The power of supermarkets
unveils As a recent investigation by Which? way we shop, how supermarkets influence the directing dangling carrots to tempt us and – putting in our shopping trolleys what we’re clever tricks! we look at how to overcome these
We’ve all had that moment when we go to the shops to buy milk and bread, only to return laden with dozens of other items we’d no intention of buying, as too-good-to-miss offers and eye-catching items seemingly jump into our trolleys without us even realising.
But why does this happen? With supermarkets having monitored customers’ behaviour for decades, they have become masters of controlling how we shop, often investing thousands into making sure every aspect of their stores is finely tuned to make us spend.
While it’s often only psychologists and the supermarkets themselves who are privy to how these stores get inside our heads, the consumer group Which? recently conducted a new survey to lift the lid on the most common supermarket tricks. They did this by using eye-tracking technology to monitor a shopper’s movements on a series of routine supermarket trips and then asked a panel of experts to give their verdict on why shoppers behaved as they did.
Here we unveil some of the tactics they discovered, as well as other tricks to watch out for, to help you be more aware of how you’re being encouraged (and persuaded) to shop.
Make an entrance
The Which? study found you’re hit by clever psychology as soon as you walk in the supermarket door. Here, a classic tactic is to create what’s known as a ‘decompression zone’ which is a spacious, uncluttered area designed to make you relax; it acts like a speed bump to slow you down. After all, slower shoppers are more likely to see more and buy more compared to someone in a mad hurry, whizzing straight to the thing they came in to buy. In larger shops this zone is often full of inviting-smelling flowers and baked goods, while smaller stores may make shoppers take a 90° turn as they come in to force them to slow down.