Everyone has at least one bad habit. The definition of bad being loosely defined from “unfavourable” to “incorrect” to “harmful”, all of which are subject to interpretation. A bad habit can range from sneaking into the cupboard in the middle of night to chow down on some cookies to a full blown gambling addiction where you lose your house and every material thing you’ve ever owned. Speaking of every material thing you’ve ever owned… Have you heard of Confessions of a Shopaholic?
Confessions of a Shopaholic is all about the addictive behaviour commonly referred to as “retail therapy.” Now, the occasional stint of retail therapy can actually be good for you as explained in Time’s article “Is Retail Therapy for Real? 5 Ways Shopping is Actually Good for You.” Of the 52% of Americans who admit to indulging in retail therapy, the positive effects to this behaviour are:
- Helping to ease transitions.
- Dressing for success.
- Boosting creativity and aesthetics.
- Relaxation and escape.
- Providing a social connection.
However, every high has a low. With the convenience and constant personalized contact of online shopping, it is not uncommon for a little self indulgence to develop into an addiction that may or may not be harmful to you and to your bank account. As the Huffington Post states in “Shopaholic: 7 Signs You’re Addicted to Shopping“, here are a few of the red flags (not to be confused with red tags):
- Many unopened or tagged items in your closet.
- Purchasing things you didn’t need or plan to buy.
- An argument or frustration sparks an urge to shop.
- A rush of excitement when you buy.
- Purchases are followed by feelings of remorse.
- You try to conceal your shopping habits.
- You feel anxious on the days you don’t shop.
Are you sweating yet? I’m 5/7… *yikes!*
Every addict has a scape goat. Remember what I mentioned earlier about the conveniences of online shopping? That’s right. Mama didn’t raise no fool. Online retailers know exactly what they’re doing.
What happens when you go to your favourite store’s website? A pop-up asking you to sign up for their e-newsletter appears before you can even check out their merchandise. You can even sign in using your Facebook account to make things easier. Check the little box that says “remember me” for even easier sign ins. Now you can have their new arrivals sent directly to your inbox or newsfeed the exact day they arrive in store. No waiting or guessing. Personalized treatment for their valued shopper.
Taking the personalization up a notch, most online retailers have “wish lists” for items you tell yourself you won’t buy but they end up in your shopping cart anyway. It doesn’t only help you spend on yourself but for other people too. Check out this online wish list available through Chapters. You can search for your friends and family members wish lists to ensure you get them the perfect gift – exactly what they wanted.
They have the window down at the bottom or right side showing your “recently viewed” items so you can easily compare that last dress to this other one you found. Or instead of recently viewed items they have the clever section saying “customers who liked your selected item also liked these items.” Not only does this encourage you to buy more of their product, it also lures you into the feeling that you’re not the only one who needs these items. You have a sense of community with your invisible fellow shopper.
These emails you signed up for can come once a week to multiple times per day depending on the retailer. They will send you details for discounts for clearance items, promo codes, or free samples if you make that purchase with them. They are your very own game show host complete with prizes for the winner. Contests for your attention and money start with simple selfies to all out sob stories to cover your whole wedding as shared in this article referring to some of the top strategy styles in retail.
Retail giants like Anthropologie ease your fears of shopping online through honest and trustworthy testimonials about quality and fit, complete with height and weight of the person who purchased it so you can size them up to your own body before making the transaction.
Lessons for Others
Shopping has evolved from physically going into a store, to ordering from a retailer’s catalogue, to home shopping parties, to online shopping, and now even more conveniently, through apps on our cell phones and tablets.
Customers are more demanding than ever and retailers are up to the task to keep us engaged in any way we demand to ensure they sell us their product. As with anything, there is good and bad to this situation. We have the most convenient purchasing we have ever seen but at the cost of being inundated with information 24/7.
Whether you’re Budget Betty or Spender Sally, you have personally been engaged by online retailers savvy social media tactics. Just watch for those windows that conveniently display items you were looking at long after you’ve left their website.
Industry: Online Retail
Name of Organization Contact: Jane Smith, CEO
Authored by: Amber Hope
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.