18th Dec 2018
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Supermarket strategies that get you spending
Author: Janelle Ward
How supermarkets get you to spend

Supermarkets aren’t fun and anyone with a few years under their belts will have tried and true strategies. For example, don’t go shopping when you’re hungry or you’ll end up with more purchases than you really wanted, and don’t go on a Sunday evening when all the school mums are stocking up for the week.

And have you ever wondered why there aren’t any product-find screens at the supermarket to allow you to locate the items you don’t buy regularly, like couscous or the mint jelly? I’m guessing, but surely it’s because they want you to wander up and down aisles and probably buy extra products.

And, of course, there are assorted marketing tactics to ensure we spend as much money as possible whenever we enter.

Research from casino.org reveals some supermarket strategies are similar to those used in casinos.

Positioning
Stores are designed so that brands 'control' customers' shopping experiences. Those in charge of organising the layout of supermarkets are encouraged to steer people in a counter-clockwise direction as research has shown objects to a shopper's left catch their attention more than those to the right, the Daily Mail reports.

Supermarkets, like casinos, have to appeal to wide varieties of budgets and demographics.

Higher-priced items are often placed at eye-level and the cheaper brands are positioned lower where they are harder to see to encourage customers to spend more.

Fruit and veggies
Do a mental check and you’ll no doubt find that visually attractive items, such as seasonal fruits and veggies are to the right of the supermarket entrance to pull shoppers in that direction.

Milk, eggs and bread
The essential items, such as milk, bread and eggs, are all some distance from each other. Inconvenient and annoying but again part of the strategy to get you moving around the supermarket as much as possible – and, of course, buy items you weren't intending to buy.

Meat counter
Research reveals that the background of the meat counter is usually a primary colour so that the fresh meat stands out more. And you might want to check whether the lighting gives the meat a rosier glow than is normal.

Sale signs
Promotional signs are usually put between discount items and things that aren't on sale as it makes people associate the full-priced products with the discounted ones.

Aisle ends
The ends of the aisle are 'prime real estate' and big brands apparently play big sums to have their products placed there.

“This is because people are eight times more likely to purchase them as they stand out and they're easier to peruse,” the report says.

Checkout areas
The report revealed that empty spaces in this area are kept to a minimum. This strategy is to make it difficult for customers to get rid of unwanted items at the last minute.

Appealing to the senses
Supermarket designers follow many of the principles that casinos hold dear. There is limited natural light, few, if any, windows, and no clocks.

“Instead of the time or sunlight, at the front of most grocery stores the senses are bombarded with the sights, smells and sounds of the three most stimulating departments: floral, produce and the bakery,” the report reads.

Are you aware of supermarkets’ strategies to encourage you to buy more? Are there other ploys you have noticed?

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    COMMENTS

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    PlanB
    18th Dec 2018
    10:19am
    Yes I am awake to all their sneaky habits- and when I buy some fruit or veg and get it home and it is not up to standard I photograph it keep the receipt and take it back for a refund -- too many time fruit looks good but is rotten when cut -- back it goes
    Hillbillypete
    18th Dec 2018
    11:46am
    All the time, rotten fruit from W/worth’s have photos and told them they don’t care, they just say we don’t know what it’s like inside!
    Thing to d is don’t buy so called fresh fruit from the so called fresh food people!
    invisible sock
    18th Dec 2018
    11:30am
    When I'm struggling to bag my items, at one their 8 self-service check-outs, I often wonder where the saving for the 8 staff, who lost their jobs, went.
    PlanB
    18th Dec 2018
    11:32am
    Thats why I never use the self-service --
    SFR
    18th Dec 2018
    12:34pm
    The money saved by not employing staff is spent on stock write off as theft has greatly increased with the use of self-service check-out
    invisible sock
    18th Dec 2018
    2:11pm
    1984
    That doesn't make sense?
    KB
    18th Dec 2018
    2:33pm
    I never use self services . Staff are trained to do check outs. I have a physical disability which makes it hard Generally shop online for my produce. and other goods. I know what I am getting comes in fresh on the morning of the delivery from the market.
    Noodles
    23rd Dec 2018
    12:57pm
    Shopping has become a nightmare now...struggling to pack the bags, pull out your Flybuy or Woolworths card, get it zapped...you have to do that now or they expect you to do it....then you have to get out your credit card or cash to pay for everything.

    I only use the self serve if I have one or two items or am in a hurry..otherwise I make them scan it.

