Do supermarkets mess with our minds?
Why do supermarkets always place milk at the back of the store? This is one of the presumed psychological tactics employed by supermarkets to make you spend more – but what ‘tricks’ have you spotted?
Conversation editor Hannah Jolliffe previously wrote about supposed professional shoppers – people who slice and dice their way around supermarkets, comparing deals and accruing vouchers.
It’s something many of us feel obliged to do considering the not-so-special offers that are being advertised. As our latest investigation shows, it’s a good idea to treat special offers with caution.
But there’s more to this than just comparing prices. Every element of the in-store environment is carefully deliberated over; from the general layout to the position of products on the shelf (high profit items at eye level), and even the smell and sound.
It was a point that commenter Jools pointed out on Hannah’s Conversation:
‘I hate supermarket shopping. I dislike the lighting at the checkout, and the fact that you often find items have been moved round to different aisles on different visits. It feels to me as if I am in some sort of maze-like psychology experiment.’
Psychological tactics to make you spend more
Well, we’re writing an article later this year on how supermarkets try to influence what we buy through apparent psychological tactics. We want to know what tactics you’ve spotted supermarkets employing (or at least what you think supermarkets are doing) to get you to spend more money on your daily or weekly shop.
We probably all know that essentials like bread and milk are at the back or far end of the supermarket – so that we have to walk past the temptation of all the other produce. Then there’s product grouping, where complementary items are put next to one another, such as sugar being in the tea and coffee aisle.
And Eddie Izzard shared his view on why supermarkets greet us with fresh fruit ‘n’ veg, rather than toilet paper, in his Definite Article routine.
However, I didn’t realise that the lighting’s apparently different across each of the aisles, in order to make meat look redder and fish whiter.
So, are you suspicious that shops are using psychological tactics to make you buy more than you had intended when you went in? Commenter Just Me shared his 11-point plan to avoid getting ‘ripped-off’ by supermarkets – but perhaps not all of us are willing to play that game?
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