The frequency of sales have increased over the past several years since the economic slowdown reared its ugly head. More specifically, the usage of the word “sale” has increased by businesses of every product or service imaginable. The degree to which the price has been reduced or in proper terms the perceived value proposition has increased for the buyer is sometimes questionable. The “sale” is more often a factor of the marketing mix designed to stimulate the buyer. The standard marketing mix has been around for decades, The Four P’s.
Kotler’s Black Box Model took this many steps forward to include internal and external stimuli, as well as decision influencers. Click on for better view
To most a sale indicates something is cheaper than the normal price, or the retail price, which is usually heavily marked up anyways.
To others a sale may mean the end of a certain product’s life cycle and the clear out in anticipation of something new such as 2010 model cars. No matter what it means, we now feel pressured to buy and then feel good about saving money.
Paul Harrison, in his post Sale – Read this post, now! defines the reaction to a sale more clinically.
“The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex , which is the part of our brain that handles rational thinking, deduction, and abstract thought, requires a significant amount of energy to fire up. So when we see a sale, we give more weight to that particular stimuli, and trust that we will be rewarded for responding.”
I was recently lured to not just any sale, but a “warehouse sale” expecting all sorts of bargains since my perception was thousands of items at unbelievably low prices, shipped in from hundreds of stores. (My imagination is fueled by sales!) I was disappointed. It turned out to be a large room full of a single manufacturer’s product stacked high in boxes and bins. The prices were more expensive than if I bought the same products on sale at any store, however people had carts full, simply because they perceived that a bargain was to be had.
In one row there were several bins marked $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00. When I inquired, I was told there was no mixing and matching, even though they were all the same price, made by the same company. I felt like Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, but I moved on. I walked around for fifteen minutes, then I left with nothing, however I had the same feeling as if I had scored a bargain.
When you see that big SALE sign, control your impulses and check things out as an educated consumer! The “sale” may simply be a company selling you.