< 1 minute read|Published by FAIRWINDS

How Grocery Stores Influence You to Buy More

Have you ever gone to the grocery store only to leave with a cart full of items you didn't plan to buy? You're not alone.

Woman shopping in a grocery store looking at a product.

Have you ever walked into a grocery store with a short shopping list, only to leave with a cart full of items you didn't plan to buy? You're not alone. Grocery stores are designed to make you buy more, and their influence starts before you even get there.  

Discounts and Deals

Stores can advertise to you through your phone by offering digital coupons or deals exclusively available in their app. As you look through your app to find the best deals, you'll likely see a "buy one, get one free" offer or a "spend $50 to get a $5 gift card". Even if you weren't planning on buying that particular item, the promise of saving money can often sway your decision.

Scent and Ambiance

Next time you step into a grocery store, pay attention to the scents in the air. You'll probably notice the nicely smelling flowers that are placed right as you walk in. As you walk around, you'll smell freshly baked bread in the morning or fried chicken around lunchtime. These scents can create a positive atmosphere and, most of all, make you hungry!

Store Layout and Shelf Placement

Have you noticed that essentials like milk and eggs are typically located at the back of the store? When you have to walk through the whole store to find necessities, you're more likely to come across other items that catch your eye along the way. This increases the chance of you picking up extra items you hadn't planned on buying.

Eye-Catching Displays

Colorful displays and strategically placed items at the end of aisles are all designed to grab your attention. When something stands out, you're probably going to take a closer look, especially if it's on sale. Stores use this to their advantage by placing the more expensive items in these areas, increasing the likelihood of you adding them to your cart.

Product Placement at Children's Eye Level

If you've ever been shopping with your family, you might have noticed that cereals, colorful snacks, and candies are often placed at children's eye level. This is a way for grocery stores to market to younger children by showing their favorite characters on snacks and grabbing their attention with bright-colored boxes. Once the kids notice and request these items, their parents are more likely to give in and buy them.

Shopping Cart Size

Ever wondered why shopping carts are so large? It's not just to accommodate big shopping trips. A larger cart can make your purchases seem smaller, encouraging you to fill it up with all of the deals you find along the way. Shopping carts are also typically placed before the hand baskets, so you're more likely to grab a cart first right as you walk into the store.

Limited-Time Offers

Stores often introduce limited-time products or seasonal items. While there may be some items that only come out once a year, brands will also sell their typical products with holiday packaging to make them feel new and exciting. If you feel like you might miss out on something unique, you're more likely to make a spontaneous purchase.

Being aware of these grocery store tactics can help you make more mindful shopping decisions. Be sure to plan out your list before going to the grocery store. That way, you can still save on items that you need without giving in to impulse purchases.