The Psychology of Rewards November 28 2016, 0 Comments

With Black Friday a memory, except for all the bargains that you rewarded yourself with, you may be left wondering why you got up at 6am, stood in a queue with strangers and then made an uncharacteristic dash, like a finely-tuned athlete, to secure your special bargain.  How long had you been waiting for this great ‘win’ of the year or was it a rather impulsive decision made as you looked over the tome of newspaper advertisements while trying to cope with all the emails! 

It is estimated that more than 50%  of all store purchases are made on impulse. Before dismissing this claim consider how often you may race into a store to buy an item and walk out with a large basket of goods that you ‘need’!  Impulse purchasing is a problem for retailers in one way because these are not necessarily loyal customers.  To help turn impulse into loyalty, we have seen a flurry of programmes designed to capture your attention and change your habit.  Every time you enter a shop to buy a few things, you are asked for you card, which makes us all feel like winners as we hand over our cash because we have been rewarded with beans or points.  But wait, do you hand over cash?  No, often not!  Cash has no reward other than to make your purse lighter.  Rather, we display a Gold credit card (because we are special) and as the transaction is concluded, there it is: another reward for your good behavior.  You earned it! 

The next time you go shopping, think about who has your interest at heart; who knows your habits and is able to call you by name? “Thank you James for your recent purchase.  You have earned 20 beans to spend on your next purchase”.  

Turning to the world of sport, imagine a race track with no clear finish line or a soccer pitch with no goals. What about a golf course with no holes on the greens or a pool table with no pockets.  In all these cases, the reward has been removed and, in so doing, the purpose of the games destroyed.  What point is left in competing, even against yourself?  The goal, the measure, the reward has disappeared and the meaning is lost.  In sport, it is this reward that gives purpose and keeps sportsmen breaking records.  So, when you feel like giving up, think of the reward and the purpose.  Black Friday comes once a year; rewards, every day!