How Shopping Malls Nudge You to Buy


[YouTube – 3:36]

You can tell we're approaching the holiday season. The malls are already all decked in shiny decorations and lighting in the hope adding some mood to a layout already optimized to nudge people to buy.

As illustrated in this short video, the physical architecture of the place is already designed to bias your cognitive map — helping you get lost, mapping the building or store layout so that you stay more and spend more, too.

Physical buildings are not the only place designed to keep you in and nudge you to transact. Social networks are as well.

While retailers use end caps and displays by the cash register to nudge additional purchases, for example, Facebook and Google+ use visual cues that someone wrote a message in a group or to you directly for the first and to a thread you participated in the second.

And the all purpose attractor: look, you have new friends. It gives you something to do.

What your relational style says about you

How we respond and act is up to us. Resisting the urge to check right away, yes even your email is designed to give you that high, depends on training. Literally, how you develop new habits around how and when you go in there.

I was at the mall looking for a protective sleeve for my iPad a couple of weeks ago, and I had to muster my sense of purpose to follow through with my laser approach: go in, look in two planned places, get out, even if empty handed. I ended up buying somewhere else, where I also employed my laser method.

What does your relational style say about you?

The exchange over a recent Google+ post about a brief post by Tom Peters on Flourish by psychologist Martin Seligman of Authentic Happiness fame drives home this point. In the post, Peters summarizes how he:

came across the following hypothetical exchange, meant, obviously, for part of the training:

Private Johnson tells Private Gonzales: "Hey my wife called and told me she got a great job on post."

Active constructive response: "That's great. What's the new job? When does she start? What did she say about how she got it and why she deserved it?"

Passive constructive: "That's nice."

Passive destructive: "I got a funny email from my son. Listen to this …"

Active destructive: "So who's going to be looking after your son? I wouldn't trust a babysitter. There are so many horror stories you hear about babysitters abusing kids."

In the exchange on G+, Jeffrey Beaver says: Excellent self evaluation process. But difficult to implement without practice. Negativism is a knee jerk for most people when communicating. Self evaluation is critical to changing how others respond and react to you as a peer, an employee, or a leader.

To which, I found myself responding: well said +Jeffrey Beaver; negative attitude and reaction are also encouraged by media and social networks, which trade activity (= value to them) while we trade meaning.

Food for thought on how we want to approach this holiday season and social networks.

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