Supermarket Psychology: Product Placement is not Random

Supermarkets. Pretty standard, right?

It’s the one place everyone has been to and goes to on a weekly basis. Except, this isn’t the point. The point is, whichever supermarket you visit, it still has the same old basic arrangement of products. Try recalling the supermarket’s layout. So the veggies and fruits are placed at the entrance, meats, and cheeses at the back (always at the back), and let us not forget candy is at the cashier no matter what. Do you think it’s just a coincidence that all supermarkets happen to have the same design?

How many times have you bought goods you didn’t intend on buying when you first stepped into the store?

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

Why don’t we find out about some tricks? Shall we?

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 — in case you forgot this or needed that.

2. Fresh fruits and veggies are always the first things you will see. Do you think this is just by chance? It’s so you would feel fresh and breezy when you start your shopping adventure.

3. Perishables you always buy, like meat, cheese, rice, and sugar are always placed at the very back of the store. Don’t think 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 in which the products that are usually put? 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 this other merchandise you don’t need as well.

5. Want to buy shampoo? Just go to the supermarket. But have you noticed that the products situated on your eye level are always the most 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. But, remember, it’s nothing to do with categories. Some parents bring their kids with them to the supermarket, and when they do, the magic happens. The children will go snatching to their mommies, “I want to buy candy, Mommy. Please. Please.”

7. Have you noticed the “Special” sign on product offers? Special this, special that. Turns out, it isn’t that special after all. If you take a look at the price that you are going to save by buying these 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 a special price, for the time being, let me buy it now.

8. At the end of each aisle, notice that 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? You will also see this brand placed with its sister brands of laundry detergents in 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. 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 that you needed and haven’t forgotten anything; otherwise, you will just go through all this once more. You are standing at the line a little tired, 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. 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 and ask mommy for one chocolate bar. Only one.

Now, do any of the above sounds familiar? Product placement is set based on the natural instincts that drive you to want 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.

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