What Keeps Your Customers Coming Back?

consumer spending
Duncan Switch Street Market

BEST SOUTHWEST — President of the Duncanville Chamber of Commerce, Steve Martin says, “Money that is spent close to home serves our city the best. I try to purchase everything that I can in either Duncanville or as close to home as I can by purchasing items in our Best Southwest area.”

However, let’s face it, shopping is a very personal experience for many people; where they shop, who they shop with and even exactly what propels them to shop and spend their money at all.

Amber Hatley, Chick-fil-A in Cedar Hill’s Marketing Director says she believes her restaurant recently won Focus Daily News’ Best Place for Kids “Best of” contest because of the food and that’s why parents and children alike eat there.

“I think the playground and the food,” she says. “I think the parents are happy to bring their kids here because the chicken is 100% chicken. Parents are comfortable feeding our nuggets to their kids because the food is a lot more nutritious than a lot of other fast food restaurants.”

Chick-fil-A also just introduced a new spicy chicken sandwich on June 9, another reason to spend your money.

Charlton Methodist Hospital, another Focus Daily News Reader’s Choice winner, has Kathleen Beathard, VP of Marketing and Public Relations, Methodist Health System adding in relation to consumer spending, “Methodist Charlton offers a wide variety of services to the community – from weight management options to minimally invasive procedures to improve the quality of life.”

Children, parents, shopaholics; what drives the consumer madness?

What Drives Consumer Spending?

According to a report released by Consumer Reports earlier this month says “Consumers have scaled back their interest in shopping,” but when shopping is a must what are people really thinking? Like take infomercials for example, who needs another Ronco Veg-o-Matic, but people buy stuff like this all the time.

Apparently, the secret for this type of shopping lies in neuroscience. Infomercials are carefully scripted to pump up dopamine levels in the brain, says Martin Lindstrom, an advertising expert and author of “Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy,” which details how ads affected 2,000 research subjects.

“Infomercials take viewers on a psychological roller-coaster ride,” Lindstrom says. The fun starts with dramatizations of a problem you didn’t know you had, followed by the incredible solution, then a series of ever more amazing product benefits, bonuses, and giveaways, all leading to the final thrilling plunge of an unbelievably low price. After the ride, Lindstrom says, “dopamine levels drop in five to six minutes. That’s why infomercials ask you to buy in the next three minutes.”

What else motivates a person to spend money? Here are a few more reasons you might recognize; you think it’ll buy you happiness, in fact, many people believe that by buying products and services will make their life happier; you feel guilty, many people try to get rid of their guilt by making up for it by purchasing material things even though they know that this will not completely solve the problem of the guilt, for example buying for children or a significant other; you think it will buy you love; you are trying to keep up with the Joneses, translated into spending a lot of money on things you don’t need; you can’t say no, but remember it’s only a bargain if you need it; you feel entitled; you lack financial knowledge or spending money makes you feel powerful.

Remember, while it is fine to spend money on things you need, the number one rule for financial freedom is spending less than you earn. Reportedly the U.S. has a negative savings rate with about 43% of American families spending more than they earn each year.

At the website www.yousaytoo.com, it notes “People have a certain amount of spendable income in their personal budget, and they spend the majority of that expendable cash in four general areas. This excludes necessities such as food, shelter and transportation and focuses strictly on the areas where people are most likely to spend their hard-earned cash. There is a difference between wants and needs, sometimes a fine line even, but the emotional appeal is often found in the list of wants.”

These wants include love think personal ads and online dating, beauty from anti-aging products to cosmetic surgery, health including preventative care to natural remedies to exercise and finally, entertainment meaning hobbies and personal interests in addition to the traditional ideas of entertainment, such as: movies, music, games, television, events and travel.

“My opinion is that spending is still strong in Cedar Hill, although consumers are looking for deals, sales, discounts and what have you to be able to stretch their money a little farther,” says Cedar Hill’s Chamber of Commerce President, Amanda Skinner. “I know some of our chamber members experienced some slower days and some were down in sales but lately things have been trending positive.”

Again, while it is okay to spend your money on what you can afford and need, some spending habits are worth looking into.

However, the biggest thing to remember, if you are shopping for that last minute gift, dinner, or you just need to buy something anyway, keep in mind what Martin says about putting money back into your own city’s economy.

“When we purchase items in our own area then we not only get the sales tax revenue, but the business owners in turn purchase from other businesses in our area which keeps circulating dollars in or close to our town,” concludes Martin. “I believe that I have heard it said that money spent is recycled seven times in our area.”