I have recently discovered that psychologytoday.com is a fantastic resource for anything consumer behavior. The article I came across for today’s post is about time-pressured sales, and what really goes on in the minds of consumers that makes them act the way they do in these situations. The author, Art Markman, explains that the reason for such frenzied activity during time pressured sales such as “black Friday” or “cyber Monday” is a concept called “need for closure.” Need for closure is described as the degree to which on feels the need to finish a decision process and take action. Put simply, someone who is high in need for closure is more likely to make impulse purchases where someone who is low in need for closure is more likely to take more time to make a purchase decision.
Markman explains that time pressured sales create a situation that creates a high need for closure, even in those who would not normally be described as high in need for closure. The retailer offers discounts on products and suggests that these discounts will not be around for long. The crowd in the store gives the impression that you have to act quickly. By having a “limited time only” sale, retailers are also able to make the consumer feel like they are getting a good deal, which increases the need for closure even further.
Given all this information, we as consumers can make wiser purchasing decisions when dealing with time pressured sales. In order to release some time pressure, Markman suggests doing comparison shopping at home before heading out to a sale. This way, you’ll better understand what is actually a good price compared to what the retailers want you to believe is a one-time only deal.