As the nature of women, both my mom and I love go shopping. We always go shopping in the shopping mall that is close to our home. The average price of women clothes is not that expensive, except one brand called “TW”, which is much more expensive than the other brands and the average price for a t-shirt can be equal to 100 dollars. We really love TW’s clothes but due to the high price we seldom buy it. However, one day we went downtown to have dinner with friends and then went shopping to a new shopping mall nearby. Since it was a downtown shopping mall, the things in it were all not that cheap and the women clothes were all more expensive than those in the shopping mall near our home, which average price for shirts was about 150 dollars. As we walked along the shops we suddenly found TW, the brand we love. This time when we shopped it, we felt like it was not that expensive than before and we actually buy some of the clothes.
Such experience gives evidence of perceptual contrasts, which people exaggerate differences between two objects, and tend to see the second one as more different from the first one than it actually is. In this case, when we shopped in the shopping mall near home, because clothes of other brands in that mall were not expensive, TW became outstanding and we considered it as more expensive than it actually did. However, when we went to a new shopping mall where clothes were all expensive, clothes of TW seemed not that expensive than before comparing to the other expensive ones, though the price of it did not change.
As discussed before, if the environment changed, the perceptual effect would not happened and we would not behave like that way: if the other brands in the mall were not expensive, we would not think TW was cheap and we would not buy it.
However, if I realize the perceptual contrast earlier or when I am shopping, I think I will become more rational on shopping. Though comparing to other brands, TW seems to be cheaper, but actually it is the perceptual contrast that make me feel like that way and actually the price doesn’t change, therefore I will still not buy it, because I know I will regret when one day I come back to the old mall and find that TW is still an expensive brand!
Considering the perceptual contrast from the seller’s perspective, if they could arrange the order of they brands according to perceptual contrast, they may profit more. For example, if the can arrange luxury brands close to the door and some expensive brands behinds those luxury brands, comparing to luxury brands which are extremely expensive, customers will consider those expensive brands to be less expensive than before and will be willing to buy some expensive products.