Did you know that the average net profit for local grocery stores is less than 1.75% each year (Crouch)? As a result of this minimal net profit, supermarkets must do all they can to maximize sales (Crouch), usually with little regard toward the costs that their maneuvers may have on consumers. Therefore, one could venture to say that the mark of a successful and profitable grocery store is a measure of how successfully they entice shoppers into adding item after item into their cart. One could argue that running a profitable supermarket is an art, a venture in psychology, or even a madly precise science.
Upon entering most grocery stores, the produce section and floral section will be there to greet you (Learning). This is a strategic use of the store’s square footage of course- the gorgeous bouquets, both aesthetically pleasing and divinely scented, they are intended to overwhelm the customer’s senses while the produce section in its vibrant colors and bountiful spreads are meant to give customer’s the perception that this store is one where health and nutrition are a priority (Learning). In addition, the mist spraying down upon the rows of fruits and vegetables also suggests that the produce is at the peak of freshness (Crouch). However, perception tints reality, and the truth is that the water acts as a catalyst for rotting the fruits and vegetables (Crouch). Pleasant, right? Also, if there are remaining water droplets on your produce from the mist, dry it off before you enter the check-out line: you probably wouldn’t thinks so, but the extra water gets tacked on to the price in the form of extra weight (Crouch).
Interestingly, products placed on the rows in the middle aisles of the supermarket are there as a result of methodical placement. At the very top rows of each aisle the consumer will find local brands that are usually smaller in size when compared to major processed food corporations. Underneath the top shelf is what is known affectionately as the “bulls-eye zone,” or middle shelf that falls precisely within the average consumer’s line of vision. Because this is the shelf that every adult can easily see, the best-sellers and major processed food products/brand names are strategically located there. Below the middle shelf is the kids’s shelf, complete with bright colored boxes and cans that catch younger children’s attention. Lastly, at the very bottom of each shelf is usually where the consumer can locate store-brands and items that can be purchased in bulk (Learning).
There are a few things to keep in mind when approaching the check-out line. First, the conveyor belt is one of the most bacteria ridden objects in the entire store: the general public’s hands, products, etc., have all ridden along it (Shocking). Due to this, never put any fruit, vegetables, bread, or any other products that are not completely sealed on the conveyor belt directly (Shocking). Instead, place completely sealed items in boxes or bags down first, and then stack produce and bread on top of these products (Shocking). The last thing to keep in mind with the check-out line is that they were built purposely to be super skinny, and stacked to the brim (Crouch). It brings great joy to supermarkets everywhere that it’s almost impossible for the consumer to ditch an item at the check-out: there’s simply no room, as the cramped area is adorned with candy, magazines, snacks, and soda (Crouch). So if the consumer doesn’t ditch any items they’re on the fence about prior to getting into the check-out line, more often than not, they’re stuck buying the item (Crouch).
Hopefully you’ll keep this information in mind during your next shopping trip! 🙂
Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,
Crouch, Michelle. “50 Supermarket Tricks You Still Fall For.” Reader’s Digest. 2014: Web. The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. 23 September 2014. <http://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/supermarket-tricks/>
“Shocking Supermarket Secrets.” Doctor Oz. Harpo, Incorporated. 2013. Web. 23 September 2014. <http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/shocking-supermarket-secrets>
Learning House Admin. “Psychology Behind a Grocery Store’s Layout.” Online Notre Dame College. Notre Dame College, 4 Jan. 2013. Web. 23 September 2014. <http://online.notredamecollege.edu/psychology/the-psychology-behind-a-grocery-store’s-layout/>