Why do we buy stuff?

I recently saw a blog article on Seth’s Blog about why people make impulse purchases when items are on sale.   He maintains that people buy on sale to get the “joy of a bargain,” and that the item itself is secondary.  (Aside:  Seth says that more a billion people have never purchased anything on sale…..hard to believe!).

This got me thinking.   There are many emotions that trigger purchases that are not necessities (i.e. discretionary spending).   Joy, anger, hatred, revenge, happiness, self-satisfaction, compulsion…..the list is endless.   I started investigating a bit further and found a lot of material on this very subject.

Pamela Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, has written a book called “Why People Buy Things They Don’t Need.”   She maintains that marketers “sell the sizzle, not the steak” because shoppers buy more for the experience than for the item itself.  The book looks at 14 different justifications that consumers make for their purchases.

Paco Underhill has written a book entitled “Why We Buy:  The Science of Shopping” (among several other books on consumer behavior).   Through more than 20 years of in-store observation, he has put together his insights into the science of shopping.

Marketers would do well to understand the “science of shopping” better…….

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