Supermarkets have an array of tricks up their sleeve when it comes to influencing which products we buy.
Sometimes, you feel really organised, carrying your list, until you spot something that will take you “off list”! You can resist anything, but temptation, right? You make excuses in your head to justify any extra cost.
The ultimate goal of any supermarket is to make you spend as much money as possible while in their store. You may not visit again for a while, so they need to grab your attention while they can. They probably spend a lot of money researching how you will respond to certain shopping environments and products. What can you do, as a consumer? You can become a savvy shopper by learning 10 easy ways supermarkets make you want to buy.
1) Putting fruit and vegetables near the entrance
Placing fruit and vegetables near the entrance, makes you feel good at the start of your shop. You will then feel you can buy more unhealthy products as you wander round the rest of the shop. Buying nutritious fruit and vegetables is only good if you have an idea about how you will use them. Wasted fruit and vegetables = wasted money!
Never go to the supermarket when you’re feeling hungry. The bread, deli and cheese counters attract you, like a magnet, towards them.
A lot of supermarket cafes have cooked breakfast, cake and coffee smells to tempt you in, or make you buy ingredients to make the food at home.
When you're hungry you tend to throw more unhealthy treats in your trolley. You know they are a quick way to take the edge off before the main meal. You buy them to satisfy that craving whenever you need it.
3) Treats and magazines next to the checkout
A chocolate bar with a cuppa when you get home seems justified, after walking round the supermarket for an hour!
Magazines with sensational headlines make you curious. You buy to find out what's behind the shock headline. The magazine will be a good complement to your cuppa and treat you've also just thrown into the trolley.
4) Store layouts
A store's layout is a way to encourage you to walk through as much of the shop as possible. As you walk round, discounts signs, smells and packaging tempt you.
Much to your annoyance, supermarkets often change layouts. A new layout will expose you to new products you may not have noticed before, as you mindlessly make your way through your, normally, familiar aisles.
5) Eye level products
Supermarkets place certain products at eye level, making it easier to see them. You will often find cheaper alternatives below this point.
Most parents experience pester power from a child spotting something at their eye level, until the product goes in the trolley. Mission completed.
6) Bright Sale and Discount Items
Bright sale signs advertise discounted items. This is great, but sometimes, you may be able to find cheaper alternatives in another part of the shop. Ends of aisles often display discounted items. Always look at the “unit price” on the price label on the shelf to compare the real cost. I’ve found bigger packs of teabags before now that work out more expensive than buying 2 smaller packs with the same number of teabags.
Yellow stickers are usually a good way to get a great price, but only if you intend to use the product before it goes past its best. They appear at different times in different stores, so a friendly chat with a store assistant may give you a heads up. Although, it can vary from week to week. Evenings, around 7pm –8pm, are probably the better times to grab those bargains.
A supermarket may have own brand products at different price levels. The packaging on the more expensive one tends to give the product a higher quality look, but it’s often worth checking the ingredients and nutritional information to see how it differs from a lower priced version. It would take a sensitive palate to recognise the difference between 2 different priced tins of tomatoes, when the ingredients list is the same.
It’s always worth downshifting to a cheaper alternative to see if it’s just as good. All those pennies add up. Remember, this works for toiletries and cleaning products, not just for food.
8) Baskets near the entrance
Obviously, if you definitely need a basket full of items, then being near the entrance is the ideal place for you. You may have only popped in for one or two things, but a basket with just two items may tempt you to top it up with extra goodies, before you get to the checkout.
Some larger supermarkets have recently started putting larger pull-along baskets near the entrance too. It can fit more in and, if you don't have to carry it, the sky's the limit!
9) Loyalty schemes
Loyalty schemes may seem like you’re getting something for nothing, but product pricing policies will more than likely take into account what loyalty cards give you. It’s best to shop in places for their prices, not necessarily their points.
If the prices are the best ones you’ve found, then the points are a bonus for you and you are indeed a very savvy shopper, but don’t forget to use your points to get the most out of them. Sometimes it’s better to use them for days out than to use them in store.
You rarely hear fast paced music in a supermarket. That would make you walk quicker and potentially miss seeing items they want you to buy.
Hearing classical music may often make you buy the more luxurious version of an item.
A bit of Club Tropicana by Wham may make you buy more sun-cream than you intended to, if it’s summer holiday season.
Like any business, supermarkets are there to make money. Marketing tricks help them to do this in very subtle ways. Now you are aware of some of these tricks you can ask yourself more questions before purchasing, what looks like, a good deal.