We all indulge in instant gratification wherein we do a lot of impulsive purchases or scratch an itch which might be small or not as big as we would have assumed. This behaviour is well exploited by all retailers of all sorts. From supermarket to movie theaters. 

In supermarket, there is always candy near the checkout counter to tempt you into buying that one little extra thing during checkout. Or at movie theaters, which screen nice food images during intervals enticing you to step out and pick up that nachos pack which is jacked up 1200%. The list is endless

However, this is not always bad for us, the consumers/customers. Because this very behaviour can be turned against the retailers. The whole point of enticing the buyer is to make a purchase leading to more revenue per customer. Thus if a customer is not making a purchase it means money on the table but not in the retailers bank. If a retailer gives you a nice little nudge in that direction by giving some additional discount or a few bucks worth coupon code, there might be a few who will convert. This behavior of trying to get the retailer to push the price down or provide a different incentive to make a purchase by putting off buying by a small period of time is delayed gratification

Delayed gratification, or deferred gratification, is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward. Generally, delayed gratification is associated with resisting a smaller but more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later.


This can be observed in ecommerce sites where if you are intend to buy something and buy it in the first go, you might find price tag of X but if you go till checkout and stop before payment, thus abandoning your cart, you might see the same guys, sending you emails or notification advertising additional 5% discount of drop in prices etc

I also used the same behavior to book my Iceland tickets today wherein I had set my ticket price track on Google flights (which if you don’t use, you are wasting time searching through numerous booking websites for the best priced tickets). The ticket prices were initially priced at 168 euros climbing to 178 the next day. Over the weekend, it rose 184 and then to 194. I kept putting off buying tickets as I was determined to wait a while. If I was going to buy, I was going to buy irrespective of the price. Yesterday, I got my price track email informing me it was 168 again. I was determined to wait out one more day to see what would happen. Voilà!!! Today my price track informed me that it was 131 and after booking directly on the airlines site, I was able to snag the tickets for a cool price of 125 euros which gives me a few more euros to indulge in Iceland. Yayyyyy