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ConsumerWatch: Self Esteem And Shopping, Free Shipping

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A woman uses a laptop computer to shop online. (AP)

A Quick Look At Today’s Consumer Headlines:

How Your Self-Esteem Affects Your Shopping

An estimated 40% of women shop online and a joint study by the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, and Arizona State University may have found out why. The study indicates that shoppers with lower self-esteem are less likely to buy an item that they try on if a more attractive shopper is wearing the same thing.

Researchers sent 69 female college students to a store. Every woman was asked to find a certain article of clothing, try it on, and evaluate it. While asking a salesperson where the piece of clothing was, some girls would see a very attractive woman planted by researchers “coincidentally” wearing the same piece and another group would see the same attractive woman only carrying it.

Women were also asked questions that would indicate how each participant felt about themselves. Those with low self-esteem that saw the attractive shopper wearing the product gave a significantly lower score than those with low self-esteem who saw the shopper only carrying the piece.

The women who had higher self-esteem and better body image rated the clothing in both scenarios similarly.

The psychological effects found in this study seem to be in effect more strongly if a fellow shopper is wearing the same outfit, not a salesperson or employee.

Nordstrom Now Offering Free Shipping on All Orders

High-end retailer Nordstrom is now offering free shipping for online orders. Nordstrom has always had free shipping, but only if you spent over $200. Now, regardless if you spend five or $500, Nordstrom will give consumers free standard shipping, including returns.

There is fine print involved with the policy change, though. International orders and Coach items are exempt from the free shipping rule. Ordering from a brick and mortar Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack also nullifies the new change.

Most online retailers still require customers to spend over a certain limit or use a promo code to get free shipping, but Nordstrom is now joining the likes of LL Bean and Zappos—companies that offer free shipping no-strings attached with low hassle.

To see a list of the top free-shipping retailers, click here.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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