The smartest shoppers are aware of the games being played at the supermarket. Higher-priced items tend to be stocked in aisles right at eye level, so that consumers must crane their necks or bend down to find deals. The milk and eggs are way at the back of the store, forcing consumers to walk past all sorts of enticing other goodies on the way to the necessities. Impulse purchases—soda, candy, trashy magazines—fill the checkout area, where stores have a captive audience as shoppers wait in lines and allow themselves to be tempted into picking up non-necessities with high markups. What are the latest ways supermarkets try to part customers with their cash?
That’s one of the main subjects explored in a new TV documentary, “Supermarkets Inc.: Inside a $500 Billion Money Machine”, airing tonight at 9 p.m. on CNBC. The show walks viewers through Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, and mom-and-pop markets alike, offering a glimpse of how and why grocery stores do what they do—and how consumers should prepare themselves to cope with store designs, “special” offers, and psychological tricks that are all created to maximize profits.
Check out the documentary’s interview with Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy to get an idea of how disturbingly easy it is to manipulate shoppers:
Fewer Choices, More Savings: The New Way to Buy Groceries
Discount Schemes Aplenty: How Stores Lure You in and Get You to Spend More Than You Planned
Buying in Bulk: Trimming Food Bills Beyond the Warehouse Stores