    Something that was usually ok is something i hate now.
    Bushbaby
    18th Dec 2018
    11:45am
    I never use the self service checkouts. Partly because I am disabled and can't manipulate crutches, bags, trolleys etc, but mostly because getting the paying customers to do the job of a checkout person means someone has lost their job!
    Mamacrystal
    18th Dec 2018
    12:09pm
    Don't use the self service check outs... do your bit to help preserve jobs!
    roy
    18th Dec 2018
    7:07pm
    Hear hear.
    johninmelb
    18th Dec 2018
    12:17pm
    Nothing new here. All this stuff just gets repeated over and over again.

    We've known this about supermarkets, and indeed other retailers, for donkey's years.

    For all their faults, at least Aldi doesn't play mind games with you. There is no high price Corn Flakes at eye level, and cheap Corn Flakes at floor level. There is just one of everything. Generally you know where everything is, and they tend to follow a similar layout in many of their stores. You don't have to think so much in there, just do your shopping and get out, leaving you time to enjoy life rather than get bogged down with Coles and Woolies silly games.
    musicveg
    18th Dec 2018
    2:12pm
    Yes but Aldis are not Australian and their profits leave the country. Most of their products are substandard too. I would never buy from Aldis.
    johninmelb
    18th Dec 2018
    4:32pm
    SOME of their profits leave Australia.

    The rest is used to pay the staff they employ in their AUSTRALIAN STORES and Australian Head Office. In case you hadn't noticed, they don't work for free, and Aldi is reputed to pay better than their competitors. However, I have no personal evidence of that claim.

    A bit more of their profit goes to pay AUSTRALIAN REAL ESTATE AGENTS, to find land for them to build stores on, to pay AUSTRALIAN BUILDERS AND SHOPPFITTERS to construct their stores, and even more to pay their AUSTRALIAN SUPPLIERS of food and other goods. Aldi also pays rates to local councils, other taxes and costs imposed on businesses in AUSTRALIA, and has been well documented, they fulfil their AUSTRALIAN TAX obligations, unlike Apple, Ebay, Amazon et al.

    Yes, SOME of their products are substandard, most are not. I do some of my shopping at Aldi as unlike you, I tried some things first to see if they suited me. I don't just listen to any old rubbish told to me by people who haven't got a clue about anything. I check for myself and make my own decisions. I am sorry that you are not in a position to have that freedom.
    musicveg
    18th Dec 2018
    5:32pm
    No need to shout John, thanks for the info. Maybe it is just my local Aldis they never seem to have what is in the catalogues.
    Greg
    18th Dec 2018
    9:40pm
    Open your eyes musicveg, Aldi supports Australians in many ways as stated by johninmelb.

    Substandard products??? Mate you have no idea, sure some items aren't good (just like many brands in other supermarkets) but most items are great, actually prefer many food items. Sounds to me you're a brand snob - if you want to waste your money to line the pockets of the big manufactures go right ahead.
    musicveg
    18th Dec 2018
    9:55pm
    No Greg I am not a brand snob, in fact I hardly buy anything from supermarkets, I support my local organic store, order my organic veg and fruit every week, and buy online from family run small businesses, I even buy direct from growers. Maybe I was over stepping the mark, sorry Aldi supporters, but they do make a lot of junk, cannot vouch for the food.
    musicveg
    18th Dec 2018
    9:56pm
    Sorry meant to say the sell a lot of junk not make it.
    purplejan88
    19th Dec 2018
    5:21pm
    i agree with John - i have just started shopping with Aldi - yes a bit of a shock however having given cereals, biscuits, loo paper, icecream etc a go i have to say the goods are as good as Coles but so much cheaper!! i have been impressed with the meat so far and altho i can't buy loose potatoes there i have to say all fruit and veg so far has been fine. i noticed most of the products i have bought are Australian or made with Australian produce anyway and like John has pointed out they are shelling out a lot of dollars in Australia anyway. i will need to go to Coles for my coffee, loose potatoes and cat food but at least now i am saving money big time!! with lower wages now and no income for 8 weeks i need all the help i can get.
    PerthSV
    23rd Dec 2018
    1:01pm
    Aldi changed the culture of the big supermarkets. Home brands at Coles and Woolies were like an afterthought. Quality was low and packaging bland. People were hesitant to purchase them and if you did it was as if YOU were branded as cheap. Only a few safe items could be purchased like sugar, salt and flour. Aldi introduced their home brands which were the equal or superior to many name brands. Better soap powders, biscuits, convenience foods etc. and their prices were excellent. Now Coles and Woolies have had to follow suit by providing home brands that do attempt to match Aldi in price and quality. Now there is far less stigma attached in purchasing 'home brands'.

