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

YOURS (UK) - - News - By Katharine Woot­ton

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.

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