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Why Do People Buy Things?

April 02, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 231

In order to produce successful ads, you must give people exactly what they want. This article will teach you why people buy the things they do so you can design your ads to fulfill these needs.

Why do people buy?

People buy things for obvious and hidden reasons. The importance of the product determines the amount of thought and effort into the purchase. Here are some of the most common reasons people purchase the things they do:


Most purchases are made because of emotions. The items listed below are examples of emotional purchases:

  • alarm systems give us security
  • engagement rings and other types of jewelry show love
  • designer clothes make us feel like we fit in with our peers
  • expensive cars and houses make us feel important and successful
  • romance novels and movies give us feelings of love


To stay updated with the current trends or to "keep up with the Jones's." People like to fit in with others so that they will be accepted into society.

Here are some examples of products purchased for this reason:

  • Smart phones
  • I-Pads
  • Computers
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Vehicles


This is a very important factor in the buying cycle. We all have purchased something (clothes, shoes, and even automobiles) because of its appearance at least once in our lives. Sure we don't purchase items just because of their appearance, but it is still a very important reason even if we don't like to admit it.

Here are some of the items we may purchase based on their appearance:

  • vehicles
  • Jewelry
  • Clothing, shoes and cosmetics
  • art and other decorations
  • homes
  • pets
  • furniture and appliances

We also purchase things like diet pills, exercise equipment, hair-products, and make-up because we want to look like the models in these advertisements.

Sales, Discounts and Coupons:

Many people can't say no to a sale, discount or coupon because they think of how much money they can save with each.

Please don't have too many sales or give too many discounts and because people will get used to the sales and discounts. Eventually people won't pay regular price for certain items because they know you'll have a sale or offer a discount on that item soon.

Facebook fan pages are great ways to offer discounts and coupons to people that are already interested in your product or services. When your promotion is over, you can easily remove the promotional page.


Most people want the best quality possible. Some companies even use their great quality as a selling point. Sometimes we don't always need the highest quality items and would be perfectly happy with a lower quality item but we like the prestige of a higher quality item.


This is a very important factor in the purchasing decision. However, the price plays a more important role with expensive items (homes and vehicle) than it does with cheaper items (milk and paper.)

For example, when we need a loaf of bread we just go to our favorite store and buy our favorite type of bread. However, when we need a new vehicle we research it online, visit several dealerships, drive several different vehicles, ask friends and family for advice, and even use social media sites for real life advice.


People are creatures of habit. We tend to go to the same grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and so on. We also tend to purchase the same brand of products over and over again because we know what to expect, where to find it, how much it costs, what to do with it, and we are satisfied with that product. For example: We don't put a lot of though into the brand of milk we want, we just grab a gallon and go.

Since people tend to purchase the same things over and over again, how can you persuade these people to try your product? You must find your competition's weaknesses (price, quality, appearance, etc.) and use their weakness as a benefit in your ads. A good example of this is Juicy Juice's ads and slogan "Libby's Juicy Juice, 100% Juice for 100% kids." Their commercials tell us that most other juices have only 10% real juice then they ask us if 10% is good enough. Next they demonstrate 10% of a bicycle and 10% of a child to prove their point and make you want to purchase their juice instead of a competitors juice.

To Solve a Problem:

When we have a problem, we constantly look for ways to solve it. We pay more attention to ads that are geared towards getting rid of our problem. Cold medications are a good example of this.

Here are some other examples of products and services we purchase to help us solve our problems.

  • Self-help books, tapes, seminars
  • Cosmetics to prevent the aging process
  • Diet products and services
  • Medications
  • How-to books

Limited Time or Quantity:

Most people procrastinate and can eventually forget their intentions of purchasing your product. Fortunately you can prevent some of this procrastination by telling consumers that there is a limited time or quantity of your product.

You could also advertise a special price for a limited time to get people to purchase your product immediately.

Fear of Losing Something:

Ads that tell us what we will lose if we do not purchase their product are very effective. Here are some examples of this are:

  • Don't miss this great opportunity
  • Don't be the only one without product-XYZ!
  • Think of all the money you will lose if you don't get product-XYZ.
  • Stop losing money on slow loading websites
  • Don't waste any more time...get this product today.

Other Important Factors of the Buying Process

Some shoppers will hunt a bargain and will go to several different stores in order to get the best price possible. Others will stop shopping when they find an item that is "good enough." Budget and time are big purchasing factors as well.

Satisfaction vs. Dissatisfaction

A customer who is satisfied with your product or service will likely use it again whereas someone who feels that they paid too much money for the service they received is likely to go somewhere else next time they need a similar service. Dissatisfied customers are more likely to share their bad experience with others which can cost you potential customers.

We All Have Special Needs

Everyone is different and we all have special needs. One product can not meet the needs of every single person so advertisers must focus on our special needs. For example, my skin is very sensitive and I am allergic to several dish-washing detergents so I buy dish-washing detergents that are made for sensitive skin.


Remember that all of these factors play an important role in the purchasing decisions. For example, we all would like to have the best quality and most attractive items, but we all can't afford the best items.

You will get the best results if you can think like your target market. Find out what they want your product or service to do, why they want it, how they are going to use it, when they need it, and where they are going to use it. Then use all of these things in your sales approach.

Selena obtained a Marketing degree from Abraham Agricultural College in 1998. She has always loved art and has taken several art and web design courses over the years. Selena became a Graphic Designer in 1999 and has worked with hundreds of small businesses and national corporations to help them get the most out of their advertising. Some of her strengths are: billboard design, banners, and advertising, and she is very skilled with: PhotoShop, CorelDraw, Illustrator and Dreamweaver. Please visit her site

Source: EzineArticles
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Reasons People Purchase


Buying Behavior


Emotion Buys


Why People Buy Things


Consumer Purchasing

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