    Aldi fruit and veggies are consistently cheaper and reputedly sourced from local suppliers.
    Noodles
    23rd Dec 2018
    1:09pm
    I find the quality of Aldi fruit very good and not been let down yet. You cannot do a full shop at Aldi...you pick what you want and go elsewhere for the rest. I find their ice cream very good and cheaper than the other brands. Made in Australia as well.
    musicveg
    18th Dec 2018
    2:13pm
    I have known all these tricks for a long time and avoid them by just buying what I want. I don't even read signs, I look for the products I like and enjoy. Just don't go shopping when you are half asleep or hungry, or thirsty for that matter.
    Old Geezer
    18th Dec 2018
    2:34pm
    I just write a list and buy what's on the list. Nothing more. I just hate it when they have 2 for the price of 1 and you only want one. That's nothing but a waste.
    invisible sock
    18th Dec 2018
    2:47pm
    Like any aerosol products.
    When you come to use the second can, all the gas has escaped.

    18th Dec 2018
    4:24pm
    Self service check outs are great
    You can get all the expensive fruit but scan them as the cheaper brands
    Huge savings right there and its all perfectly legal
    johninmelb
    18th Dec 2018
    4:33pm
    I must have missed that memo.

    When did stealing become legal? Which state are we talking about where it is now legal?
    Anonymous
    18th Dec 2018
    6:22pm
    Well a couple of times when I rang the correct more expensive price by mistake, I called the attendant over to reverse the entry. Both times, she obliged, no questions asked and said "no problem"
    I save over $10 off my weekly fruit and veggie bills
    purplejan88
    19th Dec 2018
    5:26pm
    no it not legal and nor is it moral to steal - theft increases supermarket prices
    PlanB
    20th Dec 2018
    7:44am
    THats very dishonest Lothario
    Hoohoo
    23rd Dec 2018
    4:31pm
    You have confirmed what I already suspected Lothario - you have no ethics or conscience, nor do you consider or seem to understand the consequences of your deceptive behaviour.

    Unfortunately, this is typical of Trump Era (psychopathic) thinking. Such people think that acting immorally & then hiding behind legality is not only smart, they think honest people are stupid for not taking advantage. It's why the low & middle wage earners pay so much tax compared to the very rich (besides the fact that low & middle wage earners do not have the means to take advantage, via cunning, conscience-free accountants). I know Trump doesn't claim to be a Christian, but many people who do call themselves Christians are hypocritical when it comes to money & business.
    Anonymous
    23rd Dec 2018
    4:38pm
    Go stuff a turkey Hoohoo
    Hoohoo
    26th Dec 2018
    4:37pm
    I don't "do" turkeys, Lothario, except for you!
    Blossom
    18th Dec 2018
    7:42pm
    Some of the fruit is bruised and goes bad quicker because of the staff who put it on the shelves. They aren't gentle the way they handle it when stacking it.
    There is overhead signage at both ends of the aisles listing what is in that one.
    The think to aware if in some supermarkets is the put an extra price tag on the shelf and it looks like the price is reduced. Check the one underneath.
    Profiteer
    19th Dec 2018
    8:20pm
    Another trick is to deliberately place similar products not on special on the shelves that have special tickets on. They may be of a different variety, different weight or different flavour. These give the supermarket higher profit margin than those on special.
    Noodles
    23rd Dec 2018
    1:06pm
    watch out for changes to unit pricing. The government wanted submissions from consumers by the 18th of this month. I suspect retailers are not too happy about us working out that with unit pricing "specials" are not always what they seem. I never buy because something is on special. I check out the unit price and often it is better to buy a smaller or a larger item than the one they want you to buy.
    PerthSV
    23rd Dec 2018
    1:18pm
    Yes, I have seen that ploy used many times. Or items that are not on special with a special price tag in front of them. Now I always double check that this does not occur and I even 'fix' up the fault so other customers don't get fooled.

    I do always check receipts and ensure I get free products if the supermarkets created mistakes. I even went back and got a free deodorant when the marked price was 1 cent cheaper than what I had been charged. When scanners were introduced and stores had to manually update prices there were far more errors and I could make up to $20 per week based on their errors. Unfortunately they have tightened up and errors are few and far between.
    Noodles
    23rd Dec 2018
    7:08pm
    I am a similar t ype of shopper PerthSV. Like you I always check my docket and overcharging does occur. Another thing that happened recently was that I was double charged for the same product. Fortunately I noticed it before I left the area and got a refund. I am amazed that I get asked "do you want a receipt?" ...of course I do to double check I have not been diddled :)

    Many never bother to check I know that.


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