The long and short of it

NT News - Real Estate - - Realestate Mar­ket Place - AN­THONY KEANE

BE­ING ex­tremely short won’t help you at the the­atre, the footy or on a bas­ket­ball court, but it just might save you money at the su­per­mar­ket.

Tall peo­ple, too, can save at the shops thanks to the re­tail­ers’ mantra of “eye level is buy level”, that puts their most prof­itable prod­ucts right in front of con­sumers’ faces.

Look­ing high or low on the shelves can be a good way to grab cheaper gro­ceries, say shop­ping spe­cial­ists, but they warn that other fac­tors also come into play.

MyBud­get founder and direc­tor Tammy Bar­ton said there was noth­ing ac­ci­den­tal about how su­per­mar­kets were de­signed.

“There’s a whole field of re­search ded­i­cated to su­per­mar­ket mer­chan­dis­ing and tak­ing ad­van­tage of con­sumer be­hav­iour,” she said.

“Cheaper prod­ucts are rarely at eye level – you need to be will­ing to bend your knees or crane your neck, which is where you’ll of­ten find bulk items that have a lower unit cost.”

Ms Bar­ton said her favourite place to shop was at home. “I do my gro­cery shop­ping on­line where I can set the items to dis­play by unit price. By doing that, I’ve dis­cov­ered cheaper brands that I can’t re­mem­ber see­ing on the shelves,” she said.

The word “spe­cial” can be a trap at eye level, as re­tail­ers may only of­fer a tiny dis­count on ex­pen­sive prod­ucts.

Con­sumer psy­chol­o­gist and Deakin Univer­sity se­nior must be good,” he said. “When they see the word ‘spe­cial’, what tends to hap­pen is the emo­tional part of the brain – the less-con­trolled part – tends to re­spond first, as op­posed to the ra­tio­nal brain.” Dr Har­ri­son said shop­pers did not need to try to find the big­gest bar­gain for ev­ery item. “One per­son’s bar­gain is an­other per­son’s cheap prod­uct,” he said.

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