How Goals Can Decrease Your Sales

You are exercising. Only three pushups left before you have reached your goal: Twenty-five pushups!



Twenty-five! Finally, you can relax. You have reached your goal.

But, what if you had set the goal to be thirty pushups, then you would still have five pushups left. Or, what if your goald had been fifteen pushups, then you would have been done since long.

If you’ve read my last post, you already know that goals is an important aspect of conceptual consumption. In that post, you could read how a set goal could increase consumption. Now, you will learn the opposite, how goals can be used to decrease consumption.

A real world store with average sales of $4 per customer, were used in the study. The researchers created a variety of discount coupons.

●      Some of the customers got the offer to “buy for $6 or more, get $1 off”

●      Others got the offer to “buy for $2 or more, get $1 off”.


The results showed that the customers that got the first offer, bought more than the average sales of $4. They shopped, on average, for $6 per customer. The other customers, that got the second offer, behaved a bit different. Although they could have spent more, and still get the discount, they shopped on average for $2. In other words, half the original average of $4 per customer.


By setting a goal for the customers, it was possible to get them to consume less than average. Imagine the implications, and the power you have, on your customers.


Goal-setting is one kind of conceptual consumption. There are others, and if you follow my posts, you will learn about them and how to apply it to your business.


Reference: Ariely, Dan. Lee, Leonard. (2006) Shopping Goals, Goal Concreteness, and Conditional Promotions. Journal of Consumer Research. Vol. 33. 60-70.

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