, special days like Mother’s day or Father’s day or any occasion and save money while doing it.

9. You will be amazed at all the lesser know sites that have the same items as the big box stores and have them a lower price, have free shipping or just offer the discounts or cash back options offered by using this type of shopping mall.

10. Shopping a portal online shopping mall is simple. There are no fees involved; no credit card information is taken. Just sign up, sign in and starting shopping at many of the stores that you already shop.

11. Many online shopping malls, offer rebates or cash discounts to over hundreds of different merchants and many different categories and many subcategories. Categories range from outdoor accessories, kitchen supplies, Home and Garden and seasonal gifts just to name a few.

12. Product choices do range from store to store so you can pick the category that best suits you. Shop big name stores like Amazon or Netshop and shop places that offer other types of merchandise. Many online shopping malls, offer monthly specials and free shipping.

13. Even if you like to shop at a conventional shopping mall, you can still use the list to comparison shop. You can decide ahead of time that has the best prices and minimize running to multiple stores just to find the best prices.

As you can see, there are many advantages to shopping in a Portal Online Shopping Mall. It saves gas, time and frustration. You can do it anytime, anywhere. All your shopping can be done without leaving home allowing more time to spend with your family.

Shopping Carts – Five Usability Problems

The process leading up to a transaction online is possibly the most critical to a shopping cart’s success. If the buying process causes frustration, confusion or insecurity, the user is likely to abandon the shopping cart, never to return again.

The usability of a shopping cart refers to the efficiency with which a user can achieve their goals on a website. Many of the larger online shopping carts, like Play.com and Amazon.com, are continuously striving to make their buying process as fluent and as effortless as possible. Knowing you can buy a book or film in just 3 or 4 clicks encourages you to return to the same, reliable website.

Having read numerous articles and white papers dedicated to best practice shopping cart design and usability; below I have highlighted five potential design problems in shopping carts that I’m sure many users have encountered.

1. Shopping carts that ask a user to register before knowing if the product is available or not.

It could be quite irritating for a user if they have spent 10 minutes entering their credit card details, home address, telephone number etc etc. only to find out during the checkout process that the product they want to buy is out of stock.

Many shopping carts enable you to present users with live stock availability before the user places their product in the shopping cart.

2. Suggesting the user buys similar products before adding the main product to the shopping cart.

It’s often helpful when a website recommends additional products you may want or need after adding your main product to your shopping cart.

However, I think you’ll agree that it could be slightly confusing if these additional products were offered to you before even adding the main product to your shopping cart? You press “Add to Cart” and suddenly you’re offered batteries, or insoles or travel cases. Many users would be left feeling confused, wondering if their product had been added or not, or if they’d pressed the wrong button.

Best practice guidelines would indicate offering your user the extra products after the user has finished shopping and they’re entering the checkout process.

3. Shopping carts that ask a user to register before they have even added a product to their shopping cart.

Asking for a user’s personal information before they have even added a product to their shopping cart is not a good move.

Customer registration can offer some big advantages to you as a merchant including recovery for abandoned shopping carts, customer loyalty and email contact. However, many users may be browsing a number of websites, adding products to numerous shopping carts for the main purpose of comparing prices and features. If a user has to register personal details before using the shopping carts, a large percentage are likely to abandon the website.

4. Requiring a user to delete and add the same product to shopping carts just so they can change its colour, size or variation.

Editing a shopping cart should be as simple as possible and shouldn’t require the user to delete anything from the shopping cart.

If a product comes in different colours and different sizes don’t make them delete it from their shopping cart if they want it in a different variation. Users should be able to select from within their shopping carts the different options.

5. Websites that do not clearly show the user the contents of the shopping carts.

Have you ever been on a website and added the same product to your shopping cart 3 or 4 times because you’re not sure if it worked the first time?

Many users that can’t see the contents of their shopping cart in the same browser as the one they are shopping on can often feel confused about whether or not their item has been added successfully.

As a merchant it is understandable that you don’t want to take your user away from the page they are shopping on every time they add something to their shopping cart. Best practice guidelines therefore indicate displaying the contents of a users shopping cart in the same browser, in the right hand corner for example. To summarize, the design of the entire shopping experience is of utmost imp