How Companies Learn Your Secrets

How Companies Learn Your Secrets

For anyone who has ever struggled to curb their spending, here is a good reason why:  Teams of brilliant scientists are working diligently to entice you to spend.    This article not only describes how companies assemble and decipher the data they collect on your purchases, but it also shares research on habits (i.e. how they are formed, why they are difficult to change, etc.) and a great story the roll this played on the development of the product ‘Febreze’.  One of the more interesting articles I have read in a long time; it is well worth the read.

Excerpt from the article:

They learned that most shoppers paid almost no attention to how they bought these products, that the purchases occurred habitually, without any complex decision-making. Which meant it was hard for marketers, despite their displays and coupons and product promotions, to persuade shoppers to change.

But when some customers were going through a major life event, like graduating from college or getting a new job or moving to a new town, their shopping habits became flexible in ways that were both predictable and potential gold mines for retailers. The study found that when someone marries, he or she is more likely to start buying a new type of coffee. When a couple move into a new house, they’re more apt to purchase a different kind of cereal. When they divorce, there’s an increased chance they’ll start buying different brands of beer.

Consumers going through major life events often don’t notice, or care, that their shopping habits have shifted, but retailers notice, and they care quite a bit. At those unique moments, Andreasen wrote, customers are “vulnerable to intervention by marketers.” In other words, a precisely timed advertisement, sent to a recent divorcee or new homebuyer, can change someone’s shopping patterns for years.

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