Advice In Supermarkets So You're Not Caught By Marketing Tricks

Apr 30, 2021Shanal Govender

According to a study, 32 million Americans head to the grocery store every day—unless it's Saturday, then that number increases! It's not uncommon to arrive at the supermarket with a budget and a shopping list yet come home with a near-empty bank account. But this isn't always because you're a frivolous spender. There are marketing tricks at play! We've put together a list of the best marketing gimmicks that stores use. After this, your eyes will be opened to a few shocking revelations and you will never fall victim to them again! 

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Shopping Woes 

Everything in a supermarket is carefully placed to get the most sales, and we can't blame them; after all, it is a business. But we also can't put ourselves in debt because that candy bar at the checkout point was too tempting. So, let's look at the psychological tactics being used to make us spend more.

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Right To Left 

Since we drive on the right-hand side of the road, most of the items that the supermarkets are trying to promote will likely be on your right. This idea is further promoted because shoppers also tend to walk from right to left during their weekly or monthly hauls. Now, have you ever wondered why the fridges are at the back of the store?

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Fridges Are At The Back 

Even though it might seem logical for the fridges to be near the back of the store (closer to the delivery trucks), there's another reason for its placement. You see essential dairy items like milk are in the fridge, which means you'd have to pass all the other products in the store to get to it. And, of course, this might make you more likely to pick up something else. Now here's something you'd never think of—reusable bags make you spend more!

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Bags Are Bad

Reusable bags are indeed helping the environment by lowering the plastic pollution levels but are they also causing you to fork out more on your monthly or weekly shopping haul? Havard Business found that bringing your own bags leads to consumers rewarding themselves with more indulgent items. 

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Dance To Their Beat  

It seems like the music playing in stores keeps the staff and customers from getting bored, especially when there are long checkout lines. But research tells a different story. It was found that slow music generated more sales by delaying the time it took people to roam the aisles. So, what can you do about it?

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Use Headphones

It might seem antisocial, but popping on a pair of headphones and listening to some upbeat music can speed up your shopping trip and help you grab fewer items. This simple method could increase your savings. If the music trick didn't surprise you, you're among only three percent of Americans that recognize these tricks.

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Smells Like A Trick 

Have you ever wondered why there are flowers at the entrance of the store? After all, you can't really place it at the bottom of your shopping basket. It's to give you the illusion of freshness and healthiness when you enter the store. Pretty smart if you ask us. 

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Color Schemes 

Apparently, the colors used in a store also impact the way people shop. Customers prefer supermarkets with warm hues on the exterior and cooler interior colors. In fact, a cooler tone correlates with people spending more money. But which color is the best? Here's what a study showed. 

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Go For Blue 

It was proven that stores with blue color schemes had a 15 percent customer return increase. So, as a shopper, don't let the blue fool you. Now, we move on to what could be the biggest marketing tactic that supermarkets use. Any guesses what it is? 

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Eye-level Placement 

Everything has gotten more expensive over the last few years, but what if there are cheaper options available and you can't see them? Stores are known for placing the goods they want you to purchase at your eye level. So next time you're shopping, you might want to check the top shelves. They've also used this tactic on children!

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Kids Eye-level

Kids throwing tantrums at grocery stores are a common occurrence. They're always pestering their parents for toys and sweets, but how is this the store's fault? Well, the supermarket puts items that will attract kids on lower shelves. They also don't have the following thing in the store to make you spend more. Any guesses what it is?  

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No Wall Clock 

You'd be hard-pressed to find a clock in the supermarket. Unless you're looking to buy one, in which case it wouldn't be set to the correct time. I'm sure you've figured out why they do this. And if you try to whip out your smartphone to check the time, this might get in your way.

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Bigger Shopping Carts

Shopping carts aren't things we give much attention to; we just clean and fill them. But the size of your cart will often determine how much you end up purchasing. And they seem to be getting bigger. So, here's what you can do to eliminate this unnecessary spending.

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Use A Basket Or Your Hands

You can combat this trickery by using a basket to store your essential goods. And if you're up for even more savings, then you could hold the items in your hand—that would definitely prevent you from picking up anything extra. What about free samples and coupons—think they make a difference to the store's profit? Here's the truth!

