There are certain strategies that stores use to get you to purchase more than you intended. Even among the most seasoned and savvy shopper, impulse buys are sometimes difficult to resist. Here we take a closer look at grocery shopping and you.
Your senses play a large role in how and why you shop, from the bright colors on the signs and packaging to the smell of fresh baked bread. Also, the brain can release dopamine while shopping, which gives you a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. This combination of effects on the brain is powerful and difficult to resist. In 2014 the total supermarket sales were $638 billion with an average sale of 29.90 per customer transaction. The average person makes between one and two trips to the supermarket per week to shop the more than 42 thousand items that most markets have available.
Shopping markets are designed with the shopper and their wallet in mind. Generally in the front of markets the produce and floral section is found, with bright colors and delicious smells to put the shopper in a cheery mood when they enter. Bakeries are often located near the entrance as well, the smell of fresh baked bread can make shoppers hungrier, which often leads to more purchases. The meat and dairy sections are often in the back of the store, which make shoppers travel through more aisles in order to get to them. End caps are often stocked with high selling items and manufacturers pay more to have their products stocked there, due to the high return. Even positioning on the shelves is designed so that you will pick certain items over others. The eye level shelf is where many of the best selling items will be found, and it’s no coincidence. These items are placed directly in your line of sight, which makes them more likely to be bought. Kids are targeted for this too, with items that appeal more to them placed upon a shelf lower, which is eye level to them.
Other ways stores target your wallet is by providing larger shopping carts. These are proven to get you to purchase more, it plays on the shoppers subconscious need to see a full cart. Narrower checkout lanes make it more difficult to get rid of items you decided you don’t need at the last minute. Slower music played over the loudspeakers get shoppers in a lingering mood so that they shop longer.
There are a few things you can do to make yourself a smarter shopper. The first is not shopping when you’re hungry, this will help you avoid buying more than you intended to. While pre-prepared foods such as diced veggies or fruit trays look like a convenience, they can be marked up by up to 600%. Make your shopping list and stick to it. It also helps if you are familiar with your store and know the layout so you don’t have to visit unnecessary aisles. Be careful shopping in new or unfamiliar stores, as the excitement may make you purchase things you don’t need. Only use cash or debit cards for purchases. Having a financial limit will help prevent you from making impulse buys or purchases you didn’t necessarily want.