Don’t drink this drink before shopping or you will be poor

Maybe this is your weekend life:

On a bright Sunday, meet up with best friends, find a quiet little shop, and have a cup of coffee.

And then when I was going to the mall, I don’t know why, I suddenly wanted to buy this and that, and finally I got home and calmed down, I started to wonder why I bought so many things.

Not your fault, but the coffee pot. Maybe it’s that little cup of coffee before shopping that kicks off your shopping journey.

Coffee leads to impulse consumption

On June 11 this year, researchers from the University of South Florida, the University of the Basque Country and many other European and American universities published a paper in the Journal of Marketing, concluding that Surprisingly: Having a cup of coffee before shopping will buy more and spend more at the mall.

The researchers first conducted a field experiment. They set up a tea station with free drinks at the entrance of a supermarket in France. Afterwards, they gave half of the customers a free cup of coffee and the other half with a decaffeinated drink.

After shopping, the researchers invited the customers who received free tea to show their receipts and recorded the number of purchases and the total amount of these customers. At the same time, a questionnaire was used to assess the arousal of these customers while shopping, which is simply how excited they are.

It was found that consumers who drank free coffee bought more, spent more, and were more excited.

They conducted a similar experiment in a supermarket in Spain, only replacing decaffeinated beverages with water, and also found the “shopping-promoting effect” of coffee, and they also found that, People who drink less coffee usually buy more things and spend more money after drinking coffee, and the “promoting shopping effect” of coffee is stronger for them.

People who drink coffee like this are not so affected | giphy

Additionally, coffee drinkers increased their purchase behavior for all products, an effect more pronounced for high hedonic products.

The utility of a product can be broadly divided into two categories: hedonic satisfying emotional or sensory needs, and utilitarian purposes Functionality. For example, potato chips, KTV, game recharge cards, etc. are typical products with high enjoyment and low function, while toilet paper, U disk, and toothpaste are typical products with high function and low enjoyment.

Never-drinkers bought an average of €9.06, while coffee drinkers bought an average of €18.52 and purchased significantly more hedonic products.

Lab experiments yielded similar results to field experiments

Why does coffee increase consumption? Researchers believe this is related to coffee’s increased arousal.

After coffee, consumers are more awake, nervous, and excited, which is more likely to lead to impulse purchases, buying more, spending more, coffee It will also make the shopping process more exciting and the shopping experience more enjoyable.

Shopping: a war between pleasure and pain

The increase in consumption desire after a person is awakened may be related to the mechanism of our brain to make consumption decisions.

Some people may think that shopping is purely rational behavior. We analyze our needs, compare the prices of different products, and see if we can afford them. These considerations constitute our daily consumption activities.

However, neuroscientific research in recent years has found that rational consumption is more like an illusion, people are spending wildly, and shopping is actually a competing sense of several senses result.

When we see an item, the “happy feeling” will say, hurry up and order it, it’s a pleasure to buy it; “disgust feeling ” said, can’t buy it, it’s so uncomfortable to have an empty wallet. If “happiness” overcomes “hate”, buy it; if “hate” overcomes “happiness,” don’t buy.

Research by Brian Knutson, a pioneer in the neural basis of emotion, and his collaborators supports this theory. They recruited a group of subjects to simulate a shopping scene, including three steps: viewing product pictures, understanding the price of the product, and deciding whether to buy it or not.

During this process, Knudsen et al. scanned the subjects’ brains with fMRI machines to analyze the subjects’ brain activity in three stages. After the task was completed, the researchers also assessed how much participants liked each product and how much they were willing to spend.

Eventually, they found:

First, the more the subject likes the product, the stronger the activation of the nucleus accumbens in the brainthe higher the likelihood of future purchases >. The nucleus accumbens happens to be an important component of the brain’s reward system. When people see delicious food and get money, the nucleus accumbens is also activated.

Secondly, the higher the product price, the stronger the activation of the insula when the subject saw the price, and the lower the subject’s purchase intention. The insula is the pain center of human beings. The insula will be activated in scenes such as being stabbed by someone, losing money, being rejected by someone, seeing a picture you don’t like.

Third, the greater the price difference (the price the subjects are willing to pay minus the actual price of the product), the stronger the activation of the medial prefrontal cortex, and the stronger the subjects’ willingness to buy . The medial prefrontal cortex is involved in nearly all self-related processing.

Combining the findings, the authors concluded that: Consumer buying behavior is determined by emotional responses. Individuals make purchases when they feel that the joy of buying a product outweighs the pain of losing money.

In fact, it is a process of two-phase confrontation

However, the emotional response is not necessarily caused by the consumer product itself: if we experience something particularly happy, we may be more inclined to buy, buy, buy, to celebrate It’s normal to eat at an expensive restaurant.

Coffee has a similar effect: Coffee activates the nucleus accumbens, and people feel that consumption leads to greater happiness. Many studies have found that the caffeine in coffee boosts the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, which makes people more pleasant.

Ultimately, after drinking coffee, the joy of consumption is more likely to overcome the pain of spending money, making it easier to buy and buy.

Those late spending pains

In the battle of “the joy of shopping and the pain of spending money,” coffee’s role is to increase “joy.” Merchants also have a common idea: Reduce the pain of spending money.

In recent years, the popular Huabei, credit card, mobile payment, etc. can greatly reduce the “pain of spending money”, thereby promoting consumption.

As early as 1979, researchers found that people spend more when they pay with credit cards than when they pay with cash. The same goes for mobile payments, where people buy more and spend more when they scan a QR code.

One ​​of the leading explanations for “pay your bills with cash and spend less” is that paying with cash is more painful. Painful payment is what people feel distressed when they spend money.

Put cash directly from your pocket, and the loss is visible and immediate; if you withdraw money from a credit card, the loss is indirect and will be repaid later.

Empty wallet and empty account, still feel differentLike…

As a result, direct cash is more painful.

It’s worth mentioning that spending money “really hurts”. Like Knudsen’s study above, people see product prices activate the insula, which is our pain center. Like being stabbed, the insula is activated when spending money.

Spending money with a credit card reduces insula activity compared to cash. In other words, spending money on credit cards is actually not that painful.

Pain may be late, but never absent. When spending money with a credit card, the pain is less; but the pain of repayment is not less. Perhaps super-doubling, facing the pain of an over-consumption.

Human shopping is a war: a war between the “pleasure of getting a product” and the “pain of losing money” The war between “heart grows grass” and “tomorrow I want to eat soil” is a war between merchants with frequent tactics and increasingly smart consumers…

In this war, we also have a Paleolithic brain and emotional system. It may be irrational and often misguided; but you can make it smart enough to discover the essence of its behavior and take advantage of it.

First, start by “no coffee before shopping”.


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Author: Hu Shaoxia

Editors: Emeria, You Shiyou, odette


Milk tea contains a lot of caffeine, so drink less before shopping!

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