You walk into your supermarket with a decided shopping list, but leave with more beer than is healthy (because beer), a pint of ice cream (it was on sale!), and maybe even some items on your to-buy list left unchecked.
We’re all guilty of this, and we blame this partly on our lack of self-control, but these supermarkets’ sneaky tricks are equally at fault. Watch out!
Buy one, get the second one 50 per cent off! Sounds like a bargain, but the discount you think you’re getting is immensely inflated. If you work that out – full price for one item, and half price for another – you’re only getting 25 per cent off each. Instead of letting big numbers trick you, carefully work out how much money you’re actually saving before deciding whether you really want that second bottle of cordial (you don’t).
NEXT: They sell essentials at a bargain →
Your supermarket doesn’t mind that they might even be making a loss off selling rice. In pricing common items like staples, milk and eggs exceptionally low, they’re using these to lure shoppers into the supermarket. And us being us, cannot resist the call of the organic chocolate or juicy imported grapes, which are then sold at a huge mark-up. This allows supermarkets to easily get away with these steep premiums, while you victoriously think you just bought a sack of rice at a bargain.
NEXT: Even other retail chains do this →
In fact, it’s not just supermarkets that employ this tactic, known as the loss leader pricing strategy. If everything’s $2 at Daiso, there’s no way I’ll get cheated, right? Wrong. You enter the store wanting to buy some items at a bargain, but leave with a basketful of other stuff, some of which you can buy for much cheaper elsewhere.
NEXT: There’s more than meets the eye →
If you want to save money, direct your eyes to the lower or upper shelves. The brands that supermarkets really want you to buy (read: those with the highest mark-ups) are typically stocked on the middle shelves, conveniently at eye-level.
Oh, and there’s kid eye-level, too: sugary cereals, gummy bears, chocolate chip cookies…
NEXT: Shopping carts are your worst enemy →
One study on how companies manipulate and persuade found that when shopping carts were made bigger, customers bought 19 per cent more. Sure, they’re there to help you, but they’re also there to help you help them. Want to limit your purchases? Use a hand basket instead.
NEXT: Happy people spend more money →
Berries! Watermelon! Vibrant greens! The produce department is at the front of the store for a reason: Its bright colours easily put you in a good mood, which then inspires you to buy more. Right after the fresh produce, you’re likely to find the baked goods and other products with the highest profit margins, so you’re more inclined to buy them while on your colour-induced high spirits.
NEXT: The temptation of checkout line products →
Of course, the candy rack at the checkout line isn’t there by coincidence, either. M&M’s weren’t on your shopping list, but hey, why not? That’s exactly what the supermarket wants you to think. Plus, at the checkout line, you gear yourself into a “last chance to buy” sort of mentality. Ok, getting those M&M’s.
NEXT: Discounts aren’t what they seem →
By Pinky Chng, September 2017
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