Yes, also this year the long-awaited moment has arrived, when we finally have the opportunity to spend some time with our family or to see some old friends again.
Personally, I’m not a fanatic of the Christmas holidays, either for the confusion that there is out there, but especially for the fact of being forced to buy the “due” gifts.
By the way, as I imagine you too, I haven’t believed in Santa Claus for a long time, and to be honest, I don’t even believe in the religiousness of Christmas itself. But I’m sorry, I don’t want to ruin your feasts.
However, by now Christmas has become the time of year when most purchases are made.
The figures are impressive and, from an economic point of view, it represents a crucial moment for companies.
Some more, others less, have linked the turnover of their company to the sales made during this time of year.
There are fields, such as that of toys for example, that actually survive thanks to Christmas purchases. Others, although still suffering the influence, are not involved that much.
In any case, the numbers speak clearly: Christmas sales are the driving force for many sectors of the western economy.
Unfortunately, there are also some bad surprises under the tree.
The first is that, immediately after this euphoric period, sales fall significantly.
Actually, this is a physiological condition, and unless you sell products that satisfy basic needs, the drop that occurs in the following weeks and months is quite significant.
The second “gift” is closely related to the way to buy, or better, the real reason why many people buy.
I refer to those purchases which are made not for real need or desire, but only to appease an emotional discomfort: the so-called compulsive purchases.
A sort of magic pill, which once swallowed, makes everything pass.
In the most serious cases, the compulsive purchase is considered a real pathology, a psychological disorder that affects 5.8% of the population, of which 80% are women.
But the statistics are not clement even with us boys, given that the percentage is constantly growing thanks to e-commerce.
In fact, who doesn’t feel a fine and very pleasant discharge of dopamine when the postman rings with an Amazon package? I do, I admit it.
These statistics are not at all surprising, because, nowadays, people are increasingly more frustrated, angry and stressed.
Unfortunately, this kind of emotional compensation, ephemeral and short-lasting, soon gives place to the so-called buyer remorse, or the repentance and the sense of guilt that the person feels shortly after buying.
And it’s an endless loop, and you buy, you repent, you buy again, you repent…
During the Christmas period – but actually, all times when people are driven tobuy, as during the Black Friday – it is proven by statistics that compulsive purchases increase exponentially.
Excellent deal, you’ll say if you produce and sell consumer products.
Actually, and recently with increasing evidence, this explosion hides a tremendous scenario.
So what is this factor, which is making this human mind bug, a real biblical plague for companies and retailers?
We know that, regardless of the used channel, whether it is online or off-line, today all purchases can be returned with extreme ease.
Maybe in Italy we are still far behind with this service, especially for purchases made in physical stores, but in Europe and the rest of the world, it is now standard practice to return a product without having to justify anything. Either you change it with something else, or you get your money back.
Recently, in the United Kingdom, a real cry alarm was launched, as these three factors together are putting companies in serious trouble.
Now, imagine next month receiving back 10 or 15% of the products you sold.
From the Christmas euphoria to the despair of the financial disaster.
And it doesn’t matter if as a manufacturer you don’t feel involved. Because inevitably your dealers will want from you discounts and facilitations on future purchases to compensate these situations, and in some cases, they will no longer want your products in their stores.
Moreover, you can’t do anything about it, because today it’s unimaginable not to give consumers the possibility – in addition to the one required by law – to return their purchases within a reasonable time.
In fact, it is precisely this option that often facilitates the purchase of a particular product, which otherwise would not have happened.
I do not think that it is a secret that the possibility of return or refunding reduces consumer distrust greatly and makes acquiring new customers easier.
At this point, it would seem that there is no way out, but if you are mindful to how the human mind works, and how your customers think, the solution is there.
It is always located in the heads of our customers, and it is another characteristic bias of the human mind.
It is the fear of loss – or loss of earnings – in English FOMO, Fear of Missing Out.
FOMO is an extremely powerful and uncontrollable compulsive behavior, which literally means “fear of being cut off” and has both social and behavioral implications.
Pass on the social implications area, for giving some concrete examples, compulsive concern is the one that is used in expiring offers, in exclusive offers, in advertisements with relevant testimonials, and so on.
It is based on the assumption that loss, detachment, not owning something, pushes us to make unconscious decisions, even if they are extremely tangible.
This is the trick on which we must base the solution to this scourge, and we must press it hard before the devastating effects of this new way of reasoning of people, sweep away the labours of a whole lifetime.
Now that you know you have such a powerful antidote at your disposal, I imagine you’re wondering how you can use this trick to save your business.
I give you good news, because maybe you are already using it, even if in a superficial and unaware way.
Let’s take a practical example to understand each other better. Follow me carefully because what I’m about to tell you could change the way you sell your products forever.
Imagine that you are in a shop making purchases and that you are faced with two nearly identical products.
One has a stamp that certifies, for example, its biological origin; the other does not. Which one would you choose?
I imagine the organic one…obvious!
And do you know why?
Not because you thought the product you bought was better, but rather because the one without a badge was definitely worse.
That’s how it works; do you really think that all the certified products are better than others?
It’s a trick, a perception manipulation, and whether you like it or not marketing and sales are all about manipulation.
It’s however, up to you to decide to cheat consumers or offer them what they actually need.
It’s incredible how things really are.
That simple sticker allows manufacturers to leverage the consumer’s loss aversion feeling.
You just have to make sure your customers can find a solution in your products, that justifies their choice and avoid them making a wrong purchase.
To achieve this goal, you must not only work on the quality of your products, but upon the perception they get, compared to your competitors’ products.
You have to make them believe that if not buying your product, they will have lost an opportunity; in other words, they would have suffered a loss.
You probably don’t like the thought of manipulating people at all, and I agree with you. Still, as I said before, it is up to you to decide how to behave, because in any case, whatever you do to sell your products comes under the field of manipulation.
It’s not your fault, it’s the human brain that works in that way.
Let’s put it this way: why instead of convincing – alias, manipulate – your customers with discounts and promotions, don’t you try to convince them to buy your products because they are perceived better than those of your competitors?
Your company’s coffers will thank you.
Sell & Succeed
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