This time, I’m sticking to my grocery list

This time, I’m sticking to my grocery list

By Jessica Gabriel

We’ve all been there. We go to the grocery store for a few items and leave with more than we anticipated (and budgeted) for. Why does this happen? Unbeknownst to some, grocers strategically place products in stores to entice customers to spend more money.

Here are a few tactics that caught my attention:

  • Shopping carts — the bigger, the better:  Sure, nearly all grocery stores have shopping carts, but these help customers to make large purchases easily. Over the years, shopping carts have gotten larger, which makes it appear you are purchasing less than what’s actually in your cart.
  • Where’s the milk? Essential items such as dairy and meat are usually tucked away at the back of the store. This forces customers to navigate through the entire store, increasing the likelihood shoppers will pick up additional itdems.
  • Eye-level shelves = Prime real estate:  Food vendors pay to have their products placed on eye-level, which is typically the best selling area on shelves. Sugary foods and treats are usually placed at lower shelf levels to attract kids.
  • Setting the stage: Most grocery stores have flowers and baked goods in the front of the store to put you in a good mood, making you more willing to spend.
  • To the right: Because people are used to driving on the right-hand side, many grocers seek to funnel traffic in the ailes of their stores from right to left.
  • Check it out: The checkout line is the most profitable area in the store. As you wait, there’s nothing to do but leaf through magazines, be tempted by the candy rack, or be reminded that you need to buy a pack of batteries or ChapStick.
  • Let the music play: Research shows that different music types influence different consumer behaviors. For example, people tend to spend more money and time shopping with slower music at a lower volume.

There are ways to avoid the traps grocery stores set to get you to spend more. Here are a few:

  • To avoid overspending, don’t use a credit or debit card. Instead, use $100 bills. People are more apprehensive to break $100 bills.
  • Using self-checkout keeps you busy from focusing on that candy bar you are craving.
  • If you only need a few things from the store, do not use a shopping cart. Instead, hold your items in your arms so the amount you purchase is limited by how much you can hold.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Polycart

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