1. Purposefully disorienting customers
Stores are intentionally laid out in a disorienting way so that it takes more time to find what you’re looking for. And the more items you walk by, the more likely you are to make impulse buys.
2. “Charm pricing” and false promises
Grocery stores deliberately price items to make you think you’re saving money when you’re not really: There’s “charm pricing,” where an item is one or two cents below a round number (like $9.99).
3. Giant shopping carts
Those gargantuan shopping carts are intentionally designed like that to trick your brain: When you double the size of a shopping cart, consumers will buy 40% more, marketing consultant Martin Lindstrom told Today.
4. “Open the wallet” pricing
This technique involves placing seemingly cheap items (a big “SALE” sign must a mean big discount — right?) in proximity to the entrance, so you are tricked into believing you’re starting your shopping expedition by saving money.
5. Playing music — with a slow beat
In one study on the influence of music on consumers, published in in the journal Procedia Economics and Finance, respondents said pleasurable music in the background increased the likelihood they’d spend more time and money in the store — and thwarted their negative emotions.
6. Placing dairy far from the entrance
Dairy is one of the most popular grocery categories — and you may have noticed it tends to be miles from the entrance. That’s not a coincidence. This forces the consumer to walk by more grocery items and, you guessed it, exposes them to more opportunities to buy things they don’t need… like an ergonomic, bacteria-free sponge.
7. Putting popular items in the center of aisles
The most popular items and brands are often placed in the middle of aisles, which forces you to walk by way more products than you otherwise would. All those extra goodies you’re exposed to on your shopping mission increase the likelihood of an unplanned purchase. You came for the toilet paper, but left with a plate of pitted dates. Good for your fiber intake — bad for your budget.
8. Presenting a feast for the senses
The smell of freshly baked bread and rotisserie chicken is a more well-known tactic supermarkets use. When were hungry, we’re more likely to buy more. This effect is compounded by colorful produce up front, which can be pleasing and exciting to the eye. The combo of nice smells and pretty colors puts us in a good — or at least better — mood, making us more willing to make unplanned purchases.
9. Overwhelming shoppers with options
Literally tens of thousands of items are on offer in your average supermarket. And that demands a lot of decision-making. Brains scans examined by Bangor University, Wales, reveal that we can only keep this up for about 40 minutes, at which point we kind of get tired and give up. Once we’ve given up, we start to make emotional purchases — aka impulse buys — and this can lead to as much as 50% of purchases being unplanned.
10. Narrowing the checkout lanes
Grocery stores have also made their checkout lanes purposefully narrow.
This is so that when you’re unloading, if you suddenly realize you’ve
impulsively and regretfully thrown in a $15 small bottle of freshly
squeezed orange juice, it’s too hard to get out of the checkout lane to go and put it back. Read more