If you have ever shopped online you have come across sites offering free shipping if you spend a minimum dollar amount.
Today I was on a site and purchased something for about $30 with an additional $7 in shipping. I was quickly prompted by the
system that if I increased my purchase to only $75, shipping would be free.
A colleague of mine who was in my office said, "The smart thing to do is up your purchase to save the shipping." My
response was, "Who really thinks like that?" It turns out that many do. In a limited and not very scientific survey, I polled
16 people who buy online. Over 80% were more likely to meet a minimum purchase amount to get "free shipping" than to buy
only what they needed and pay for the shipping. That is a staggering number. That tells me, 80% are willing to spend more
than they planned on, just to save a few dollars. But, are they really saving? The answer is, it depends. If the other items
purchased were must haves or would have been future purchases, then it is possible that they are saving money. But in most
cases these are impulse buys, just like buy 3 and get 1 for free. In most of these cases people didn’t need an extra one let
alone three more. The word FREE is so powerful in the shopping culture.
The answer to this should have been so obvious to me. My girlfriend is constantly coming home with new clothes (usually
for me) or some other widget. I always ask why we needed it or why did you buy them. Ok, it doesn't sound grateful, but here
is the typical response I get. "It was buy one pair get the second 50% off" or "I had a coupon to save $20 if you spend
$100." After several years I have learned just not to say anything anymore. The reality is, we probably didn’t need any of
these things and I would never have missed something I didn't have in the first place, sale or no sale. But retailers online
and offline have gotten very savvy at consumer psychology. Do you really need 2 pair of shoes when you are going in to buy
one? Did you plan on going to a certain store before they sent that spend $100 and save $20 coupon or was it that coupon
that made you want to go save money? The fact is, coupons play on human psychology and no matter how much you save on a
purchase, you probably end up buying something you really didn't need.
About the Author:
Damien is the Founder and CEO of FindAnyFloor.com as well as several other technolgy businesses specializing in social media and search.