Why Shoppers NEED Special Offers

Why Shoppers NEED Special Offers

Britain’s supermarkets axe deals on hundreds of products as customers say they waste food and drink after being encouraged to buy more than they need. But...

Whatever shoppers tell you with their collective rational minds, remember that we buy emotionally and justify rationally. The cold hard truth is that as shoppers, we like promotions. We like the buzz of getting ‘something for nothing’. Nothing pleases us more than ‘getting one over’ on the retailer’.

Does anyone remember the J.C. Penney Debacle of 2014? They too ditched promotions in favour of EDLP (Everyday low pricing). Their strategic mistake was to replace promotional prices with everyday low prices.

The old policy had been working well because it hyped consumer emotions, making them feel astute. After this change of strategy, JC Penney basically took away the shopper’s sense of achievement from making a saving.

To be fair, JC Penney has since brought back the original pricing strategy. But so far they have failed to bring the excitement back, offering a valuable lesson to modern marketers: Once the buzz is gone, it is hard to revive it.

Psychologically, the message is clear. Shoppers want and need special offers!

I have been studying the psychology of promotions and human emotion for a number of years now and have identified 497 specific psychological rules and behavioural traits that relate directly to the perceived desirability of an added value product in-store.

The key to successful added value offers in terms of not misleading shoppers and yet giving them a sense of reward is to understand how they really mentally respond to promotions in-store. And unfortunately you can’t do that by asking them!

Most promotional influence takes place in human working memory which retains information for a maximum of 18 seconds. Either that or special offers impact on the mental reward centres that operate below conscious awareness.

In summary, when it comes to special offers, studying actual behaviour reveals much more than paying attention to any claimed behaviour.

So let’s not scrap all the offers, but instead work towards better in-store promotion. Something that provides added value for shoppers. Between us we can make things better: Better for brands, better for businesses and most importantly better for shoppers and consumers.

Found this blog post useful?

Why not get a FREE brand review to boost your brand communications...

About Phillip Adcock

My name is Phillip Adcock: I have more than 30 years of human behavioural research and analysis, and have developed a unique ability to identify what it is that makes people psychologically and physiologically 'tick'.

Would you like to know more about how shoppers and consumers think? Download my FREE guide now. Alternatively, check out, where there are more FREE downloads available there. Or why not simply email me with what's on your mind?

If you think there is value in this article then please, please share it, thank you.

Phillip Adcock

Phillip Adcock CMRS
Psychology & Behaviour
Change Consultant

Phillips Signature

Explore our Brainsights

The Business Benefits of Behavioural Science Coaching

Understanding human behaviour is key to business success, this behavioural science coaching offers a powerful tool to unlock your organisation's full potential.

Read Story

Behavioural Science & Shopper Psychology Workshops

Are you ready to unlock the power of Behavioural Science & transform your business with Shopper Psychology-based insights?

Read Story

Get the latest brainsights straight to your email box

We will never share your email address with third parties.
By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy and provide consent to receive updates from our company.