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How Are Online Shopping Sites Draining Your Wallet?

Have you noticed how you end up buying a lot of stuff online without even wanting it sometimes? Much later you realise, hey, I already had something similar, or I never needed this thing. How did I end up buying it?!


Today I'll tell you how this has happened. The brands and businesses in the current era are brilliant. They've delved into consumer psychology and know exactly which buttons to press to get you to buy their products and services. Here are some tactics they use to ensure you end up shopping way more than you intend to!


Here's how they're emptying your pockets


1. Personalized Recommendations

You're scrolling through your favourite online store and suddenly stumble upon a section labelled "Recommended for You." It feels like the website knows you quite well, almost like a friend guiding you through the endless options.


Those personalized recommendations are like a gentle nudge, whispering, "Hey, you might like this too." It makes you think - Maybe I need this? It might be useful- and you end up buying it!


2. Limited-Time Offers and Discounts Leading To FOMO

Have you seen the countdown timers ticking away next to a tempting offer? It's like a race against time, and you can feel your heart racing along with it. The fear of missing out kicks in, and before you know it, you've clicked "Buy Now" to secure that special deal before it vanishes into thin air.


You're casually browsing through a website when you see a banner flashing "Last Chance!" in bold letters. Your heart skips a beat as you realize that time is running out to snag that dream item. The thought of regretting not seizing the opportunity pushes you to hit that "Add to Cart" button without a second thought.


3. Social Proof

You're eyeing that sleek gadget, but before you can ponder over it and make a decision, you notice the stars shining brightly below it, accompanied by glowing reviews from fellow shoppers.


It's like having a cheering crowd in your corner, reassuring you that you're making the right choice. Who can resist joining the satisfied club of happy customers? You're more than convinced that this is the product for you and it will make life so much easier or nicer.


However, these reviews could be genuine OR fake, you can never tell. Sometimes, these are paid reviews. In other cases, customers are lured to post fake reviews in return for some cashback on the amount paid for the purchase.


4. Influencer Marketing

Picture your favourite social media influencer showcasing a product on their feed, raving about how it's changed their life.


Suddenly, that item goes from being just another product to a must-have lifestyle accessory. Their endorsement feels like a personal recommendation from a trusted friend, and you can't help but want to be a part of that world.


5. Loss Aversion

Imagine reading a product description that highlights all the problems it solves and the headaches it prevents.

That new mobile with a high-definition camera,

the new serum that will brighten your skin overnight,

a new laptop with high memory and great display,

the multipurpose rechargeable trimmer,

a brand new negative ion hair dryer,

or simply the toilet brush that reaches all nooks and crannies? (that is important, ok?),

are all very attractive buys, aren't they?


Suddenly, it's not just about what you gain by purchasing; it's about avoiding all the potential losses and inconveniences if you don't. It's like a weight lifted off your shoulders, knowing that this purchase will spare you from future frustrations.


6. Anchoring

You're browsing through a list of products when you come across one with a hefty price tag slashed in half. Instantly, your brain latches onto that initial high price, making the discounted one seem like an absolute steal.


It's like getting VIP treatment without the VIP price tag, and who wouldn't want to feel like a savvy shopper scoring a bargain? After all, it's nice to show off a Zara or Louis Vuitton while paying a small fraction of the price.


But you forget that the fraction is not a small amount for you as it is. The brand makes you believe it is premium and hence will make you feel important by owning it.


7. Cognitive Biases

Every time you read a positive review or see a persuasive ad, your brain subconsciously seeks out information that goes with your desire to make a purchase. It's like having a cheerleader rooting for you, boosting your excitement and drowning out any doubts or hesitations.


You are always focusing on information that resonates with what you actually want, rather than negative news relating to the item or service. Before you know it, you're happily clicking "Proceed to Checkout," fueled by the encouraging echo of positive reinforcement.


8. Gamification

Imagine shopping online and unlocking virtual badges, earning reward points, and levelling up with each purchase. It's like turning an ordinary task into an exhilarating game, where every click brings you one step closer to victory.


Before you know it, you're hooked, eagerly anticipating the next level and the next reward, adding more items to your cart. Those extra points or coins will help you get more discounts and buy more, all the while making you buy more than you need as it is.


In a world where every click, swipe, and scroll is meticulously designed to capture your attention and ignite your desires, it's no wonder that online websites and apps have mastered the art of persuasion. Through a powerful blend of personalized recommendations, limited-time offers, social proof, influencer endorsements, and psychological manipulation tactics, they leave you spellbound. Hence, they effortlessly entice you to eagerly indulge in the allure of online shopping.


But now that you know of it, save yourself the trouble and money, and beware of all these gimmicks! Do you want an article on how to save yourself from giving in to mindless shopping? Tell me in the comments!

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