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Not So Free 

Here is the secret marketing trick that brings billions. Once in a while, you'll see a worker handing out free samples and a coupon for that product—not such a bad deal, right? Well, that depends on how you react to it. This is another technique supermarkets use to drive more sales! How does it work?

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Leave You Wanting More 

The sample sizes are perfectly weighted so that you would be left wanting more. And at that moment you're not even comparing the price to similar products. Also, that specific item most likely brings in more profit for the store. So, be mindful of this the next time you pop a taster in your mouth. Another trick that's similar to this is sales!

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Say No To On Sale Items 

On rare occasions, you might find a significant discount on an item you really wanted, but most of the time, you'll just be emptying your wallet. This is because most sale items are not really selling for cheaper. But since you think it is, you're more likely to buy it in fear of missing out on a good deal.

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It Was Overpriced In The Begining 

If stores were really giving away their stuff at a lower price, then they'd be running a loss, and why would they do that? The truth is most sale items were overpriced, to begin with. Now, they're just offering it to you at a more realistic rate but with the allure of a "discount." 

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Exceptional Price For Exceptional Service

Now, we're definitely not asking you to shop at a place where you're mistreated. But you might be spending more in a store based on the service you receive from the employees. Be mindful of that the next time you buy additional items because the charming assistant suggested it. 

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30% More   

Not all stores allow credit cards, but those that do sure are raking in the profits. A study by Visa found that the average spending per customer is 30 percent higher when they're using a credit card. Obviously, this also depends on the person's will.

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Small Or No Labels 

Sometimes you'll find a product you need, but the price tag is nowhere in sight. In most cases, the person would pop the item in their cart and assume someone didn't do their job properly. But that's not always true. Stores might deliberately hide the prices to get you to make a purchase. However, in some cases, they give you too much information, so you're enticed to spend more—here's how it works. 

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Promoting Recipes 

Have you ever seen a mouth-watering chocolate cake recipe near the flour? It isn't just a helpful gesture but a stellar marketing trick. The store is forcing you to seek out the rest of the ingredients to make your chocolatey deliciousness and making a greater profit. 

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It's Getting Narrower 

A store worker admitted that the checkout lanes are getting narrower to prevent shoppers from removing items from their cart. There are also minimal shelving options to place the goods if you do manage to squeeze something out. 

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Shiny And Fresh 

Mist is sprayed on fruits and vegetables so that they look more appealing to us. But the layer of added water on fresh produce could cause it to rot (or ripen) faster. And if that wasn't bad enough, it might also cause you to pay more for it. 

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More Weight 

Honestly, we'd never have thought of this if the workers didn't bring it to our attention. The water on your leafy veg could be adding extra weight to the product. And your payment is based on the weight. So remember to shake off any water before adding it to your cart. 

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More Impulsive Buying 

Do you know those shelves placed at the end of the aisles? They often contain a random assortment of goods. It turns out that placement isn't by chance. Those Doritos or gummy bears are there to encourage impulsive shopping. For some reason, it also creates the illusion that the item is cheaper here than where it's normally found. If that doesn't scare you slightly, here's the truth about store cards.

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Store Cards Increase Profit

With store cards and loyalty programs come big savings but is it for you or the supermarket? Grocery stores save on expenses by aiming their marketing efforts at their existing client base rather than finding new customers. This means if you're loyal to them, they're making a huge profit. 

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The Cards Are Tracking You

Using store cards gives the supermarket invaluable insight into your spending habits. They can ascertain how much people are willing to spend on certain items to determine the highest price to charge without losing business. The cards aren't all bad, they do provide savings at times.

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Smaller Tiles 

Some stores lay smaller tiles in the aisles that have more expensive stock. The sound of your shopping cart speeding up will force you to slow down and spend longer browsing through the shelves. Now, that's mindblowing! Also, multi-buy products don't offer any savings—this is why. 

