It's no longer a theory. Now studies have proven that being relaxed or happy in a store makes you spend more, as I found out firsthand when carrying around my glass of champagne in the boot department with a friend at a Nordstrom after-hours shopping party.
In fact, a recent study in the Journal of Marketing Research found that relaxed shoppers were willing to pay up to 15 percent more than less-relaxed shoppers. I have noticed I am never relaxed when couponing, price-checking or searching for deals. That's why malls have been adding plush seating, holiday concerts, free Wi-Fi and even large-screen TVs. That's why stores with upscale offerings host private after-hours parties serving wine or champagne with a live band or food. It's all designed to make us forget completely about our holiday budget.
And most malls know that a play place for kids to unload some steam and parents to unwind is a necessity, but it also boosts traffic at the malls. "We've noticed that traffic during the week has picked up compared to last year and I attribute that to our new kids' play area," says Mike Wilmot, general manager of The Marketplace Mall in Rochester, N.Y. Other malls have added elaborate kids' attractions to boost holiday traffic to the mall, such as Ford City Mall in Chicago, which added a train ride that goes throughout the main drag of the mall.
According to an article on the subject from Wsj.com titled "Just Relax, Then Buy More and Pay More For It," the researchers from the study theorize that relaxed consumers think about the value and the benefits of products more than specific features or the price. And that's exactly what happened to me with the boots.
Did you go to any store parties this holiday and spend more than you planned?