What Happens in Your Brain When You Are Shopping ?

As sensible adults, we all make rational decisions when shopping. We always consider the pros and cons, compare prices and think things through, right? In reality, most of us have no idea about what happens in our brains when we are shopping. Our apartments are full of stuff and we don’t know why or even when we bought most of them. We all find the occasional dress in our wardrobes that make us think “What the hell was I thinking when I bought this?”. 

Who’s in Control When You Are Shopping?

In fact, these are all indicators of how we are not that aware of what we are doing when shopping. We are all affected by environmental factors that we have no control over. We are so convinced that we are making the right decisions that it doesn’t occur to us that outside factors might have an effect on us. 

For example, most of us haven’t got a clue about how our senses affect the decisions we make. The colors and smells around us, the music playing in the store; these are all factors that are thought out so as to influence our brains while we are shopping. Shopping is not as impromptu an activity as we think it is. 

We all know how holidays and special days are marked by a shopping frenzy. Most of us opt for online shopping nowadays, however, 98% of customers who are shopping for holidays say that they are still planning to visit stores, even though holidays are the busiest shopping season. We all know how shopping plays an important role during holidays as we all rush to stores, so let’s have a look at the environmental factors that affect the decisions we make as customers.

Watch Out for Colors

Colors are not for decorative purposes only. They play a massive role on our behavior and emotions. For example, the moment Christmas is around the corner, we start seeing bright reds and greens everywhere. When it’s Valentine’s Day, it is impossible to see hues of red and pink all around shopping malls and stores. So, we associate these colors with these special days. But do we know how they affect our mood and the decisions we make?

Red is a stimulating and energizing color. According to a study, waiters and waitresses wearing red get tipped more as opposed to those wearing white. Green is associated with luck and wealth. It also boosts creativity. So, you might want to stay away from green before Christmas if you want to avoid awkward silences while your family are opening up their presents. You don’t need to be that creative.

Smells Impact Your Decisions 

Different smells can activate different parts of the brain, evoking different emotions. A certain smell can take you back to a specific moment in time. Scientists suggest that the scents that are used by stores can affect which products you decide to buy. For example, stores use nostalgic and warm scents that we associate with Christmas in a bid to encourage us to buy more.

Your Ears Will Have Their Say

You might have realized how music can be used to manipulate certain emotions in films or advertisements. The songs that take us back to good memories from past holidays can encourage us to buy more gifts for our loved ones. Who doesn’t want to get ready for Christmas when they hear their favorite Christmas carol?

These tunes that take us back to warm memories have a great impact on what we buy and how much we buy. That’s the case because when we have good feelings about our loved ones and our shared memories, we start having positive feelings, which encourages us to spend more money.

Do You Listen to Your Heart When Shopping?

When it’s time for the holidays or other special days, we see the same warnings wherever we go: “SALE!”, “Deal”, “Promotion”, etc. It is hard enough to shop in the crowds, but when you see these warnings everywhere, you start getting more anxious. You feel like you’re missing out on the best deals and offers, which makes you more prone to impulse purchases.

The more you are afraid of missing out on the best offers, the likely it is that you are going to make some mistakes. We experience the same feeling when shopping online. The moment you see a countdown on a certain offer, you start getting anxious and try to make decisions as quickly as possible. So, fear has a great impact on our decisions when shopping.

The More You Touch, The More You Buy

You are more likely to buy things you touch, and stores are designed with this philosophy in mind. For instance, customers are more likely to touch the items that are presented at the center of the store, that’s why more expensive products are usually placed at the center of the store while cheaper products are placed along the sides.

All in all, if you want to be more in control of what you buy and how much you buy, it might be a good idea to pay attention to your surroundings. What you see, smell, hear and touch when you are in a store have a great impact on your decisions, so being more careful about these environmental factors can prevent you from making impulse purchases. Getting into the habit of keeping shopping lists is also a good idea.


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