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It's Still The Same Price

Bulk buying doesn't always bring savings, and that's especially true with multi-buys. We've all seen the "buy three and save" signs, but most of the time, you're just being tricked into purchasing more of a product you don't need. 

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Extended Promotions 

Promotions are popular with customers, but some stores are bad at keeping their displays up to date. We're not sure if that's a mistake or not, but it has cost some people a pretty penny. A BBC investigation found that some stores left behind promotional branding even after those deals have ended. What does this mean?

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Customers who didn't check their bills (and there were many) didn't notice they had been overcharged because the promotion didn't go through. Just doing a simple check at the cash register will prevent you from falling prey to this, and if you tell the manager about it, you might even get double the amount back.

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Fancy Packaging 

Some products are packaged better to make them appear high-quality, and these often cost way more than something in a less fancy box. The truth is the extra money you're spending on the item is for the packaging and not the actual product. So steer clear of premium brands!

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Food To Go Section

Apparently, the food to go section is a major rip-off. You can find double the quantity of food at another part of the store for a much lesser price. For example, a small pasta dish might cost $2 in this section but $1 in the deli—you're just paying extra for the fork that comes with the tiny meal. Speaking of food, here's a way they use hunger against you.

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I'm Starving

It's said that when you're hungry, you buy more! At first, this might seem obvious. After all, you're more likely to purchase that freshly baked bread or succulent chicken when your stomach is crying out for it. But there's a deeper way in which your hunger affects you. 

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It Affects Your Brain 

A university study proved that hunger affects your shopping decisions even on non-food-related items. The need to fill up takes over, and soon you'll want more stuff even if they aren't edible. The best way to prevent this is by having a snack before you shop—but make sure it's the right snack!

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Apples Or Cookies

Choosing between fruit and something sweet might be a no-brainer to some but be wary of eating sugary goods before shopping. A Cornell University study found that customers who ate apples before going shopping bought 25 percent more veg and fruit than those who ate a cookie. 

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The Layout Keeps Changing 

Some stores may move products around regularly. So, if you found the beans on aisle seven last time, chances are it's been moved now. They do this to keep you walking around. This way, you're exposed to more products and might be forced to pick up something you didn't need when you walked in. It's not everything that changes—flowers will still be at the entrance. There are just enough switches to keep you walking. 

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Beef Bulk

Some of the meat at the grocery store might say "added saline solution," and while this doesn't seem like a big deal, it could have an impact on how you spend. You see the giant piece of steak in your hand has been injected with water. This increases its weight and causes you to spend more on it. What about cage-free eggs?

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It's Just Bigger Cages 

Animal cruelty is not something any of us want to see. That's why when we see the "cage-free eggs" option, we don't mind spending a bit more on it. But sometimes, these factories are simply using bigger cages which are considered a cage-free environment. 

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Ending in $0.99

Prices ending in 99 cents instead of being rounded off is an age-old tactic. The truth is our mind is only registering the first part of the number when the cost is actually closer to the next whole number. The reason why this trick is still used today is that it keeps working! Even if you buy many products, your one-cent saving doesn't add up too much.

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Limited Offer Deals 

When you see a bright sign with "limited offer" scribbled on, your brain urges you to stock up on as many as possible. And because everyone's thinking the same thing, there's a crowd of people near the item, further promoting the belief that the deal is worth it.

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Candy At The Cash Register   

You're done shopping and ready to checkout, but what's this you see? A candy bar readily available for you to treat yourself after a tiring trip. It's a sweet thought, but it does more for the store's bank balance than for your diet. But we're sure you won't be beaten by temptation. That begs the question, are you better off shopping online?

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Online Grocery Shopping

Even the world of grocery shopping is embracing the new digital age, but how does that impact your wallet? Supermarkets now have the power to show you their most expensive products for a particular category. There are also upsells (other products to compliment something you've selected) to contend with and the pesky substitute option. Be careful with the replacements as you might end up with something way more expensive!

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So, there you have it, our best advice tips in supermarkets not to be caught on the marketing rod. Have you fallen prey to any of the tricks we've mentioned? Or perhaps you know of other tactics they use to drive sales? Drop us a comment; we'd love to hear it.

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