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Related Threads. Thus, consumers mention the pleasure of being in the supermarket check-out line and having coupons that not everyone has.
And, the skilled new car salesperson will typically leave each customer with the feeling of having received a better deal than most. Perhaps the fact that redemption rates for direct mail coupons are on average higher than for coupons distributed in newspapers and magazines Manufacturers Coupon Control Center results, at least in part, from an ability of the direct mail medium to give the consumer a sense of getting something that other consumers are not getting.
Taylor and Fiske have demonstrated that the factors which are salient in a person's experience will tend to more strongly influence attributions than factors which are less salient. To most consumers, the activities they engage in for the purpose of locating the lowest price available for an item are highly salient.
If the consumer takes one or more actions in order to get a discount, it should lead to a greater attribution of responsibility and consequently more smart-shopper feelings see Schindler Some of the actions a consumer might take in order to find a low price are overt "price search activities": looking through advertisements, going to stores, and asking other consumers. But even if a consumer does not take any overt actions to search for a low price, he or she may well take covert, or purely mental, actions to determine whether a price is high or low.
The consumer may search memory for the prices of comparable items to serve as a reference point Schindler and Bauer , make inferences about the reputation and motives of the seller Wright , or consider the costs and savings which are likely to be associated with the consumption of the product. These mental actions, or "price evaluation activities," may at times become fairly elaborate, involving a number of memory searches, complex computations, numerous inferences, and sophisticated reasoning.
While such activities may not always be so complex, they are always salient to the consumer. Such purely mental price evaluation activities, along with the overt price search activities, are probably major factors leading consumers to take credit for the discounts received in price promotions.
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When one considers the extremes of excitement possible from price promotions such as K-Mart's blue light specials, it becomes clear that simply taking credit for the usually fairly modest perceived savings cannot entirely account for the phenomenon. This role might be to actually increase the desire for smart-shopper feelings, much as seeing an attractive pair of shoes can arouse desire for them Rook or smelling the aroma of fresh-baked cookies can arouse the hunger for them Hoch and Loewenstein Research by Mischel and his colleagues Mischel ; Mischel and Grusec on delay of gratification suggests that the mere perceptual presence of a stimulus can increase a person's desire for it.
For example, subjects who were given the choice between a small reward now or a larger reward at a later time had more trouble resisting the smaller reward if they could see it than if it was not visually present in their environment. Frijda has argued that the ability of perceptual presence to stimulate affect is a "law of emotion" and is more or less independent of our I knowledge systems and verbal processes. For example, the sight of something can cause fear even if you know that the thing cannot hurt you.
Moreover, a vividly imagined stimulus can have the same desire-arousing effect as one which is physically present in the environment. Thus, factors which make an object easier to imagine can enhance the affect-arousing effect of the object. One such factor may be temporal proximity, the knowledge that a desirable object can be obtained immediately rather than only after a delay Hoch and Loewenstein If the sight of a discount offer can indeed arouse the "appetite" for the smart-shopper feelings which result from getting a bargain, then it makes sense for retailers to be continually dangling promotional offers in front of the consumer.
Getting the consumer to visualize how good it would feel to save so much money may whip up the desires to have those feelings and thus increase the likelihood that the consumer responds to an offer. Further, these greater desires to save money may have the additional effect of motivating the consumer to engage in more price search and price evaluation activities. Since such activities are likely to increase the degree to which the consumer feels responsible for the promotional discount, they are likely to increase the intensity of the resulting smart shopper feelings.
In this way, there may be a synergy between the arousal origins of smart-shopper feelings and their attributional origins. It is unlikely that all consumers find smart shopper feelings equally important in their lives.
Since smart-shopper feelings involve a sense of efficacy and competence, one would expect that groups of consumers who lack sufficient work-related means to have such feelings would be particularly responsive to smart-shopper feelings. Nonworking mothers whose children are grown would be one example of such a group; retirees would be another. If it is indeed the case that smart-shopper feelings play an important role in consumer response to price promotions, then groups such as- these should be particularly deal-prone.
As it happens, there is evidence which is consistent with this hypothesis. Several researchers have found a greater amount of coupon usage in households where the woman is not employed full-time outside the home Narasimhan ; Kingsbury and Bawa and Shoemaker have found tendencies in this direction.
