Scholar discusses the impulse to buy

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Jamie Grigsby, a marketing and retail management scholar, gave an academic lecture on the psychology of and consumer behaviors behind impulse buying on Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Rhea Miller Recital Hall.

Grigsby earned her doctorate in marketing at Kent State University and is currently an assistant professor of marketing at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Her lecture, “Impulse Buying: How Bad Is It Really?” discussed how consumer trends have changed over the past 50 years, what types of products were most likely to be purchased impulsively and cultural factors that affected consumer behavior.

“Seeing this topic in a context outside of marketing was eye-opening for me,” said marketing professor Hillary Mellema. “The questions from the audience brought up topics that have not been addressed in the research, which to me is a testament to the caliber of SVSU students that they would ask such challenging questions.”

Grigsby challenged the notion that impulse purchases are always negative and questioned previous researchers’ doomsday mentality about the rise of technology and access to online shopping. She also discussed the consumer patterns in both individualistic societies and collectivist societies and explained why members of the former were more likely to experience buyer’s remorse.

The students who attended were primarily studying psychology or a related business discipline, and they attested to the engaging and practical nature of the lecture.

“I received some further insight on why I am exposed to impulse buying campaigns,” said Jocelynn Fair, a psychology and political science sophomore. “I can also see how someone in clinical psychology could use this research to help teenage to adult patients struggling with impulse issues.”

Grigsby said there were key applications for both business majors and psychology majors. For marketing professionals specifically, impulse buying presented a challenge to analyze the long-term consequences of advertising campaigns that encouraged impulsive purchases.

“Are your consumers going to regret the things that they’re buying, and will that cause them to stop coming to your store?” Grigsby asked. “You need to encourage impulse buying in a functional way that benefits your customers and your organization.”

For psychology students, Grigsby mentioned that retail therapy, in a measured and responsible way, can be one component of self-care.

“Impulse buying can be a way to relax, and a chance to indulge in something like a bath with a new bath bomb and take care of yourself,” Grigsby said.

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