Very few people don’t know what Black Friday is. This last Friday in November brings with it discounts and offers in just about every shop in your towns or cities, and, of course, on all online sales platforms.
In the weeks before this date, many people think about what discounted items they’d like to purchase. But do you really know the psychological phenomena behind all these marketing strategies?
The primary purpose of Black Friday is to increase and focus consumption. Throughout the whole year, advertising tries to tell people exactly what they need, and on this day there is a massive surge, accompanied by thousands of price drops (not all of them genuine). What they’re saying to us is: “If you want it, now is the time to get it”.
The fact is that large companies use the knowledge behind social psychology to increase their sales volumes. They often do it in a discreet and covert way, but others are much more blatant. What is certain is that people now mark this day off in their own personal calendars. Even if there’s a long way ahead to this date, there will be people who’re already looking forward to it and planning to treat themselves to the whims that they have in mind. In this article, we’re going to try and explain how companies try to make people feel especially motivated to buy things on that day.
1. Black Friday: Awakening urgency and need
The fact that there is an expiry date to the offers and discounts creates an urgency to buy a product that you probably don’t really need. Yes, you can obviously live without that product, but are you really going to let that opportunity slip away?
Black Friday also succeeds due to its proximity to the Chr|istmas holidays, which increases the concept of urgency dramatically. This makes people think that it would be crazy to miss the opportunity to buy something at a discount now, only to have to buy it at a higher price a few weeks later.
All of this creates a sort of madness in the consumers faced with all these “exclusive” articles on sale. On top of that, they’re bombarded by publicity for many weeks beforehand, and this helps make them feel it’s the event that shouldn’t be missed. The adverts are very diverse in style and can reach out to people with very different lifestyles and backgrounds.
2. Selling a product in exchange for happiness
Our emotions, contrary to what some may think, have a great influence on the financial decisions we make, including those related to consumerism. As we have said, contrary to what people may think, spending isn’t directed so much by real needs as by perceived needs.
During the days and weeks prior to the big day, people have plenty of time to fantasize about what we want to buy. These are usually things you cannot really afford at their normal prices. However, you think that, when the day arrives, you’ll get a good discount and it’ll finally be yours.
In addition, this gives you time to imagine how “amazing” your life will be with that item, and to convince yourself that you really do need it. Having imagined all of these positive feelings, there’s no way that you’re going to deny yourself that pleasure, and you’ll have no choice but to give in to the temptations of Black Friday. You’d be crazy if you let this opportunity slip by, right?
3. The prices nullify your critical thinking
Acquiring products at discounted prices produces a pleasure that can nullify our critical thinking, that is, our capacity for reasoning. Experts know that people’s brains go into “buy mode” as soon as they enter a store. As of that moment, it’s the shop assistants’ job to try and convince you to spend your money.
The marketing strategies used by large companies seek to get more customers and sell them exactly what they want at the price they have previously decided. This price is probably still high, but their strategy is that the consumer can see that the initial price was much higher. That is, where advertising again tries to generate the urgency to buy a product that you don’t actually need.
Yes, you’ll probably end up buying something that you don’t really need at some point. And I probably will do too. But at least we’ll do it consciously if we take into account what we’ve been talking about here, and we’ll also realize that these supposed Black Friday “bargains” will just end up burning a hole in our pockets.