Skip to main content
Intellect

Wearing high heels can change the way you shop

Physical experience of balance influences consumer choices

People who are concentrating on balance tend to compromise when buying along the low-end to high-end scale. Some examples of balancing while buying:

  • Wearing high heels
  • Going shopping right after a yoga class
  • Leaning back in a chair while shopping online
  • Shopping while on a cruise ship

When shopping for a big ticket item, such as a television, there is a checklist of things you should always do:

  1. Read reviews
  2. Compare prices
  3. Wear high heels

If you’re uncomfortable with No. 3, you have other options. You can ride up and down the escalator, play a few games using the Wii Fit, or just go shopping immediately following your yoga class.

A new BYU study finds that consumers experiencing a heightened sense of balance are more likely to weigh the options and go with a product that falls in the middle of the high-end, low-end scale.

“If you’re someone who tends to overspend, or you’re kind of an extreme person, then maybe you ought to consider shopping in high heels,” said study author Jeffrey Larson, a BYU marketing professor.

Larson and BYU coauthor Darron Billeter have discovered that most anything that forces your mind to focus on balance affects your shopping choices as well.

In the example of the TV, balancing consumers are more likely to go with the 42-inch TV for $450 rather than the $300 32-inch set or the 50-inch screen for $650.

The study is part of an emerging area of research that examines the relationship between physical sensations and decision making. Previous studies have looked at the role of warmth, weight and hunger.

For their study, appearing in the current issue of the Journal of Marketing Research, the Marriott School authors set up experiments where balance was introduced to the consumer experience, including:

  • Leaning back on a chair while shopping online
  • Playing a Wii Fit game while simultaneously answering questions about product choices
  • Standing on one foot while considering which printer to purchase

Other elements that could have similar effects but were not included in the experiments include making purchase decisions while on a cruise ship or walking on icy sidewalks during winter shopping.

The authors say the most important takeaway from their study is that people should be aware of how physical forces can change the way we think about things.

“We need to sit back for a minute and consider, ‘Is this really what I want, or are the shoes I’m wearing influencing my choice?’” Billeter said. “We need to be more aware of what is influencing our choices.”

The results of the study, the authors write, demonstrate that influential cognitive processes are at play as people stumble through life, regardless of whether those stumblings are literal or metaphorical.

1308-49 116.jpg
Photo by Jaren S. Wilkey/BYU Photo

Related Articles

data-content-type="article"

Q&A with President Reese on “strengthening the student experience”

February 23, 2024
In this Q&A series with President Reese, he shares more about the seven initiatives he shared in his 2023 inaugural response and how they apply to BYU employees.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

Life and Breath: Interdisciplinary BYU team travels to Nepal to study health effects of air pollution

February 21, 2024
An interdisciplinary BYU team recently came together to conduct a research study in Nepal, aiming to measure brick workers’ exposure to pollutants and to assess their respiratory health. The eventual goal is to determine what information, technology and strategies they can develop with the Nepali people to help them improve their well-being.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

The NSF wants to pay tuition, rent and much more for BYU Cybersecurity students

February 14, 2024
The NSF recently awarded the cybersecurity program within the BYU Electrical & Computer Engineering department with a five-year, $3.7 million grant called the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service. BYU is one of only six schools nationwide to receive the award this year, which recognizes students with technical talent, moral integrity, leadership, and second language skills.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=