Shifts In Buying Practices Could Make You Vulnerable To Overspending


There’s no doubt that the rise of the digital economy paired with a population accustomed to quick deals and quicker transactions has resulted in very different approach to buying. Nowadays, consumers can access any item they could ever need or want by simply turning on their computers. But though it may seem a straightforward battle between in-store vs. online buying, it’s not quite that simple. Other buying techniques have splintered off and two distinct approaches have become the lead for consumer practices.

“Showrooming” vs “Webrooming”

 The term showrooming was coined to describe buyers who shop around for items in-store to find the best price before then purchasing the item online. A fairly straightforward process, it ensures the lowest online price with the benefit of handling and seeing a product. But another practice is starting to craft the way that businesses approach pricing models this upcoming season. Called “webrooming” it references the practice of shopping around online before purchasing the scouted item in stores. Webrooming is a way to avoid shipping fees while price shopping easily from the comfort of a desk. Because businesses use consumer patterns to consider the most effective ways to beat competition, “showrooming” and “webrooming,” have a part in dictating the way that prices are set.

So how does this impact you as a consumer?

Put simply – by adding confusion. These approaches are fairly simple and even intuitive ways to get the best deal. But, they also cause shifts in the marketing tactics taken by companies and businesses. This means hard-hitting marketing strategies, and very coordinated and detailed approaches to make you buy what they have to sell. And as such, the potential to fall prey to consumer temptation or play too far into marketing ploys can cost you in the long run. Though not always, price chasing can result in time, energy, or money lost. Keeping abreast of what techniques are utilized by businesses will help you to avoid overspending.

How To Avoid Overspending Online

With the potential to buy literally at our fingertips, the sheer ease of online shopping has caused it to become a preferred shopping option. But just as we have to be wary of marketing techniques in stores we also have to be wary of marketing techniques online. Companies will continue to accommodate consumer demands no matter where they lay – in person or online – and their marketing techniques will follow.

Keep your eye out for advertising ploys. If you’ve ever noticed that an item you’ve recently viewed starts to pop up in all your ad space – it’s not just a coincidence. Online shopping can also encourage extra spending via re-targeted ads.  Companies want you to see their product, especially if it’s something you at one time showed an interest in. So they’ll make sure that their ads follow you as you continue browsing elsewhere. With ad choices following you around, putting images of recently searched items directly in your eye-line it can wear you down to the point of purchase. To resist, understand what’s happening: advertising urging you to buy. Though ads are often inevitable, you can also avoid targeted ads by using incognito browser windows.

Another way to keep your spending under control is to make sure that price matching is actually valuable to you. Stores are starting to fight against the showrooming approach by promising price matches for any items you can find at a cheaper price online. These could potentially result in deals for consumers on the hunt for them. But before you buy an item, make sure it’s the item you intended to buy in the first place or one you actually need. If you’re buying it simply because it’s a good deal you might be spending money on things you hadn’t budgeted for.

Don’t always equate a low price with a good deal

Another way to avoid overspending is to keep in mind that not every low price is indicative of a good deal. Sometimes, the competition drives the price down on something that’s really great – but sometimes the low price is attached to something that wasn’t that valuable or useful to begin with. Make sure you consider if you feel that you’re getting the better or at the very least equal part of the bargain so as to avoid getting a deal on something that wasn’t really worth a deal to begin with.

Weigh your priorities fairly… Sometimes time is money

The price over-saturation could result in some consumers throwing up their hands in frustration. In a recent survey by Forbes on what led their purchasing decisions, participants indicated that it wasn’t so much the price that led their buying, it was the ease with with which they received their products that dictated their choice. Taken from that angle, it may not be such a bad idea to spend the 5 extra dollars to receive a product through a reputable company. After all, time is money.

Image Credit thinkretail

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  • Cait Flanders

    Retargeting is so brutal – especially if you don’t notice it, at first. Now when I notice it, it actually turns me off of the product. Hopefully your post will help open a few more people’s eyes, Claire!

    • Claire Murdough

      SO true! I’m haunted by Lord of the Rings salt and pepper shakers wherever I navigate. Though… I still kinda want them 🙂