Grocery stores are have mastered the art of psychology – every aspect of a grocery store is controlled, positioned and formatted in a way that keep shoppers happy and spending more.
Here are 15 things you may not know about your local grocery store.
1) The staples are at the back of the store, which is designed so that you’ll wander the store while on your way to the back (and spend more money).
2) Products are shrinking. You may not notice it, but product sizes have been consistently shrinking for years while prices have stayed the same (or increased).
3) The shopping carts are usually not clean. They don’t get properly washed very often and when they do it usually involves only a quick spray for each cart.
4) Grocery stores know much more about you than you realize. Some coupon apps are able to track where you are in the store and display coupons based on what you’re currently looking at.
5) Things changed in the grocery industry when Wal-Mart started to offer groceries. Competition went way up and smaller stores had to offer more incentives to entice customers back who were drawn to Wal-Mart’s ultra-low prices.
6) Up to 50% of what we buy in a grocery store is impulse buying. Since the average grocery store stocks 64,000 products, this can leave lots of room for spur of the moment, impulse buys on items we don’t actually “need”.
7) Similar to a casino, most grocery stores lack the basics like a clock, skylight or windows – this is designed intentionally to get shoppers to focus solely on the items in the store (and spend more).
8) Shelf space is tight and so is competition among competing food manufacturers. Food brands pay a premium to have their products placed at eye level, so you’re more likely to find a bargain by either looking up or down on each shelf.
9) In-store samples are common to promote new products, but new research shows that the sample itself isn’t even what’s being promoted. Stores give samples to trick your body into thinking it’s hungry, which means you’ll spend more on other products.
10) Grocery stores have separate entrances and exits so that shoppers coming in for a quick stop will be forced to walk through the store (and be exposed to product displays).
11) Music is played in store to get shoppers to spend more. A study done in 1982 showed that shoppers spent 34% more time shopping (which increased sales) when background music was played as compared to shoppers that had no music.
12) Product displays at the end of each aisle (called “end caps”) sell 8 times faster than the same product placed on a shelf.
13) Bigger grocery carts means shoppers spend more. A recent study showed that shoppers spent 40% more when the size of a grocery cart doubled.
14) Precut fruits and vegetables offer convenience but they cost up to 5 times more than the same (unpackaged) product.
15) Most grocery stores have entrances that lead shoppers to the right and go through the store in a counter clockwise direction. Shopping counter clockwise has been proven to increase sales.