I’ve just seen a press release from Argos. It isn’t a brand new one but was released quite recently.
The release shares that:
Argos has seen a rise in the number of ‘Vampire Shoppers’ – people who take to Argos.co.uk and the Argos app in the dead of night to buy products – and they’re buying more than ever before.
Argos has found that more and more people are now shopping between 1 am and 6 am, and they are buying 20% more than a “daytime” shopper.
They are putting the shoppers into two categories: tired parents and nocturnal gamers.
Console games see a surge in sales overnight, as do batteries, pillows, and last summer (during the heatwave) fans were a big overnight seller (although I don’t think anyone slept well during the heatwave!).
But LOL Surprise Dolls, Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise, pushchairs and sterilisers also made the list of top products bought in the dead of night.
An Argos spokesperson said:
“It’s no surprise that customers have taken to the calm quiet of late-night shopping – the prevalence of tablet and smartphones at bedtime mean customers are shopping at a time convenient to them in ever greater numbers.
“Gamers appear to be the most likely group to stay up late and shop, but sleep-deprived parents also log on in the dead of night to stock up on baby goods. The reign of the Vampire Shopper is one we can’t see ending anytime soon!”
Who are they kidding?
However, the retailer has known for some time that some shoppers have issues when it comes to spending too much money and impulse buys.
The Shopper Stopper tool, which has trialled by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, was able to prevent the issues shoppers had with “Vampire Shopping”.
Shopper Stopper was a browser extension that could block websites and prevent you from shopping during set hours.
It was a trail (but is no longer running), and they were able to get a lot of information about shopping habits…
…this information was sent on to the Chief Executives of 32 leading financial services and retail firms and asked them to implement new spending controls to protect customers.
One of these shops was Argos.
Research from Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found links with overspending and mental health.
Increased spending impacts 93% of people with mental health problems when they are facing poor mental health.
Spending could be for:
- compulsive spending during the manic ‘high’ that comes with bipolar disorder
- comfort spending to boost low mood in a period of depression
- ‘social value spending’ – for example buying excessive gifts to make up for a lack of self-worth.
They sent Argos, along with the other companies, details about how Shopper Stopper worked, along with ideas for tools to help consumers.
Things were suggested like:
- having delays to transactions so shoppers can reflect on impulse buys
- allowing customers to set online spending limits (similar to gambling websites)
- ability to opt out of marketing emails like abandoned baskets or late night emails
So, the questions is whether Argos or any of the others, listened to any of this research and ideas from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute?
Or, whether Argos then used this to create the press release to tell others what people are buying?
Tips to stop spending overnight
While it may help dodge boredom if you’re up late, or there are mental health issues that are causing you to spend with regret, there are some things you can do to try to curb overspending.
While these ideas won’t stop your spending outright, they may just help give you a bit of breathing room before getting to the retailer, which can provide you with time to reconsider getting to check out.
1. Set limits on your phone
Go into the settings on your phone, and you can set up daily limits or have a night time setting to stop you using apps on your phone.
For instance, I have my phone limit the use of all apps (apart from messages and phone for emergency reasons) from 10 pm – 6 am each day.
This prevents me from having screen time later at night and stops notifications overnight too.
You can override this if you do really want to use an app, but it makes you question if you actually have to use the app.
You can set this up on both iPhone and Android devices.
2. Do something else
Sounds obvious, but try to find something else you can try to prevent yourself from becoming a Vampire Shopper.
If you still want to use your phone or laptop overnight, look to get a different hobby to make sure of your time.
Perhaps find a brain training app, a puzzle, or even hunt out free eBooks to read (there are thousands of them!)
Or, why not try doing online surveys overnight so you can earn money instead 🙂
3. Don’t save card details
It’s not about safety as websites and browsers can be pretty safe, but having your card details saved on your account gives you an easy way to shop.
Instead of having to go to your bag, get your purse or wallet, dig your card out, then tap in the details; having card details saved for your favourite retailers can make things too easy to splash the cash.
Stop yourself getting so tempted and remove the saved card details from your favourite shops, as well as removing it from your browser.
4. Use a stop shopping tool
While Shopper Stopper has gone, there are some other tools available that can block certain websites.
Here were the most blocked websites with Shopper Stopper.
Do you find yourself spending too much time (or money) at Amazon, Asos or Argos?
Blocking apps can help you avoid certain retailers or websites.
Cold Turkey is one example and works on laptops/desktops/tablets/phones on a variety of browsers.
It’s free to download, and you’re able to add sites to a blacklist then set a timer to block their access.
Whether you want to add in some social networks that also have you hooked may be an excellent way to get some time back too 🙂
What I love about Cold Turkey is that once a timer is set, there is no way to stop it – even if you end up deleting the app from your device.
5. Delete apps
If you’re using a blocking tool, like Cold Turkey, it will work with your browser.
However, this won’t stop you just jumping on the retailer’s app.
Again, you can set limits (as shown above), but you could just override them.
To make it harder to shop, just delete the apps of your favourite retailers.
This way, you will need to manually search on their website if you really do want (or need) to shop.
6. Unsubscribe from mailing lists
**** Super-fab deal just in! ****
Just £29.99 with £3.99 postage…but can you really afford it?
The emails with their fancy headlines may tempt you to open them, and may entice you, even more, to click through and find some bargains. But, a bargain is only a bargain if you needed it in the first place and have been able to find it cheaper elsewhere.
To stop temptation from shopping, get rid of marketing emails and click to unsubscribe.
Not only will your emails seem cleaner, but you’ll not have a reminder pop up luring you in to spend.
Naomi knows the burden of living on very little and became debt free by learning from past mistakes and following her own money saving tips and tricks. She is studying a Level 2 Certificate in Awareness of Mental Health Problems and is a Youth Mental Health First Aid Champion.