The supermarket industry is huge and predominantly owned by the two super powers we know as Coles and Woolworths. These two companies pretty much own the entire supermarket industry with both of them holding roughly 40% market share. Companies such as these, spend millions and millions of dollars every year on store layouts. They work with psychologists to understand how our minds work in order to capitalise on this to maximise the amount of time we end up spending in their stores.
Think about how many times you have gone to the supermarket to buy some groceries and come out spending far more than you had initially planned to. Well don’t be too hard on yourself, because you may not have been aware of the methods in play designed to get you to spend more. I will highlight some of the tricks these supermarkets use so you can hopefully be aware of them next time you visit the store.
5 for $5 / 10 for $10
10 for $10 or 5 for $5 sounds like a great deal but very often you will receive the same deal if you only bought one or two items. These slogans are designed to make you think that an item is great deal with a limited lifespan, so you should grab it whilst they’re available. Even if the offer is competitively priced, it's often you'll find that the savings don’t increase with the number of items that you buy. Test it out for yourself next time and you'll be surprised at how frequently this trick gets used.
No its not you, you are certainly not shrinking. The supermarkets have been increasing the size of their trollies over the last decade because they know the larger the trolley, the more space you have to fill. Supermarket research found that when the size of the cart doubled, shoppers would have a tendency to buy 40% more to fill it.
Pre-Cut Fruit and Veg
In previous posts that I've written, I've mentioned that any fruit and veg which is cut for you is always much more expensive than cutting it yourself and supermarkets like to earn that little extra by offering you convenience. You will notice next time you're in-store that the chopped fruit and veg has very decorative packaging which offers the promise of less work, but don’t be fooled. You will pay a premium for the pleasure.
Check Out Counter Items
Avoid these items like the plague. What you can normally buy one packet of chewing gum for here, is generally the same price as what you can buy a pack of five in the sweets isle of the same supermarket. Last minute purchases made here earn the supermarkets huge volumes of profit every year.
Certain supermarket chains across the world do this more regularly than others, but the majority will always shuffle the layout of their stores around every so often to make you browse the aisles for longer. The more time you spend looking for something, the bigger the potential to spot something else along the way and end up spending more. Unfortunately the only way to avoid this trick is to order online, which is a very healthy (for your wallet) habit to get into.
All the items that are generally placed at eye level tend to be the higher quality, more expensive brands positioned to make looking for them easier. These are the products supermarkets make better profits from so they would like them to be easier to find. Generally better value items will be positioned lower down, so next time you're in the supermarket drop your eye-level as a general method to find the more competitively priced products.
Flowers and Fragrances Front of House
You must have walked into a supermarket and seen all the flowers near the entrance, or possibly smelt the fresh scent of baked goods. Yes, again this is a trick to firstly put you in a happier mood and secondly the smells trigger your salivary glands making you more prone to thinking with your stomach rather than your wallet. This increases you likelihood of making impulse buys significantly.
Unlike the flowers, you will never find the essentials at the front of the store, the supermarkets prefer you to generally have to walk through their store first to get to them. Additionally, these items will also be placed in the centre of isles to get you walking deeper into the supermarket and to increase your exposure to other tasty products.
Buying in bulk is generally considered to be a way to save money. However, doing so for items that perish quickly often turns out to be the exact opposite if you don't use up everything before they expire/go off. Your aim then should be to buy items in bulk that you can freeze allowing you to make use of them as and when needed.
Certain stores like Costco heavily integrate tasting samples into their business model. This isn’t because they are nice guys who want to feed you for free, it’s because they want to slow you down in the store and to get you to spend more time there. A great tasting product might also trigger you to buy something, which wasn’t on your list originally. The process is designed to instil an element of commitment or obligation into the customer, forcing them to buy the item after tasting it.