Are we overstimulated by too many special offers, discounts and promotions?

Shop window and sales. By Artem Beliaikin from Unsplash
Shop window and sales. By Artem Beliaikin from Unsplash

During the Christmas season, many people dedicate themselves to finding the perfect gift. But shopping proves to be extremely popular in other ways as well. However, many people consume things that are not necessary at all.

Today, we want to take a closer look at strategies for special offers. But why do special offers have this special effect on people? In today’s article, we reveal how people’s buying behavior is influenced.

This is how people are influenced when they buy

Most people assume that they make a conscious buying decision. However, many things take place in the subconscious. For this, retailers use targeted marketing strategies.

For example, the presentation of the goods and the lighting have an effect on consumer behavior. Smells and music are also used to entice customers to buy. Most retailers are true sales experts and know the effect of these small details. It is therefore very easy, especially during the contemplative Christmas season, to increase your own sales figures.

Special offers create a buzz

But what exactly happens in the brain during the buying process? Many researchers are also investigating this question. The prefrontal cortex plays an important role. This area of the brain is responsible for the decision to buy. Another role is played by the human reward system. This compensates for the perceived loss in a purchase.

Finally, a discount is classified as a special reward. The reward center is activated and the hormone dopamine is released. The buyer feels happy. Accordingly, special offers can act almost like a drug. Finally, saving money activates a true feeling of happiness. A similar feeling arises, for example, when a person wins something or eats chocolate. This feeling of happiness overrides the financial loss of the purchase.

The desire for bargains is not rational

Basically, people don’t necessarily think rationally when they buy. Rather, he falls into a frenzy and looks for the next bargain. Accordingly, a discount is classified like a gift. Rational thinking is therefore suspended when shopping. The multitude of offers and bargains appears irresistible to the customer.

This also increases the willingness to take risks. So products are bought even when the account is almost empty. However, the resulting feeling of happiness is very deceptive. It only lasts for a short time. Soon the temptation arises to perceive further bargains. The discount gives people a special kick that they want to experience again and again. The reward system always wants new stimuli, so that the customer quickly falls into a kind of frenzy.

 Human evolution plays a decisive role

Let’s now take a look at human evolution. This is crucial for today’s buying behavior. The human brain has always been geared towards rewards. A discount is perceived as a rare reward. Even in prehistoric times, man had to react quickly to secure an unexpected prey. A quick reaction was required.

It is similar with bargains. Man registers these as sudden rewards. Rational thinking as well as control remain outside. It is a matter of acting quickly. Since time immemorial, emotions have shaped human actions. Many decisions are made in the subconscious. The human being longs for even better rewards and therefore does not classify discounts rationally.

Incidentally, this phenomenon applies to all mammals. As far as the reward system turns on, possible dangers and losses are faded out.

These are the tricks that retailers use

As mentioned above, retailers use numerous marketing strategies. For example, retailers often obtain additional merchandise during a sale. In turn, customers perceive the products as scarce. Moreover, it is not uncommon for the ordinary price to be touted as a discount.

Volume discounts also prove to be a clever trick. For example, when buying four products, the customer receives the fifth item for free. However, this discount does not compensate for the increased expenditure. In addition, the quantity discount is usually very manageable.

Discounts on promotion days should also be examined critically. For example, retailers often raise prices before Cyber Monday. On the promotion day, for example, normal prices are then shown again. Nevertheless, people seem to be conditioned to such promotion days. Therefore, retailers reap particularly high profits on these days.

A shopping addiction should be treated

In principle, the desire for a bargain is not unusual. However, buying can also become an addiction. In this case, those affected need a special kick again and again. As a rule, women are more susceptible to a shopping addiction than men. Moreover, shopping addiction can be a side effect of a mental illness.

The digital possibilities exacerbate this problem. For example, thanks to the Internet, any product can be purchased with a click. In addition, many retailers offer purchase on account or payment by installments. This also increases customers’ willingness to take risks. A shopping addiction is considered dangerous if it is intended to compensate for negative emotions. In this case, the person affected should urgently seek therapeutic help.

Influencers also increase the desire to buy

With the digital culture comes even more opportunities for retailers. For example, many companies are working with influencers. Influencers are considered important and trendy. Accordingly, there is a desire to keep up with these trendsetters. The advertised products are perceived as particularly valuable. After all, influencers are role models for many people. The discount codes provided are also touted as very rare.

In addition, advertising by influencers is classified as a personal recommendation. After all, recommendations play an important role in one’s own buying behavior. Accordingly, it is no wonder that many agencies work with influencers. After all, Instagram, Facebook and the like are used to reach the younger generation in particular. Advertising therefore has a primarily subconscious effect.


The range of discounts is inexhaustible and only a click away. Regardless of whether they are volume discounts or special offer bargains, they have a very tempting effect on people. However, customers should be aware that there is a special marketing strategy behind the discounts. Accordingly, it makes sense to continue comparing prices.

Moreover, people should buy only those things that are necessary. After all, most discounts serve only one purpose for the retailer. Of course, you can still treat yourself to one or the other bargain. However, it is worthwhile to critically examine every offer.

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