The Brain Sell | How the New Mind Sciences and the Persuasion Industry Are Reading Our Thoughts, Influencing Our Emotions, and Stimulating Us to Shop

Summary of: The Brain Sell: When Science Meets Shopping
By: How the New Mind Sciences and the Persuasion Industry Are Reading Our Thoughts, Influencing Our Emotions, and Stimulating Us to Shop


In today’s world, shopping is more than just a transaction. It’s an experience that is influenced by various psychological and emotional factors. ‘The Brain Sell: When Science Meets Shopping’ is a fascinating exploration of how our minds are influenced by retailers, advertisers, and manufacturers, exponentially shaping our shopping habits. The book summary outlines the different types of shoppers, how a product turns into a ‘want-need’, the significant impact of body language and sensory experiences on our choices, and ways to resist impulse shopping and maintain online safety.

The Two Types of Shoppers

Shopping may seem like a simple task, but according to psychologists, neuroscientists, and behavioral analysts, there are two types of shoppers: those who go shopping and those who do shopping. Those who go shopping do it for fun, while those who do shopping see it as a chore. When you do shopping, you rush in, grab what you need, and get out ASAP. On the other hand, those who go shopping linger in the store and admire the products. These are the people that advertisers, manufacturers, and retailers should attract to their brand. The book delves deeper into how to attract those who go shopping to your brand.

The Power of Restricting Supply

By restricting the supply of a product, its demand can be transformed into a want-need. Companies such as Apple have used this technique to create hype around their products. This technique has been around since the 1920s when Listerine capitalized on Americans’ anxieties regarding love and acceptance.

Are you familiar with the feeling of wanting a new pair of sneakers so much that you can’t get them out of your mind? This feeling is what marketers refer to as turning a product into a want-need. One way to create this effect is by restricting the supply of the product, a technique that companies like Apple have used to generate excitement and hype around the release of new products.

By restricting the number of iPhones available during the first few days after release, for example, those who manage to get their hands on one become trendsetters and whet the desire of others. Those who don’t have the latest iPhone may feel inadequate, which can be used to draw in customers by making them feel like they won’t fit into their environment until they purchase the product.

The power of restricting supply can be traced back to the 1920s, when Listerine capitalized on Americans’ anxieties regarding love and acceptance caused by bad breath. Listerine’s strong antiseptic mouthwash ads depicted dejected men and women who were eager for love but foiled by their foul breath. The company’s revenues increased from $115,000 to over $8 million in just seven years, thanks to this advertising technique.

In conclusion, by limiting the supply of a product, companies can turn its demand into a want-need, generating excitement and hype around its release. This technique has been used for decades by successful companies like Apple and Listerine, showing how powerful it can be for driving sales and increasing revenue.

Impact of Body Language in Retail

The way a sales representative presents themselves through body language can greatly affect the customer’s perception of their competence. High-power poses, such as wide stances or hands on hips, evoke self-confidence and competence. In contrast, low-power poses like folded arms or crossed legs can make them appear dismissive or incompetent. Additionally, the way customers are made to bend their arms through store layout and product placement can also impact their buying choices. Arm flexion is associated with a desire to acquire, while arm extension is linked with rejection. As a result, companies can entice customers to purchase more by utilizing lower shelves and shopping baskets, which encourage bending the arms rather than extending them. Overall, body language is crucial in the retail industry and can lead to increased sales if utilized effectively.

Music and Aroma in Marketing

The power of music and aroma in marketing lies in their ability to affect our mood and buying behavior. Retailers often strategically choose music tempo and genre to influence shoppers, while certain aromas can evoke emotions that lead to increased sales. Companies can also use oxytocin to generate trust in customers. However, consumers can avoid falling into marketing traps by being aware of these tactics.

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