Factors influencing compulsive buying are:
- Emotions – consumers feel anxious when not engaging in buying products and thus engage in compulsive buying to stimulate this emotion.
- Low self-esteem leads consumers to compulsive buying, because they enjoy the attention and social acceptance they receive when buying products, especially in personal selling situations when salespeople use techniques such as complementing the potential buyer to give them the attention and lead them to temporarily have higher self-esteem.
- Buying leads some consumers to feel more important than they are – this personality trait is called ‘fantasy orientation’.
- Because compulsive buyers usually feel alienated from society and buying makes them feel like salespeople are their friends, they engage in compulsive buying.
How can Marketers Help?
Marketers can set up special hotlines to help people with compulsive buying behavior. In addition, disclaimers on the bottom of commercials warning about compulsive behavior would be another action that could help compulsive buyers to make a decision to resist the purchase. Marketers could stop using seductive and beautiful models in advertisements that make buyers to have a higher self-esteem by believing that they can look like the model in the advertisement. Salespeople could stop using techniques simply to make someone purchase a product when they notice that they are dealing with a compulsive buyer and there is no need for the product.
Ethical and legal questions that arise in regards to advertisements, promotions, and personal selling activities are for example:
- How much information should be disclosed in an advertisement for someone to be able to make a reasonable judgement about the product and their need for the product.
- Should disclaimers regarding compulsive buying be made in advertisements or commercials?
- How persuasive should an advertisement be?