The problem is, there are at least two other theories which are also consistent with these data.
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Blattberg et al. Also, research reviewed by Zeithaml would predict that women not employed outside the home would be more deal-prone simply because such shopping activities are traditionally part of the homemaker role.
Thus, further research is necessary to determine if the need for feelings of efficacy and competence is a significant factor behind the demographic characteristics of deal-prone consumers. Other aspects of smart-shopper feelings also lead to predictions of who might be particularly susceptible to sales promotions which result in these feelings.
The pleasure in the "beating the system" aspect of smart-shopper feelings might suggest a reason why police have been successful in using bogus promotions to apprehend fugitive criminals Jensen The social status which some people feel results from having found a discount suggests that consumers who are more gregarious and have a greater amount of social contact might be particularly prone to responding to deals. It also suggests that anything the marketer can do to make it more visible that some consumers are receiving discounts would lead to stronger smart-shopper feelings and thus more response to the promotion.
In addition to there being certain consumers who may more highly value smart-shopper feelings, there may also be certain situations when all consumers will tend to experience a greater need for these feelings. In times of inflation, consumers may suffer continuing feelings that they are being unfairly treated by businesses and may thus have particular strong needs for at least momentary feelings of shopping pride and accomplishment.
Such a situational stimulus to smart-shopper feelings could be an important factor in the dramatic growth of price-promotion activity during the chronic inflation of the 's Bowman The perception that a particular item is overpriced may create a greater need for smart-shopper feelings even if this perception is not due to general economic inflation. Such an effect might be behind Kamen and Toman's finding that consumers showed greater interest in a small price difference in higher-priced gasoline then they did in a price difference of the same size when the gasoline was offered at a lower price.
Further, it might well be the case that the risk involved e. Roselius might cause consumers to feel anxiety at the prospect of purchasing any high-priced item, even if the price is perceived to be a fair one. This might make the purchase of a high-priced item a situation where the consumer will be particularly responsive to the good feelings resulting from a perceived discount.
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The efforts which new-car salespeople make to leave their customers with a feeling of having received a discount may be an indication of the importance of smart-shopper feelings in this situation. Since it is the negotiation process which helps the skilled salesperson create this impression, it is interesting that it is only the more expensive items which have resisted the one-price policy which is otherwise ubiquitous in American retailing Mason and Mayer , p. As is probably the case with any pleasurable emotion, it may be possible to become psychologically dependent on, or addicted to, smartshopper feelings.
The manifestation of such an addiction would be a certain set of behaviors which are not fully under the control of the consumer and which are dysfunctional to his or her life Faber et al. The particular set of dysfunctional behaviors displayed would result from the consumer's attitudes and beliefs about shopping and saving money.
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The result is, there could be a number of "shopping disorders" which are at least partially manifestations of a psychological dependence on smart-shopper feelings. One such shopping disorder would be compulsive involvement in the price search and evaluation activities which enable the consumer to find, and feel responsible for, discounts and low prices.
For example, airlines' frequent flyer programs have led some consumers to become "mileage maniacs" who devote an excessive amount of time to activities such as "playing cross-country hopscotch" simply to chalk up extra frequent flyer miles Rose Compulsive buying may be another shopping disorder which is related to an addiction to smartshopper feelings. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, at least sometimes, it is the thrill of getting a bargain which leads the consumer to purchase more than he or she can afford Morris This possibility would fit well with Faber et al.
A third shopping disorder involves the consumer who exhibits behaviors opposite to those of the compulsive spender: the inhibited, or "stingy,' consumer. Such behavior could result from a compulsive necessity to be sure that each prospective purchase is indeed necessary and is in fact at the lowest price available.
Since such certainty is rare, this type of consumer will tend to protect his or her smart-shopper feelings by making very few purchases. An understanding of the effects of smartshopper feelings is as important as an understanding of their origins for the marketer who is concerned with maximizing the effectiveness of price promotions.
Broadly speaking, smart-shopper feelings can affect the consumer decision process in two ways: 1 they can alter the sequence of events in the decision process, and 2 they can affect the evaluation of a single alternative.
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