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Psychology of Shopping: 8 Amazing Thought Process When We Shop

Do you realize YOUR psychology of shopping?

Everyone shops regularly. But do you know how much psychology goes when we shop? 

You have your thoughts and opinion about products or brands or even salespeople in a store, but do you know how your thoughts process goes? 

There are a lot of factors involved in shopping, but the ones discussed in this post are the most apparent and can be seen if we pay attention to ourselves. 


When buying products, we have our expectations on the benefits that we’ll get. We buy things for the benefits it  can give us. When we pay, we have our willingness to pay and our perceived value of things

Willingness to pay is influenced by our perceived value of things. When we perceive something as highly valued, we are willing to spend more. For example, something branded can be sold at higher price compared to the same thing without brands. 

An example of this is the art piece that went viral, which is essentially a banana taped to a wall. It is just a banana, but the fact that it is known worldwide justify the fact that it sold at $120,000.

You can check out more here.

Rational Decision Making

A critical part in shopping is knowing the criteria of a product. We want to know all about it. This is us being rational while shopping as we want the best product with the most benefits. 

We also check advantages and disadvantages of buying a product or paying for a service. We want something that gives us advantages. When comparing products or services, all of us have differing opinions. 

We have our own importance on a criteria. Some people might need a scented soap, but someone else might prefer an antibacterial soap. These are all our mental gymnastics when making a rational decision. 


Emotions when shopping.

Our emotion plays a great part in deciding what we need for ourselves, and each different emotion makes us decide differently. 

For instance, happiness can make us buy things that enable us to connect with people or socialize but fear makes us find products or services with safety. Envy can make us buy something better when compared to a rival and greed make us buy more. 

Feeling of Attachment

We also have a feeling of attachment for things we can relate to or the things we touch. We might like brands with the same name as ours or a product that is engraved with our names. 

This is why salespeople make sure we touch a product or put it on when promoting, to make us feel an attachment towards the product. Salesperson are trained to play or trick the psychology of shopping.


Another part that is involved in the psychology of shopping, we tend to buy things with better practicality. We want the best price, the best feature, the most attractive packaging, the most known brands. Or when we know of a brand we want to keep using it, because we don’t want to try other brands. 

Willingness to Pay

Willingness to pay when shopping

To add on our willingness to pay, of course we would want products that are of optimal price for regular products. Paying too much for milk is a no, and paying too little for milk is suspicious. 

Our decision and willingness to pay are anchored by the market price. We tend to pay the price between too expensive and too cheap. 


We are also slightly affected by peer pressure, in the way we thought “if something is good for a lot of people, it must be good for myself.” A brand with many users is a trusted brand and we also feel compelled to use the same product. 

We also trust products that are endorsed by social figures. This is especially true with the Nike Air shoe series, which are shoes with compressed air, endorsed by a handful of the best athletes in their field like Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant and LeBron James. 

This shows that if a product is good for world class players, then it must be great in day-to-day business. We trust that athletes endorse a product for its trusted quality and its consistency. 


Last but not least, we consider convenience when shopping. We consider our mode of shopping, how long it would take to deliver if it’s online shopping, or how long it took to get to a store, or how nice the salespeople are in a store, or if we can shop alone and ask for help when needed. 

These are the things we consider when convenience is taking place. We want something that is easy for us, and time efficient. 


There are a lot of factors that are involved when we go shopping, and it isn’t just a one person behavior, it is a whole phenomenon of psychology of shopping, as we call it.  Which is why marketer use customer avatar to sell things.

You can read more about customer avatar here.

These are only the apparent role of psychology tricks when we shop but you can observe yourself and people around you for more, you might find something new! 

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