If you’ve noticed that your recent trips to the supermarket are costing you more, you’re not alone. Supermarkets employ a range of tactics to encourage shoppers to spend more money. They use these subtle tricks to get you to increase your spending. Here are the 19 sneaky ways grocery stores trick you into spending more money.
Giving Out Samples
Retailers understand that they can boost sales of particular food items by preparing a batch and offering samples to shoppers as they browse. When you have the chance to taste something, even if it’s just a few spoonfuls, you’re more likely to add it to your cart. These bite-sized samples provide a taste that often sways you to purchase the full-sized product, sometimes leading you to deviate from your original shopping list.
Prices Ending in .99
What’s the difference between a price of $.99 and $1? Not much, but it creates a psychological effect that makes it appear like a better deal. While it may seem like an unusual tactic, it’s a clever way to encourage you to spend more money. Pricing items with 99 cents tricks you into thinking you’re getting a product for much less, even though the savings may only be a penny. Supermarkets understand this and use this tactic.
Essential Items in the Back of the Store
Grocery stores often place essential items at the back of the store, prompting shoppers to walk through the entire store, going up and down multiple aisles. This layout makes it quite easy to get distracted by other unplanned purchases that capture your attention along the way.
Refrigerated Drinks at the Front
Single cold beverages are typically positioned conveniently near the cash register, making them hard to ignore. However, it’s essential to pause and consider before purchasing that cold drink. The issue lies in the fact that these single-serve cold soft drinks often cost the same as a six-pack of soft drinks available in the beverage aisle.
Large Shopping Carts
Larger shopping carts often tempt customers to fill them. The size of the cart directly influences how much you put into it. You’ll likely end up with more items in your cart without even realizing it. To prevent overindulgence during your next grocery trip, consider using a shopping basket to restrict the number of items you can pick up.
More Expensive Items at Eye Level
The pricier products in the supermarket are conveniently positioned at eye level. This is because the first place people tend to look when searching for a product is at eye level. Supermarket owners are well aware of this, so they tend to place the costlier items on the middle shelves. To find more budget-friendly options and save some money, it’s always a good idea to check both the bottom and top shelves for cheaper deals on products.
You might have noticed that your supermarket occasionally rearranges its layout. This makes it harder to quickly run in and out of the supermarket if you don’t know where something is. The store wants you to take your time and add other items to your cart while you search. These layout changes can be both perplexing and serve as a tactic for supermarkets to boost their sales.
Offer Reward Programs
While rewards cards do offer some exclusive deals, they are often primarily a marketing tactic used by grocery stores to encourage you to shop with them and spend more.
Get Your Data
When you enroll in a rewards program, the supermarket collects your information, aiming to understand your shopping preferences and the reasons behind your purchases. In return, they offer special discounts, cheaper gas, and exclusive coupons as a way of mining your purchases and gaining insights into your shopping habits. This information helps them tailor their offers and upsell products to you.
The supermarket strategically positions its bakery and flower shops at the front, not just for your convenience but because of the enticing aromas. These scents can trigger your hunger and work to the store’s advantage by encouraging you to shop with a heartier appetite, leading you to fill your cart with more items and ultimately spend more money.
Choice of Music
Music can evoke happiness and influence your mood. Supermarkets are well aware of this and often play lively music to encourage you to continue shopping. Additionally, they may occasionally interrupt the music to broadcast a commercial, informing you about items currently on sale.
Encouraging Bulk Buying
Many of us have been conditioned to believe that purchasing larger, bulk-sized products will lead to savings. However, this isn’t always the case. Some supermarkets may capitalize on this assumption and price bulk items higher than similar smaller portions. It’s important to take a moment to double-check such details before placing these products in your shopping basket.
Small Items at Checkout
Cash registers often have candy, soda, magazines, and other small items nearby that you might not have initially planned to buy. Grocery stores position these easy-to-grab items near the register, capitalizing on their impulse purchase appeal, making it convenient for you to add them to your cart at the last minute.
Supermarkets can attract you into the store by offering discounts on certain items, knowing that you’ll likely pick up other things while shopping.
Convenience foods like bagged salad mixes and pre-chopped vegetables are a time-saver, but they come at a higher cost. While they can save you time, it’s best to skip the pre-prepped produce and go for whole fruits and vegetables. Then, take the extra time at home to wash and chop them yourself.
One Stop Shop
Whether it’s Costco or Sam’s Club, larger stores tend to consume more of your time and money during each visit. Some stores provide additional services like gas refills, tire repairs, mattress replacements, and everything you need to eat, all in an effort to keep you in their store and stop you from having to make additional trips elsewhere.
Coupons are a practical way to save on your grocery bill, offering a sense of cost-effectiveness. When using coupons, it’s worth considering if another brand might offer a better deal, and also keeping an eye on the expiration date, which often adds a sense of urgency to your purchase. Supermarkets are well aware of this tactic when offering coupons.
Offers with Limited Time
Limited-time offers create a sense of urgency, prompting your brain to think you should grab it before it’s no longer available.
Stores often use a merchandising technique called grouping. They place three or more related items together to encourage you to buy all of them. For example, A bag of chips may be grouped with salsa and dip. It’s a common sales strategy to boost your purchases.
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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.