Neuroscience applied to shopping: How do they affect the brain bargains?


Why a bag becomes an object of desire? In a “I love you” irresistible? What makes us worship this or that other mark without knowing exactly what will occur in your next collection? Where do the impulses, love at first sight that leads us to “need” something that until a few seconds even know existed?

If you thought, you were the perfect rational buyer you are very wrong. Almost all our buying decisions are made by the emotional impact that makes us a brand or product. And neuromarketing has the keys to explain.

Marketing experts have concluded that click on the button to buy those shoes and add them to your shopping cart is based 80% on emotional impulses, in something you cannot control trying to be rational.

Oh, that would explain everything: love at first sight with something you do not need the end the drawer full of things you do not use, loss of reason in front of a good bargain, etc.

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Study purchases

Yes, marketing techniques lifetime, things like comparing prices, good customer service, etc., remain valid, but there is no doubt that they are new approaches to shopping, more based on implicit associations stimuli and emotions that logical arguments, which succeed today.

We live in a consumer society and that is the reason why our purchases have become a field of study by the science. These neuroimaging techniques involve new ways of researching consumer behavior in search of that mythical purchase button hidden in our brain.

The crazy prices

It is a Saturday morning like any other and you are ready to do the weekly shopping basic you need: milk, coffee, a loaf of bread … On the way to the store in your neighborhood suddenly you feel trapped by a window filled dresses and posters with the word “Sale”.

In the background, you know I do not need it, you might even those dresses are not exactly your style, but you are unable to resist. Before you know it, did you get your credit card purse and go back to your home with a dress that does not need to amounting to sixty dollars (previous price: 5% more) and a vital loaf of bread worth sixty cents.

Does this does not sound weird? Of course not. Every day we are bombarded with thousands of subliminal messages to buy it. But not because, but because buying that piece, that product, that “whatever” will make us happier, achievers, we will be better.

Yes, the benefits that push us to buy something are always emotional, never respond to a real need and that we know the experts on the subject. But … when we talk about emotions, what role does the price, supply, and bargain sales? Not try to logical reasons ?

To answer this question we have had Mila Benito Tapia, Director of Integral Communication and expert in Neuromarketing in advertising agency McCann Erickson, the first thing clear to us is what are the bargains, from the emotional point of view, that make us buy things that not even know existed , like those discount dresses we talked about before:

“When that” bargain price “is applied to the right product and if it does not generate distrust (lack of quality etc) causes in our brain emotions associated with pleasure, self -satisfaction (I’m smarter than anybody else, I got lowered and others paid dearly etc), desire, gratitude, or reward and causes impulse buying. In this situation, our brain acts quickly leaving no room for other considerations or reflections on whether or not to purchase. This is the reason why we can get you to buy things that sometimes do not need and many times we do not even like or satisfy us.” we Mila says.

Marketers know this very well when they use terms such as “sale”, “discount” or “special price”, but according to our expert not always generate a positive response. “Cerebrate generate attention first. That attention will generate a positive emotion in some. cases and negative in others give an example to illustrate how it can be caused a negative reaction to a low price: if we find that price bargain being a luxury product, for example, might think that the product is not as exclusive as we thought, or will take you around the world and cease to be exclusive, or is not as desirable as before. the conclusion therefore is that when establishing a discount, rebate or the like, it is important to know the curve price elasticity recommended for each type of product and point of sale for that price lowered act and influence positively and not otherwise.”

But then there really is an automatic buy button in our brain that lights up when we see something lowered?

“Any external stimulus can trigger a reaction in our brain, activating certain areas and causing emotions,” says our expert, “and in this sense, investigations have been performed at point of sale, we know that the price is, in itself, a great activator attention and is usually much more if it is a discounted price. However, we cannot conclude that a discount always elicits a positive emotion in our brain and, therefore, an act of purchase. In many cases It occurs, but not in others.”

You may also like to read another article on xWorld: Avoiding impulse purchases

To better explain this point, Mila Benito puts us one example. “In the past we made some tests in a chain of perfumeries to analyze the impact of reduced price applying on a perfume high – end and then showing it to its normal price what we see that test was that when the perfume had no reduction generated more desirability and tested more in store when it was lowered. In other cases, however, with other product, yes we have seen that a discounted price active area of reward and it can be very accelerator sales, especially in consumer products. Therefore, sense promotions, price discounts, etc. so common in supermarkets and hypermarkets, for example. If it were a fashion product, find a Reduced price would also be a trigger for attention, desire and self – satisfaction in our mind that normally would boost sales, but we cannot conclude that this always occurs, or in other words, not always a discount leads to more buying. What if we can conclude that we have discovered through our research with Neuromarketing techniques is that information about active prices emotions in our brain and influences purchase intent immediately.”

And of course, if we are talking about the price variable and emotions, we can not forget one of the most common cognitive biases that consider experts known as the Halo Effect and that is to make erroneous attributions generalized about something or someone taking as based on a single characteristic or quality thereof.

In other words, it is to build a false opinion according to one real and true fact from which we imagine other features. According to our expert “it is quite common for example in trials among people. It is assumed that a person being a blonde is stupid, believed and unintelligent. Or someone handsome will also be sympathetic, outgoing, etc. A downgrade will succeed it may cause a halo effect if before this actual fact we thought, also wrongly, that product is lowered to be of poor quality or because it is no longer fashionable. Or they buy people who are not like me. Or that will take all the world, perhaps because it has a manufacturing defect. In this case it would be a negative Halo Effect. And it could also be a positive if Halo Effect, after the rebate, we attribute other positive beliefs about the same.”

The big conclusion that Mila Benito is that the “bargain price” always causes a reaction in our brain but, contrary to common belief, not all cases that bargain lives in a positive way, because sometimes you He attributes the low price to other bad characteristics and therefore purchase but does not cause rejection.

The selling point: the real flytrap

How does our brain reacts within a point of sale price claims packed both linear and aerial, islands etc? Mila Benito tells us, neuromarketing has shown that multitasking does not exist (not in women, this is another great myth that has been removed).

“Our brain is not able to perform more than one task and process it correctly and with the same level of care at a time. Too much information bargain prices in the establishment will make our brain and our view receive inevitably more of a stimulus to time. Stimuli not be able to process and cause disruptions. automatically, only devote attention to one of the claims and the other will be processed in a different brain area and with a lower level of care,” he explains.

So … is it good to communicate offers large signs at the point of sale? “Although many brain targeting is generated”, Mila Benito responds, “We have seen many cases where stress and too little memory is generated.”

Luxury brands: The opposite effect

As we told you in a previous article, luxury brands also come to neuroscience to attract more to your target audience and establish an emotional connection with them, but what emotional weight has high price to pay for products these brands? Does it play a role in your favor? “In this case you can project very positive emotions about the product”, explains Mila Benito. “In fact before I explained that in a separate experiment, subjected them to test high into fragrance range with a price very reduced and less demand attention when the perfume was presented in linear with the high price was generated.”

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