When you go food shopping, you would do well to remember that supermarkets are in business to make a profit just like any other retailer. Because of that, they often employ some rather sneaky ways of getting shoppers to buy as much as possible. You may think you know all the tricks that supermarkets try to pull on consumers, but consider these 10 ways your local grocer may be getting you to buy too much with every trip you take down their store aisles.
1. Hot foods and bakery
When you walk into your supermarket, do you smell fresh bread or other baked goods, or the distinct aroma of a chicken right off the rotisserie? You might think the trick of putting those items at the front doesn’t work on you since you never buy fresh bread, but if those smells get you hungry, you’re more likely to buy other impulse items!
2. Baskets are bigger
The standard shopping basket today is much larger than it was several years ago. According to marketing consultant Martin Lindstrom, one store doubled the size of their baskets and consumers bought an average of 19% more goods!
3. If you buy more, you consume more
If you buy a six-pack of soda, you may drink only those six sodas throughout the week. However, if you buy a twelve-pack, you’re likely to drink more throughout the week and in turn, you’ll need to buy more. Stores know this and may tend to package food in larger quantities to get you to consume more and buy more.
4. Fruit makes you buy more
Brightly-colored fruit that smells good can put you in a good mood, and when you’re in a good mood you’re more likely to buy. This is why fruit is put at the front of the store, where you can see those colors and notice those smells right away.
5. Products are grouped together for a reason
When shopping for cake mixes, you’ll see expensive cake pans and decorating tools hanging from hooks in front of the shelves. When shopping for chips, there will no doubt be jars of salsa and dip on the same shelves. Grouping products together like this encourage impulse buys, and consumers readily fall for this trick.
6. Endcaps encourage impulse buys
Endcaps are the shelves at the ends of aisles and they’re usually stocked with brightly-colored, expensive products for a reason. These displays encourage impulse buys, and you may find yourself reaching for chips or fruit or another item that you weren’t planning on buying simply because they’re so conveniently displayed.
7. Touching leads to buying
Stores that have items on open shelves in the middle of aisles are encouraging you to touch them. They know that if you pick up something, you’re more likely to buy it.
8. Items are placed on certain shelves to catch the eyes of children
You may already know that certain items are placed at your eye level so you’re more likely to each for them, but did you know that some brands are placed on shelves where they will be eye level to children sitting in baskets? Bright colors and pictures of fun foods attract children, and when they want something, mom and dad often have a hard time saying no.
9. Ten for $10 isn’t always a bargain
Many stores have items that are cheaper when you buy them in a certain quantity, but as with sale prices, these aren’t always a bargain. If you notice a certain brand of tuna marked with the popular price of 10 for $10, check other brands and see if they’re less than $1 per can. If so, you’re not really saving on the sale brand.
10. Narrow checkout aisles mean less dumping off
It’s not unusual for consumers to rethink potential purchases as they’re standing in the checkout line, and we’ve all seen the unwanted items left by the cash register. Today’s aisles are more narrow and without shelving for a reason; this leaves no room to put anything back!
To ensure you don’t fall for any of these supermarket tricks, be sure you follow the age-old advice of making a list and taking it with you and comparing prices on all brands before you purchase. You’ll stick to your budget and avoid impulse buys if you do.