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Why Do Girls Love Shopping So Much?

What Does Science Have To Say

Most men (and I say men because they always seem bewildered by our love for buying things) tend to think that our indulgence in malls has to do with an emotional weakness, our inability to resist pretty things, our need to have what the another woman has, and also an excuse to just spend some time with our girls. While all of these may or may not be true (I'll reserve comment on that for later), science is on our side and gives us a very valid, basic explanation for the shopping itch.

Scientists have spent a lot of time trying to figure out the seemingly irrational love women have for shopping. And if their research is anything to go by, then it is all in our genes. It is a primeval instinct, one that we have inherited from our ancestors. According to a study released in 2009 by Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan, it is only natural that women like to shop. The instinct dates to back to a time when the male was primarily, 'the hunter' and the female, 'the gatherer'. Men looked for a prey, hunted it, and brought it back. Women gather fruits and vegetables. They foraged for the ones that were ripe and sweet, selected the best of the lot and brought it back home.

Millennia later the basics remain the same. If you send a man shopping, the chances that he will walk into the store and walk out with exactly what he needs are very high. At the same time, send a woman in and she will look, rummage, and forage for the best possible option, buy a couple of other things in the process, and come out at least ten times happier with herself. It is our need to ensure that we are providing our family and ourselves with the best options there are. We are checking the metaphorical fruits for signs of ripeness.

So the next time you wonder why we enjoy shopping so much, remember that even science agrees that it is a genetic flaw that we have to look for the best.

What The Fairer Sex Has To Say

When I started writing this article, it only seemed fair that I ask other women why they indulge in retail therapy. Some self-confessed shopping addicts had a lot to say, from how it helped them de-stress to how it was difficult to resist a shiny, pretty, little thing. Others emphasized on how it made them happy. And there were still some (a minority) who talked about how despite the fact that they did not love shopping, it was a necessity. The reasons I give in this article are a cumulation of what all of us think.

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Tricks Online Stores Use to Make You Shop

Online stores have become phenomenally popular in the past few years. In times when people have busy schedules, and find it difficult to go and shop, they get things delivered at their doorstep at a button's click. Also, it is a good way of skipping the weekend rush at various retail stores. It also helps in availing the benefit of discounts because of the cut-throat competition that is prevalent among online stores.

Have you ever felt that when you are buying products online, the virtual experience and variety tempts you into buying more than what you had aimed for? Well, if it happening to you, then you are not alone, and you certainly do not need to join a 'Shopoholics Anonymous', as yet. Various e-commerce websites implement smart strategies to lure customers by creating an urgency to buy a product, irrespective of the fact whether they need it or not. Here are a few tricks that online stores use to make you shell out maximum from your pockets.

Inviting Interface and Attractive Checkout


Have you observed how colorful and inviting all websites of online stores look? They display the most interesting products on the homepage in an attractive manner, which seduces you into entering the website to make a buying decision. Not only this, but they have attractive animations and virtual stores which give you an experience of walking through actual stores while sitting in the comfort of your house. Similar to the strategy of retail stores, the pages of checkout direct you back to the products. This always ensures that you will shop more. The websites create an illusion that the products are pleasing to both, the eyes and the pockets. However, this may be far from the reality.

Place an Order Worth $100 and Get Free Coupons Worth $20


We have a tendency to think about getting as much free stuff as possible. And when it comes to free coupons, we ignore the price we have to pay in order to get them. Many stores even offer coupons for opening an account and placing the first order. The free coupons are then hand-delivered or emailed to your account. Sometimes, they even offer free gifts on purchases. Online stores capitalize on the fact that people do not mind extending their budget in order to get something free. Like many women, even I am guilty of buying unnecessary stuff to get extra coupons or free gifts. I once ended up spending on a really bad shade of lipstick because it was offering a free cosmetic pouch. The prospects of a free gift or coupons is too attractive to refuse.

