Thursday, April 21, 2011

Supermarket Psychology: Products Placements Are Not Random


Supermarkets. Pretty standard, right?

It’s a one place that for sure everyone has been to and goes to on a weekly basis or just randomly except that this isn’t the point. The point is no matter whichever supermarket chain you go to or wherever it is, it still has the same old basic arrangements of products. Try to recall the supermarket. So, the veggies and fruits are placed at the entrance, the meats and cheeses are always at the back and no matter what you will always see candy at the cashier.  Do you think it’s just a coincidence that all supermarkets happen to have the same design? I don’t think so.

It’s a trick. Yes, it’s a trick they all play on us. Just so we can buy more and more stuff, even stuff that we don’t necessarily need. I mean how many times you have bought stuff that you didn’t intend to buy when you first stepped inside the store. Plenty, right?

The arrangements of products inside a supermarket are not random and they are mainly categorized and organized in this special way to indulge you to buy more. They are carefully designed psychology tactics to play with our shopping experience.

Still not believing me? Okay, I’ll tell you what. I will just throw away some of those tactics right here and well you decide yourself if you have been played or not.

1.       You could never exit the supermarket from the same door you entered. So, even if what you wanted to buy was just at the door when you arrived, you will have to go all around the supermarket in your way out to the cashier. This way, you will have a little trip around and your eyes will wander if you forgot this or if you needed that.

2.       Fresh fruits and veggies are always the first thing you will see. You think this is just by chance? No. It’s so you will feel fresh and breezy when you are starting your shopping adventure.

3.       Perishables you buy all the time like meat, cheese, rice or sugar are always placed at the very back of the store. Don’t think that they don’t know you want to shortcut your way to the cashier. You will go all the way to the back to buy your usuals and also glance at other stuff you don’t want to buy. Just in case.

4.       You know those walkways or aisles the stuff are usually put in? Guess what, your coffee will always be in the middle. Not an accident. It’s just so you will have to walk all the way through the whole aisle to see those other stuff you don’t need as well.

5.       Want to buy a shampoo? Just go to the supermarket. But, have you noticed that the products sited on your eye level are always the more expensive ones? The cheaper products are either placed at the very bottom or really up high. Yeah, right there.

6.       Cereals and Candy are always placed on the same aisle. Do they fall into the same category? Maybe. Don’t be so na├»ve. It’s not about categories. Usually parents buy cereals for their kids. Some parents make the mistake of bringing their kids with them to the supermarket. When parents go to buy cereal for their kids is when the magic happens. The kids will go snatching to their mommies. “I want to buy candy mommy. Pleeeaaaase.”

7.       Have you noticed the “Special” sign on the offers at products? Special this special that. No, it isn’t that special. If you take a look at the price that you are going to save by buying this bulk special products, you will see that it doesn’t really make that much of a difference. It just plays on our natural instinct that hey it’s special which only means that it might be not available tomorrow with this price! Then all we think of is “Wow, I must hurry and buy it now! Wait a minute, but I don’t really need it. It’s cheap. Oh, I will just buy it and put it in the cupboard and some day for sure I will need it.”

8.       At the end of each aisle, you will see a huge pyramid or block of a product of some special brand. Sometimes, its placement there doesn’t make sense. Remember that laundry detergent brand placed at the end of the candy aisle? They are catchy, but they don’t fit here. Or, do they? Don’t be confused. You will also see this brand placed with its sister brands of laundry detergents at their own aisle. Still it’s just placed in the middle of where it doesn’t belong. Oh, did I forget to tell you? That brand paid the supermarket to have their product placed here. Yes, they pay and they pay a lot!

9.       Music, we all love music, don’t we? They always play music, but it’s also slow music. Slow music will help you walk slower and hey buy more stuff.

10.   Okay, so you are done with the whole trip inside the supermarket. Hopefully you bought all you needed and haven’t forgotten anything; otherwise you will just go through all of this once more! You are standing at the line a little tired and maybe a little hungry. After all, most of what you have seen in the past hour (at least) is just food. So, why not put some candy snacks there at the cashier. Just so you can fill up your hunger before you go back home and cook some nice meal. It’s even better if you have kids with you. Those little candy snack bars are always placed at the very bottom where kids can reach them and ask mommy for only one chocolate bar.

Seriously now, does any of the above sounds familiar? Product placements are set based on our natural instincts that drive us to buy more and so they have proven to be successful. Then again, why not use them in every supermarket out there? I’d say if you don’t have much money and want to skip all this, make a shopping list and stick to it! 

Image Credits to Photographer: Danilo Rizzuti

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2 comments:

Mohamed Hani said...

I have this problem... U know it's not just with supermarkets, online stores are no better... When i sign in on Amazon, looking for something in particular to purchase, and then i read these words "Customers who bought this item also bought ...", I end up with couple more items in my cart and bam .... i'm broke :)

I think if someone is too lazy to make a list, just don't take much money with you to the store :)

Sherwette Mansour said...

Its a good plan... don't take much money anywhere and leave the visa at home :D LOL

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