How to Survive The Psychology of The Grocery Store

July 6th, 2017

Don't let yourself be manipulated when you shop!

 

Today’s post is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Consultant, SafeSourcing.

Running into the local Kroger or Safeway for a quart of milk and coming out with a cartload of unintended food purchases is universal—and it’s not our fault. Supermarkets make us do it, or at least they try. Grocery shopping is an orchestrated process. Every feature of the store—from floor plan and shelf layout to lighting, music, and ladies in aprons offering free sausages on sticks—is designed to lure us in, and seduce us into spending money. Once you enter a grocery store, it’s often not easy to get out again. A common feature of supermarkets is the one-way entry door; to get back out, you’re compelled to walk through a good portion of the store. After the one-way front door, the feature first displayed is the produce department. The impact of all those scents, textures, and colors (think fat tomatoes, glossy eggplants, luscious strawberries) makes us feel both upbeat and hungry. Also the store bakery is usually near the entrance, with its smell of fresh-baked bread; as is the flower shop, with its buckets of tulips, and bouquets gorgeous flowers. The message we get right off the bat is that the store is a welcoming place.

The cruel truth is that the produce department is less garden and kitchen than stage set. Lighting is chosen to make fruits and veggies appear at their brightest and best; and – according to Martin Lindstrom, author of Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy—the sprays of fresh water over the produce bins are all for show. Though used to give fresh foods a deceptive dewy and fresh-picked look, the water actually has no real purpose. It actually makes vegetables spoil faster.A classic of this kind of customer manipulation, Lindstrom points out, is the banana—still America’s favorite fruit—whose signature ripe yellow is actually the result of painstaking marketing analyses. Sales records indicated the customers bought more bananas if their peels were Pantone color 12-0752 (Buttercup) rather than the slightly brighter Pantone color 13-0858 (Vibrant Yellow). Banana growers responded by planting their crops under conditions tailored to produce Buttercup.”1

The supermarket is designed to make customers spend as much time as possible in the store. Dairy departments are almost always located as far from the entrance as possible.   Customers will most likely have at least one dairy item on their list which will make them walk the length of the store. Mid-aisle positioning is intended to sideline the so-called Boomerang Effect, in which some shoppers (notably men) simply head for the item they need, then return the way they came.

“Music encourages us to dawdle: A famous study of background music and supermarket shoppers, conducted in 1982, found that people spent 34 percent more time shopping, with a corresponding uptick in sales, in stores that played music. And supermarkets tend to be devoid of external time cues: most have no windows or skylights, and shoppers are often hard-pressed to find a clock.

The theory is the longer you stay in the store, the more stuff you’ll see, and the more stuff you see, the more you’ll buy. The average supermarket carries approximately 44,000 different items. “According to brain-scan experiments conducted by Paul Mullins and colleagues of Bangor University, Wales, the demands of so much decision-making quickly become too much for us. After about 40 minutes of shopping, most people stop struggling to be rationally selective, and instead began shopping emotionally—which is the point at which we accumulate the 50 percent of stuff in our cart that we never intended buying.”2

Shelf order is a psychological trap. The expensive items are generally placed at eye level; generic brands are on the lower shelves so that you have to crouch. Foods meant to appeal to kids are set at kids’ eye level so that the cartoon characters on the boxes make eye contact with (short) passers-by.

The displays at the ends of the aisles (end caps) are shopper traps. Companies pay high prices to display their products there.  A product at an end cap sells eight times faster than the same product shelved elsewhere on the aisle. Also the size of our shopping carts increases the chance of our buying more. Carts have tripled in size, and they’re still growing. Shoppers tend to buy 40 percent more with a bigger cart. So what to do about all this? Make a list and stick to it. Try not to shop so often—fewer and more efficient trips to the store are easier on the pocketbook.

For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can help you with your sourcing needs, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.

References——————————————-

1, 2.   Rebecca Rupp, The Plate, 6/15/2015

 

If you thought this page is useful to your friend, use this form to send.
Friend Email
Enter your message

11 Responses to “How to Survive The Psychology of The Grocery Store”

  1. I could not refrain from commenting. Very well written!

  2. Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  3. Reed Wouters says:

    Thanks for the helpful write-up. It is also my belief that mesothelioma cancer has an incredibly long latency interval, which means that warning signs of the disease won’t emerge until finally 30 to 50 years after the 1st exposure to asbestos fiber. Pleural mesothelioma, which can be the most common style and influences the area about the lungs, might result in shortness of breath, upper body pains, along with a persistent cough, which may result in coughing up our blood.

  4. I’m extremely inspired with your writing skills as smartly as with the structure in your weblog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you customize it yourself? Either way stay up the excellent high quality writing, it’s rare to look a nice weblog like this one nowadays..

  5. Usa Proxies says:

    Buy Private proxies: BEST PRIVATE PROXIES – Professional superior, Almost limitless bandwith, 1000 mb/s superspeed, 99,9 uptime, Not continuous IP’s, Absolutely no utilization constraints, Numerous subnets, USA or European countries proxies – Get Now – DreamProxies.com

  6. Buy Private Proxies: Private and made up, Snobs high quality proxies, Any number of bandwidth, 1000 mb/s superspeed, 99,9 uptime, USA destination proxies – DREAMPROXIES.COM

  7. You ought to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality sites on the net. I’m going to highly recommend this web site!

  8. Monty Liptow says:

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It’s always helpful to read articles from other writers and use a little something from their web sites.

  9. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this subject here on your site.

  10. Heya just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

  11. King Hikes says:

    Thanks for your strategies. One thing I’ve got noticed is always that banks and financial institutions understand the spending routines of consumers as well as understand that many people max outside their own credit cards around the trips. They smartly take advantage of this kind of fact and start flooding your inbox plus snail-mail box along with hundreds of no interest APR credit card offers right after the holiday season closes. Knowing that if you are like 98 of all American open public, you’ll get at the possiblity to consolidate credit debt and shift balances towards 0 annual percentage rates credit cards.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.