Avoid Sneaky Grocery Store Tricks

Avoid Sneaky Grocery Store Tricks
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Science and marketing met a long time ago and together, they have found a way to make us customers do exactly what they need us to do – buy stuff. Have you ever stopped to ask why they place impulse items at the cash register or why they use very attractive and massive signboards to call attention to a product they need to sell? That’s because they’ve studied us. They have taken their time to study human behavior to know where we are at our weakest and buy whatever it is we see without our brains calculating. But as good as this sounds for marketers and store owners it just means less money saved for you. This guide will open you to some sneaky tricks grocery store owners use to get you to buy things you might not even need at a tough price and how to avoid them.

1. Know Product Placement

The way the products are placed is not simply a creative idea, it is a strategy – a strategy that gets you to buy things you didn’t plan for. For one, staples like eggs, cheese, and milk are usually placed at the back. If this sounds like something you have seen, you might be smiling now. Take note that this is a usual placement and it is done like this so that you will have to walk through the entire store to get to a bottle of milk. Endcaps, that is, the items at the end of the aisle are also sometimes to urge you to check other aisles beside it. Another form of product placement is when products for kids are placed at lower shelves and things for adults are placed at the top or middle/medium-low shelves. This is simply to bring the goods to the eye level of the customer.

2. Compact Store Layouts with Lists

This is another tricky way grocery store owners get you to buy. Have you ever been to a store and the layout seems a bit confusing and then your wonder: ‘bad store design‘? Well, now you know it. It’s a trick. A sneaky one to get look and buy. What they intend to achieve is to get customers walking around the store before they can buy everything they need to do. So next time, instead of complaining the store feels like a maze, know that it’s a strategy of theirs. To avoid this, get a list and stick to it. You will end up saving money that you would have spent on what you didn’t know you needed.

3. Product Scarcity

It’s simple. Don’t fall for the Scarcity trick. Backed up by past human behavior, when there will be a shortage of a product there tend to be massive demands for that product. Store owners use this psychological state to make people want to buy goods because most of them think: this product will soon begin to run out so let me stock up. Yes, it is good to be prepared but there’s no need to buy up the whole store. Several ways they bring in the concept of Scarcity are in sales and limited purchases.

4. Size of the grocery store carts

This is a psychological thing. Humans generally prefer full baskets, carriers, and of course carts. Walking into a grocery store with just one pasta box in your big basket is usually not appealing. Marketers know, that’s why they do it. So that while you shop, your basket feels too empty that you feel the need to fill it up with goods. The best way to avoid this is again, stick to your list and your budget. When you follow your list, you won’t buy more than you planned on spending. Or better still, if you plan on buying about 1-4 items, don’t carry a basket. Your hands can help instead.


Other things store owners use are music, the absence of windows, clocks to check the time and know-how long you have spent, and more. However, how can you avoid these tricks? Use lists – this cannot be overemphasized. Also, eat before you shop so that you will not be tempted to buy food on impulse. Compare prices, buy foods in bulk and you can also use shopping apps to shop instead of coming to the store physically.

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