Strategically Placed Ads Based on Your Searches


Have you observed that you were searching for something related to shoes, and suddenly there is an Ad on the side of the page showing you a beautiful pair of shoes. You are tempted to go to the page and check the offers of that store. You like the shoes and make a purchase. You may think that it is serendipity, that you were searching for shoes and could get the perfect pair. However, this is purely a propaganda of these online stores, where Ads pop up based on what you are browsing. Once you hit the Ad and go to their website, you are sure to be lured by the charm of their products. Many times, these websites also utilize social networking platforms to get your attention, and make you shell out your hard-earned money.

People Who Bought This Also Shopped For....


You must have definitely seen this line at the end of the page. Once you click on an individual product, you will be shown results of what other people bought along with that product. For example, you have opened a page of a beautiful party dress. The page will also show you what accessories, shoes, or bags other people bought along with this dress. Even when you had resolved to buy just one dress and log out, you will be enticed to buy matching accessories with it. Not only this, but it will also give you some attractive bottom-of-the-page deals, which will be too irresistible.

Easy Payment and Return Policies


Gone are the days when we would think twice before buying something if we didn't have the budget to support it. Today, many online websites offer cash-on-delivery, and a secure mode of payment, which means, you can save the money till the day of the delivery. Apart from this, they also have easy installment payment schemes, which gives the buyer time leverage. Some stores also offer a try-and-buy scheme, where a product is sent to your house, and you may buy it only if you like it. There are also easy-return policies, where, if you don't like a product, you may return it within a certain number of days. This makes me try out new products, which as my terrible record of shopping history suggests, I rarely return.

Wish Lists for the Future


So you are not in a position to spend money now! No problem. Add the products you like to your wish list. It is a general tendency that once we set our eyes on something, we dream about it day and night, until we acquire it. Adding products to your wish list makes you restless until you lay your hands on them. A wish list is a never-ending story. Observe, and you will understand that the list will only get longer and longer. The moment you revisit your wish list to make a buying decision, you will be tempted again to browse through new stock as well, and add more things to your wish list. Some grocery websites even give you a list of ingredients according to the recipe, and make suggestions based on the history of your lists.

Sales, Discounts and Other 'Schemes'


When big bright text showing 'call-to-action' words like - Sale, Discount 50% , Early Bird Discount, Get Three for the Price of One, Hurry Last Two Days of Sale, flash across the screen, my heart skips a beat. Immediately, I rush through the website to take advantage of the scheme optimally. I am sure most of us must be rushing to make the purchase. But what we do not know is that the slashed prices, discounts, etc., are a mirage. Most of the time, the price is raised and then discounted, so that it matches up with the product's original cost. When we buy a nail polish at a discounted price of $10, thinking its original cost was $20, we are actually paying the retail price of $10. Customers are kept posted about such schemes through SMSes or emails. A link taking the customer directly to the discount page is also provided.

Event and Seasonal Specials


Many times, you will start seeing special schemes around the time of a certain occasion or holiday season. For example, before Christmas, you will start seeing Christmas Gift Specials, Christmas Must-haves, etc. The look of the website will change to give it a Christmas feel. You will feel like buying gifts not only for others but also for yourself. They also offer pre-order bookings. For example, if a bestselling author's book is about to be released, people may book a copy for themselves. If Mother's Day is approaching, the online stores will start offering items like crockery, jewelry, cards, books, clothes etc., with a tag of Mother's Day Specials attached. All this will be so attractive that you will fall into the trap of buying more and more items, not only for your mother, but also for yourself.

Cashing in on Competitive Customers


If someone else is bidding for a product which you have laid your eyes on, the buying decision is taken even more quickly. Customers are extremely competitive in nature, and this is exactly what websites capitalize on. They introduce various schemes like Bidding for a Product, Deal of the Day, Ticking Clock, Limited Edition Sale, etc. We tend to immediately act upon things if we are challenged, and that is exactly what these online retail stores do. This also helps them sell a product at maximum cost, as people are ready to buy it for whatever it takes. Once I made an immediate buying decision thinking I would be the exclusive owner of a particular item after seeing the sign - Only 1 in Stock. However, the very next day I saw that the stock was updated to 25.

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