Anyone one of us could be an impulsive shopper. 

You could be having a bad day. Then find yourself at the mall, doing some retail therapy, and buying tons of things you don’t need. Perhaps even buy one item; however, that one item is so damn expensive. 

You are always one moment away from making yet another impulsive shopper decision. 

One of the key factors that influences you, as a consumer, to buy is the endowment effect

The endowment effect basically says,

“We place greater value on items because we own them.”

Adam Ferrier, The Advertising Effect: How to Change Behaviour

Read: What the IKEA effect can teach us about employee engagement

When you feel like you own an item even before buying it, you value it more. 

That’s why buying when the make-up artist in Sephora applies some eye shadow on your face, you have a look at the mirror, you see yourself incredibly beautiful, and then guess what? You end-up buying the eye shadow set, only to know you have no clue how to apply it to yourself when you go back home. I know. I know because that happened to me.

Go the Nespresso shop, and you will find yourself trying different coffee capsules. You think, “Ah, I am having great free coffee.” But again, you will find yourself walking out the shop with a new coffee machine.

Try that mini chocolate sample in the middle aisle of a super market, and watch your hands grab one or two chocolate bars. 

The endowment effect has an incredible effect on our impulsive shopping decisions. Here is a tip to use when you find yourself trying those samples. 

The tip is… 

Wash your hands. 

What? Why? Wash my hands?

Washing your hands washes away the impact the endowment effect had on you.

“In 2013, well-known Austrian researcher Arnd Florack and colleagues found that washing your hands after holding an item will mitigate the endowment effect. As they explain, ‘the physical action of hand washing can reset the cognitive system to a more neutral state by reducing the asymmetrical perception of owned and not owned products’ (Florack et al. 2013). Their findings support those from a field of study known as ‘embodied cognition’, which looks at the interrelationship between our cognitions, and how they are influenced by what happens to us physically. So if you’re feeling uncomfortable about an impending sale, and don’t want to overvalue something simply because you’ve held onto it, then go and wash your hands.” — Adam Ferrier, The Advertising Effect: How to Change Behaviour 

I am going to give it a try, how about you?

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