COVID-19: learning from academia – Shopping moods

Learning from academia is a crucial element of our research and in this article, we talk about how COVID-19 will impact people#s shopping moods.

Because the press is continually full of negative news stories, there is a negative impact on the country’s mood. In effect, the popular media is replicating a common technique used by psychologists to induce negative feelings in a laboratory based experiment, getting people to read or watch negative news stories.

The science bit

When shoppers are in a negative mood, we know that they are far more likely to self-gift,
that is buying small gifts for themselves in an attempt to boost their own mood. Roughly speaking we expect that between 1/2 and 2/3 of all self-gifting behaviour can be explained by this mood-repair motivation.

Despite negative emotions encouraging self purchases, retailers should still attempt to put consumers in a positive mood, due to the fact that we know shoppers spend more money when in a positive mood. While this example may seem trivial, retailers should look at trying to ensure consumers are in a positive mood.

We know that shoppers who are in a more positive mood, spend more money, tell more people about their positive experience, and view the store in a more positive light than those who are in a negative mood.

It is unlikely that people will consider shopping to be a particularly pleasurable experience in the current climate. However, there are a few techniques retailers can use to influence consumers mood as they shop, even in these ‘odd times’.

For example, presenting consumers with an unexpected gift (something as small as a sweet), or a free coffee, or playing happy music (often music in a major key), have all been shown to induce a positive mood.

Shoppers who are in a more positive mood spend more money

Key take-away: Every sensory stimulus that a shopper is exposed to, can and will alter their mood. In these times of uncertainty, there is a need to reassure shoppers as much as possible, appealing to all their senses: What they look at, hear, smell, touch and even taste in store all contribute.

If you would like to read more like about how behaviour has been impacted by Covid-19, click here for more articles

Written by Scott Willey, Associate Director at Spark Emotions
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Scott via email or connect with him on LinkedIn

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