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Don’t confuse being very selective and picky. Many hardcore shoppers know this all too well. So why are some consumers very hard to please. Findings from a new marketing study conducted by Penn State University suggest that very selective shoppers aren’t impressed by free gift offers and other such gimmicks. They also don’t seem to be influenced by peer pressure.

Margaret Maloy, head of a department and professor of marketing, said that the customers who look for a product’s absolute best version are called ‘maximizers’ in marketing. She further stated that, with the picky customer, the absolute best is a lot more idiosyncratic. Getting the best quality might not be all they’re looking for. They might just want the exact product they envision in their mind, for example, a hoodie in a precise shade of grey.

So a marketing research team looked to measure the pickiness levels of different shoppers to try and find out how this selectivity affects consumer behavior. First, the researchers had to come up with a system that could measure pickiness. Next, they came up with questions that helped determine how the mind of a picky shopper works. However, they couldn’t use the “p” due to the negative connotations it’s associated with.

The picky shopper often isn’t influenced by popularity 

The study showed that discriminating shoppers were much more likely to turn down “thank you” gift offers in exchange for participating in a survey.

University of Delaware’s assistant marketing professor, Andong Cheng, said that this might seem a bit irrational to folks who don’t understand why people would refuse free things. He further stated that they speculate that selective shoppers refuse these free things they don’t really want to possess because it’s psychologically costly for them, and it irritates them having that item.

The research team also found that these kinds of shoppers don’t decide to buy a product just because it’s popular. In fact, very picky shoppers tend to ignore information about how their choice isn’t highly rated.