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Wed, 31 Oct, 2018Jim Mitchell

The sneaky hacks supermarkets use to make you buy more than you need

The sneaky hacks supermarkets use to make you buy more than you need

Next time you go shopping at your supermarket you may want to keep an eye out for some cheeky tactics that are used to top up your trolley and make you spend more.

Supermarket insiders have revealed the hacks in a Quora thread, and while some tricks may not be too surprising, others are real eye-openers.

Aishah Hannan, a former assistant psychologist, said there’s a reason that the bakery may be closest to a supermarket entrance, “as the smell of food instantly boosts your appetite".

But the bakery may also be positioned at the back of the store, so customers have to wander through the aisles to get there, and spend more time shopping.

She also suggested that fruit and vegetables are made to “appear bright and healthy” with enhanced lighting in that section. Hannan also says there’s a psychology behind why the fruit and veg section is often located at the front of a supermarket, so customers buy them first “and feel less guilty walking towards the treats aisle,” she wrote.

Similarly, there’s a reason behind why you may have to look longer to find the dairy section, which is often located at the back of large grocery stores.

“Everyone has milk and cheese on their shopping list so having them far away ensures that the customer walks throughout the whole supermarket for their item,” she said.

And have you ever looked out for clocks at your local food shopping haunt? According to Ariel Dreyfus, a Business Administration student, supermarkets avoid obvious placement of clocks so as not to remind customers of the time they’re spending in store.

Or have you ever had a good listen to the music playing in a supermarket? Dreyfus said that a slow-paced mood is encouraged using music with a slow tempo.

“Slower music encourages shoppers to slowly walk, instead of rushing, which leaves more time to spend more of your money,” she writes.

The psychology behind the layout and position of products in stores has long been known to direct us to make certain choices, but Dreyfus has a hack to look out for the next time you’re browsing the confectionary aisle – namely it’s designed to make your part with more cash, and arranged by demographic.

“The top shelf of a candy aisle will have the options that the older generation leans towards, such as dark chocolate, because adults are taller than adolescents,” she theorises.

“The candy a bit lower is meant to hit the eye level of the preteens so their fan favourites according to demographic will be slightly lower. Then between the waist high shelf and lower shelf will be candy favoured by toddlers because they are shorter and will be seen when a child is in a buggy or at mum’s hip height.”

And if you feel like you’re being followed Dreyfus claims that you may be being shadowed so that your choice of items in your shopping trolley can be noted to measure consumer behaviour.

Hannan suggests to be on the lookout for the psychological design behind the colours of price tags – red for sale items, yellow and gold for hunger, and blue “which is said to promote trust".

Have you noticed any of these supermarket tricks? Let us know in the comment section below.

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