You get to the supermarket checkout and you begin to wonder how one earth a trip for milk and a loaf of bread turned in to a £20 purchase! If that’s you then read on because it happens all the time and it often has nothing to do with willpower – more like soft manipulation to get you to spend.
Supermarkets have years of incredible marketing expertise which they take full advantage of to get you to turn a one item purchase in to a many item purchases. Of course, these marketing ‘tricks’ have been around for years but if you are on a budget or want to cut down on your grocery shop to save up for a holiday then it’s best to arm yourself with the knowledge to recognise what is happening and avoid falling in to the trap of spending more of your hard-earned cash than you wanted.
Below are some of the tricks supermarkets use to convince you to spend more…
Floral and Fresh Baked Goods
There are two smells that always welcome you in to a supermarket, one is freshly cut flowers, the other is freshly baked goods. The look and smell is just wonderful, in fact they may even put a smile on your face with such a sensory overload. The reason they are there? These goods are often the highest price margin for the supermarket, put here when you enter as the smell often activates your salivary glands which in turn is more likely to make you impulse buy!
Essentials are hidden
Remember that pint of milk and bread you went in for? Well, it is often hidden near the back or end of the store. The reason for this is that the supermarket want you to walk through the whole store just to get them –tempting you to buy other items on offer as you make your way to the item you came in for.
Healthy versus junk
Fresh fruit and vegetables are often at the start of your shop. The reason for this is that if you purchase these items at the start then you won’t feel as bad when you come to the junk food, so you will feel just fine purchasing biscuits because this balances with the fruit and vegetables you bought earlier.
I don’t know about you but I find myself blindly walking up and down the aisles without deviating at all. The supermarket counts on us doing this, which is why they often change where products are located – again to make us walk round more of the store to tempt us to buy. The higher profit items are often placed at eye level – how often have you searched for a supermarket own brand of cereal only to find it at the bottom, hidden behind a pillar? Now you know the reason for this.
Another one to watch out for in the aisles is the kid’s eye level. Yes, they strategically place products aimed at kids at their level so they will often pester parents to buy them.
In October (not close enough to Christmas yet) it gets on my nerves the Christmas music you hear in stores but supermarkets often play music, but have you noticed how slow it is? The idea is that slow music makes you take your time wandering round the store, viewing more products, and ultimately buying more. Research has also shown that playing classical music can lead people to buy more expensive items.
While I love loyalty cards, I know deep down that the store is probably benefiting more than I am but who can resist a discount or money off? So, while a loyalty card will give you money off the main reason a supermarket wants you to use it is so they can track your spending habits and learn more about what you buy and when. Have you noticed that at times the till will spout out a money off voucher for toothpaste when you’re about to run out? Well now you know how they keep you coming back to buy toothpaste!
So, know you know why a visit to the supermarket for milk and bread can turn in to a major shop. If you want to avoid these manipulation traps you can try some of the following:
- Pay with cash – just bring along a few pounds, that way you certainly won’t overspend. Having a debit or credit card can often be tempting so leave it at home.
- Never shop on an empty stomach. When you’re hungry you will be tempted to buy all around you from savoury to sweet – try to avoid grocery shopping when hungry.
- Write a list. Lists are great if you stick to it. The more you work with the list system the easier it will become to avoid the tricks of supermarkets.
I hope that now you are armed with the knowledge and skills you can avoid supermarkets manipulating you in order to spend more than you had ever intended.
Happy grocery shopping.
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