The next time you go shopping at a supermarket or a grocery store, keep an eye out on these psychological tricks they use to get us to fill up our carts, max out our credit cards, and splurge on things we don’t need. From the size of their shopping carts to giving out free food samples, stores and supermarkets have slowly perfected the art of making people spend their hard-earned cash. Check out these 19 tricks we are totally guilty of falling for (yes, even the savviest of shoppers!).How do they do that? You weren’t even planning on getting a bag of Reese’s pieces! Well, it’s quite simple, in fact. Supermarkets and grocery stores figured out that if you push candy and soda at checkout, people will get tempted into buying some last minute snacks and soda pops while they wait. Very sneaky indeed.
Snacks and produce items can be found close to the store’s entrance, and they’re placed at hands reach so you can touch them, inspect them, and weigh in your options. You may think you’re just checking out a product, but they know customers are more likely to buy a product if they were able to touch it and examine it.
We know the stores are just going to restock eventually, but somehow, we feel like we need to take advantage and get one before they’re all gone.
The second you walk into the store, you smell rotisserie chicken, bread baking, or flowery scents. This is no coincidence. They make an effort to put out flowers and savory food so they can seduce their guests and get them to stay longer. The longer they’re at the store, the bigger the chances of getting them to buy more.
They’re just another trick they use to get you to buy more. Consumer behavior studies have proven time and time again that consumers are inclined to buy more products if they got to sample them first. They know that the second you munched on their tasty “free” treats, they landed a sale.
But this, of course, is no coincidence either. The trick is to greet customers with a visual display of temptations, like beautiful product displays, bright-colored items, and lovely bouquets. These items instantly put you in a good mood, and what happens when you’re in a good mood? You tend to buy more. Avoid these traps by sticking to your shopping list.
Typically, people can only remember the prices of the most basic items we consume every day: milk, eggs, bread, and bananas. And they form their opinions of a store based on these 4 products’ prices. So stores take advantage of this phenomenon and mark down these items just so you think all of the products inside these stores are reasonably priced.
And surprise, surprise…it works! The water they spray on our fruits and veggies isn’t just a technique to keep them fresh. They give them that “just-picked” look we see on advertisements everywhere. Not only that, but the water also adds to an item’s weight.
Well, it’s just a trick to get you visually stimulated and distracted in order to get you to splurge on items you didn’t really need. They know you might just realize you needed that bathroom air freshener or get tempted by a “buy two, get one” deal on your favorite shampoo brand.
The more senses they can please, the more you’ll get tempted to buy. So one of the ways they get people to buy more products is by placing the bakery right by the entrance and fill up the entire area with the smell of delicious pastries and fresh baked goods. The aroma will undoubtedly make you hungry, prompting you to buy more.
Well, as you can tell so far, it’s all a game to see how much stuff they can get consumers to buy. More often than not, expensive products get displayed right at the end of each aisle, making it impossible for shoppers to ignore them. but they also like to place those “sweet deals” you can’t miss at the end too. But don’t assume that just because an item is displayed at the end of an aisle is a good deal or a high quality product. Brands pay for this coveted spot, and it doesn’t come cheap.
But did you ever notice they seem to be placed on the lower shelves? That’s so these bright-colored and seemingly fun products can be easily spotted by a child. For many parents, a $5 box of cereal is a pretty cheap price to pay to keep your kid from throwing a tantrum.
Out of sight, out of mind, right? Instead of going for that “Fufu” brand $1 bottle of shampoo that’s unsuspectingly sitting on the lower shelf, you’ll get easily tempted to choose between Pantene, Clairol, and Herbal Essences.
But supermarkets and stores have been making the checkout aisles smaller and smaller so that it’s physically impossible for you to leave a few items back. According to Martin Lindstrom, “supermarkets started making checkout lanes narrower, with less shelf space, which means it’s harder to ditch goods at the last minute.”
In reality, the prices they’re displaying are calculated and based on the weight of an item. So these discounts might not mean much if you’re buying small-sized products.
The same carton of milk might be worth a lot less at a different store and it’s mainly due to location. Understandably, costs are higher in wealthier neighborhoods. But that’s not the only reason why prices are higher. Stores charge whatever clients are willing to pay, so if their rich clientele is willing to spend $5 for a gallon of milk, they’re not about to waste the opportunity to overcharge them.
It’s no accident that shopping carts have been getting bigger. They’re designed this way so that you feel like you’re buying less products and feel like you can keep adding stuff to fill the extra space. Martin Lindstrom, who’s a marketing consultant and author claimed they run an experiment on consumerism: “We doubled their size as a test, and customers bought 19 percent more.” So the trick clearly works!
Why? Because these products leave customers dissatisfied as they’re not big enough to fill them up. So eventually, they’ll end up returning to the store to buy more.
So the next time you go grocery shopping, don’t do it on an empty stomach. Head straight to the back of the store, and wear headphones and listen to upbeat music. Stick to your grocery list and beat supermarkets and grocery stores at their own game. Heck, you could even place your orders online and avoid temptation altogether!