Tips for sensible shopping


The sole purpose of writing this article is to bring to the limelight the drastic change in people's approach and mindset towards shopping nowadays. Shopping has become more of a casual activity nowadays, giving rise to some erratic and unwanted shopping behavior. The article tries to give insight into sensible shopping.

Introduction

From the neighborhood kirana store to hypermarkets and from brick and mortar stores to online shopping, there has been a mammoth change in the way shopping experience has evolved in recent years. Shopping which at one time was based on necessity is now based on comforts and luxuries and has transformed into a hobby and a pass time activity. Due to rising income levels, people no more buy strictly for their needs but also end up in buying the things for which there may not be a requirement as such.
The drawback of this is that people end up in wasting their hard earned money which they could have saved and invested in more meaningful ways. "Work more, earn more and spend more" is the tagline being followed mostly by people earning good incomes, especially in big/metro cities. Let me be very clear here that there are people who in spite of earning good money still they are very prudent as far as spending money on shopping is concerned. They think, analyze their needs and then buy. But still, I see comparatively people exhibiting random and unthinkable shopping behavior are more common to find and hence my intent is to highlight this problem.

Let us now try to look at factors responsible for this newly evolved shopping behavior among certain sections of the population.

Factors responsible for the unplanned and unintended shopping

  • Rising income levels - In recent years income levels of people have risen to a great extent compared to earlier days and also more and more families are having dual earning members. Due to this disposable income of the people has increased which motivates them to create new needs and then spend more on shopping.

  • Advent of Hypermarkets and shopping malls - Last few years have seen a flurry of shopping malls, supermarkets and hypermarkets emerging at all corners of a city or a town. This has led to an immense change in the shopping behavior as with the advent of hypermarkets and supermarkets wide varieties of products are displayed and huge choices are available to the people. They have just to choose the products displayed on the shelves and put them into their shopping basket. Another factor here is that since everything is displayed on shelves in front of the customers it is more tempting as customers get to see different kind of products which they were not earlier aware of and they end up in buying them.

  • Popularity of online shopping – Recent growth in online shopping trend among the people is another major factor responsible for this casual shopping behavior. Online shopping sites like Amazon, Flipkart etc have become a popular choice now among most of the households. Apart from these two popular sites, many other online shopping websites have also come up to grant people even more options. People now find it very easy and time-saving to sit in the comfort of their sofa and see a wide variety of products on their computer screen. They do not need to waste their time and fuel to go to the markets and malls. Plus there are good discounts available sometimes for the products in online shopping websites. So this comfort of shopping from home together with huge varieties of products available at click of a button makes people tempted to shop more.

  • Show off culture in the society – Nowadays in well to do families culture of show off is emerging where people tend to compete with their neighbors, friends, and relatives in terms of buying new things. They think that if my neighbor has it why can't I get it? If their children have it why can't my child have it? In such kind of unhealthy competition, people often forget whether it is their need and is it going to be useful and simply end up in buying the items out of their showcasing attitude.

  • Offers and discounts – Nowadays various offers, discounts and Sale going on in various shopping malls and branded outlets is a major reason responsible for people engaging in over shopping. Different brand chains in a shopping mall are found to come up with various offers during festive seasons or even otherwise. These offers are like Buy 3, Get 3 free, Flat 40% discount, Up to 60% discount, Shop for Rs 3000 and get goods worth Rs 3000 free etc. In case of Up to 60% discount, you will see that word "Up to" will be written very minutely so that it is not visible clearly for people to read and people may enter the shop thinking it is flat 60% discount. Most people find all these offers very lucrative and they end up buying the goods over and above their need just because offers and discounts are there. For example, a person may have gone for shopping with a mindset of buying 2 shirts but when he sees offers like buy 4 get 4 free then sometimes he is tempted to buy 4 shirts and thus overspending.

