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Melissa Hutsell is an award-winning freelance journalist with a deep rooted passion for both community and international journalism. She was born and raised in Northern California, and has lived, studied, worked, and traveled in more 20 different countries. Melissa holds a Masters degree in Global Journalism from City University London, as well as degrees in Journalism and Globalization from Humboldt State University. Though she covers various topics as both a writer and editor, she specializes in business and cannabis journalism.
If you’ve ever entered a store with one particular item in mind, and walked out with much more than you’ve bargained for, then you’re not alone. That’s no accident. Supermarkets are strategic; they are designed in a way that encourages consumers to spend more.
Here are the top ways in which shops influence purchasing behavior, and consumer health, according to the "Washington Post’s" Christy Brissette.
“Before you even walk in the store, supermarkets have you set up to buy things you don’t need”, reported Brissette. Over time, the size of shopping carts has increased, and with it, the need to fill it up.
When you do walk in, you’re greeted with seasonal items, which the author described as a “speed bump”. This causes customers to slow down and think about the products.
Next up: the produce section, usually placed near the entrance to each store. Why? To make buyers feel healthy. Healthy enough to be legitimize other unhealthy purchases.
Scent marketing — yep, that’s also real. Stores are known to lure customers through scent. Sometimes, it’s the smell of a freshly baked pie coming from the bakery; other times, it’s samples; or it could be the smell of goodies pumped into the air via machines.
Speaking of samples, “even if you don’t buy the product being sampled, smelling the food and tasting a tiny bit leaves you wanting more, so you’re more likely to cave and pick up foods that weren’t on your list.”
Among several other tricks, perhaps the most notorious is the checkout aisle. Why? Inexpensive, impulse buys, most of which are usually unhealthy.
To avoid spending more on less nutritious foods, the author recommends planning meals and sticking to a healthful grocery list.