David Lewis, a consumer psychologist and author of The Soul of the New Consumer: Authenticity, What We Buy and Why in the New Economy has spent 15 years analyzing how we buy. He says, “Nothing is left to chance. From the width of the aisles (planned so that you are prevented from bumping into other people, but aren’t so wide that you can’t get your hands on products) to the music (composers even spend their lives writing music designed to entice shoppers to buy more goods), a supermarket is a place where a consumer and his money are meant to part company. Remember that a supermarket is a bit like a machine; its mission is to get you to spend, so to counter this, you need to keep your wits about you.” Supermarkets are specifically designed with marketing in mind and a smart shopper should keep their eyes out for these grocery store ploys and, instead, stick to their grocery shopping list.
Supermarket Tactics to Keep in Mind
When you’re preparing your grocery shopping list and getting ready for the grocery store, make sure you are aware of these tactics supermarkets employ to get you to spend more:
- In-Store Bakeries: The smell of fresh, baked-bread, and rows of colorful cookies tantalize your eyes and nose as you make your way into the grocery store aisles. This fresh-baked bread smell makes us hungry and gets us in the mood to spend more on tempting foods.
- Produce in the front: Ever notice that the produce section of the grocery store is always in the front? That’s because produce makes us think “healthy” and “happy” thoughts that are comforting to the consumer while painting the brand in a good light. Additionally, produce looks best in natural light, the light that is cast at the front of the store.
- Staples at the back of the store: If you wanted to just pop in and grab some milk, you’re out of luck. Grocery store marketers always put staples, like milk, at the back of the store so that you have to walk all the way through the aisles to get your item.
- Checkout sales: Gum. Candy. Coke. Grocery stores make sure to put a bunch of sugary treats at the front of the store to grab your attention and get you to pay more before you exit.
- Big carts: Ever noticed that the grocery shopping carts have gotten a bit bigger? Grocery stores have expanded the size of grocery carts over the years. Bigger carts, bigger spending.
Next time you’re in the grocery store, keep your eyes glued to your grocery list, beware of these supermarket tricks and you may just be able to walk out with what you planned and not a basket-full more.