    Sometimes, if we carefully note, many of these offers given by shopping outlets are misleading and a mere eyewash. These offers mainly aim at making customers shop more and more and thus earn profit due to the high volume of sale. Sometimes you may see that even after the huge discount price of the goods is not something which is very cheap, it is just what it should be or even more than that whereas people think that since they are getting discount on MRP it is cheap. Consider an example of 50% discount on a branded shirt whose MRP is Rs 2500. So even if its price is Rs 1250 after discount it does not seem to be cheap. Again it is a practice sometimes to raise the MRP and then provide discount so that customer feels that it is under discounted price and buys it.

    Of course, this is not a rule and many of the offers and discounts are really worth buying and they do save your money. So there is no harm in going for those offers and discounts when they seem worth going for and are pocket-friendly. But we need to be careful while shopping with some misleading offers and discounts which are merely meant to make people shop more and spend more while not giving goods of good quality.

  • Craze for branded goods and mall shopping – Many people have a craze for branded goods and believe that whatever is branded is of good quality and rest is bad. They think that not using branded things will reduce their respect and reputation. But if you compare it is seen that for same quality branded goods are much costlier than unbranded and local goods. Spending on branded goods means such people need to shell out more money and hence their shopping expenses are always on the rise. Another craze with few people is shopping at malls and air-conditioned showrooms only thinking that goods will be of good quality and it also adds to their standard. But sometimes it is seen that similar products are cheaper in the local roadside markets and shops compared to shopping malls. But these people do not prefer or consider it below their dignity to shop from up city markets. Hence again they spend more on their shopping.

  • Demerits of this casual shopping approach

    This casual shopping approach has several demerits on various fronts which we need to understand. In short term, we may tend to enjoy it but it can have some long-term implications as narrated below.

  • Wastage of money and reduced savings– For any person exhibiting casual and carefree shopping behavior it is a fact that they will end up in spending more money on shopping then is actually required. This may make a dent in their savings and investments for future. Since we never know what is in store for us in future, any unpleasant situations like unemployment, huge medical expenses, bad health which may prevent a person to work and earn may place a person under crisis. He may not have enough savings at that time to handle the situation. Had he been careful in his spending from beginning then probably he could have saved more for the bad times.

  • Develops into a habit – People who do easy shopping often develop into a habit of buying the things they find attractive very easily without thinking twice about it. If something becomes a habit it is very difficult to change. It becomes tempting. So for such a person in case, the need arises in future to cut down their shopping expenses may be due to financial problems then it becomes difficult for them to adjust to it and change their habit.

  • Wrong message to children – When parents engage in easy and carefree shopping behavior where they easily go on picking up things it sends a very wrong message to their children who often accompany them for shopping. They also start learning this trait from their parents and there are chances that they will grow up with this mindset. We all have seen nowadays how even small kids who accompany their parents in shopping malls pick up trolleys and baskets on their own and start picking up the things from the shelves. We cannot blame them for this children do what they see.

  • Materialistic mindset – Unnecessary and unrequired shopping sometimes makes a person develop materialistic mindset. They will always tend to look for more and more material comfort in future. This may prove harmful in future as they may not find happiness in anything that is non-materialistic and intangible. Material comforts are all temporary so such people may face discomfort when they are not able to fulfill their materialistic desires.

  • Concluding message

    Having seen all this let us be more prudent and mindful while shopping and have our eyes and mind open. Where there is a real difference in quality, spending more for durability makes a sense but just buying expensive goods without any justification to go for it seems to be a waste of money. Also, we should also carefully analyze our needs for present and future to see what is required and what is not and then decide shopping accordingly. We should not get carried away by misleading offers and discounts and do over shopping and spend our hard earned money. We never know what the future has in store for us and if we save money by avoiding needless shopping and invest it in more meaningful areas like studies, education, property, policies etc then it makes a better sense. If this habit of sensible shopping is cultivated in mind then it will save us lot of money for future and can be boon during tough financial times. We should know that our income is not going to come for a lifetime and we have to retire, so better to save early and have a good retired life. If we exhibit control over our shopping behavior then we would be able to cultivate the same in our children too when they grow up.

    I am not at all opposing shopping here. Let us shop for what is required and do it sensibly with proper analysis. Idea is to be content and avoid needless shopping.


    Comments

    Author: Natarajan08 Jan 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 10

    The mammoth change that the author refers to is bascially the way marketing is done, targetted marketing direct and indirect is so well established that the malls,products,websites everything is desgined in a way that you have to part from your money.

    The rising levels of pay packages mean that people have more to dispose and for some it becomes an obession or a status symbol to have a TagHeuer watch, a flashy Benz or a Merc, a string of branded designer clothes etc. There's no harm in it as long as one can afford it.

    Entering a supermarket is more than just buying goods we need, it's also letting ourselves to be tricked to part with our money in the form of buying things we never needed. Even while you are the checkout, you find attractive display of chocolates for kids, sophisticated shavers for men, perfumes for women etc.

    Trying entering a supermarket to look for the essential items like Dhal,Rice,Pulses, Salt etc, its often at the back end, you have to walk across the supermarket and getting tempted with the products that are displayed strategically along the way.

    Online shopping is easy but also addicitive because of premier status,free deilvery and discounts that force us to click that button to add it in the basket. The moment you add one, many sites have pop ups, other shoppers have also bought these items, this is seen with electronic and home goods.

    Many look at the MRP and the price after disocunt and get impressed. If we think logically, how can a vendor give a discount of 50-90%. The trick apart from stock clearance, sales drive is the MRP itself; there is no law to say what MRP should be because it is the Maximum retail price which has a good margin built in it.

    Glad that the author has highlighted the adverse spin-off due to this unregulated shopping. I've seen people becomes spend thrifts and at the end of the month, they have to take an advance or borrow money or dip into their savings to pay for other needs as they have spent more than they can afford in that month. Children and teenagers learn quickly for us that yes, it is OK to shop and spend like this.

    Shopping is good relaxing experience that we have to indulge in, but we should not becomes obsessed and give into it. Also try supporting the local market while buying groceries, simple products for home and daily use so that the small local business also thrives rather than only the giant MNCs.

    Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao11 Jan 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 6

    There is a hell lot of change in the purchasing trend of people. The main reason for this is the availability of more funds and decrease in the value of the money. In the earlier days, need-based marketing was the order of the day whereas these days it is casual marketing. Another reason for this change is the availability of credit card. Earlier days we used to plan the purchase and accordingly used to carry the money with us. But these days you can walk into the shop and select whatever you want and just swipe the card. So unplanned purchasing is increasing. I still feel this is not the correct way of spending.
    These days nobody wants to go for unbranded products and are always trying to go for branded products even though the cost is very adsorbent. This trend is creating an unhealthy situation for Indian based small and medium scale industries and they are dying down which is not a welcome feature. So the Indians should understand the complexity of the problem and should encourage local industries.

    Author: T.M.Sankaran20 Jan 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 7

    The very meaning of the word shopping has changed of late. Earlier, shopping was done when a family actually needed certain items. Perhaps, a planning housewife would prepare a list of items to be purchased before going out. After entering the shop the purchase would be done based on the list. Moreover it would be the shopkeeper or his assistant who would be taking articles based on the list. Now the arrangements in the shops are different. Different items will be systematically arranged depending on the products. Nobody needs the assistance of shopkeeper or his assistant. The customer entering a shop can take an empty basket from those kept near the entrance and proceed to the different sections.
    Now what happens is that the customer comes across several items which are not in the list prepared. But seeing this he/she feels that it is also useful. Like that the customer takes several additional items which were not originally planned. Naturally, the bill becomes heavy. And that was what the shopkeeper wanted. Thus our shopping expenses increase. Additionally, we add to our waste in our home because each item we purchased would be packed in small plastic bags.
    In short, we are not in a position to control ourselves in spending money for purchases and also for deciding what we should eat and wear.
    To add to this we are very often guided by advertisements coming in different media, especially TV which sits with us in the drawing room and consumes our valuable time.
    To conclude, we do shopping these days as scheduled by somebody else.



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