More Bang For Your Buck: Tricks stores use to keep you buying

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Eye level placement, slow music and "10 for $10" deals are just some of the gimmicks grocery stores have used for years trying to get you to buy more.

VCU marketing professor  Dr. Thomas Myers said, "You can go back to 1938 when they invented the shopping cart. The whole idea was to have a big cart that was conducive to putting more items in the cart."

The carts we use today are three times the size of their original predecessor, prompting you to fill it up. "What becomes important for the marketer is understanding the traffic flow," Myers said. "The patterns people take throughout the store."

Walking in, you're greeted with colorful flowers and produce. Both are meant to trigger your olfactory nerves. Myers says, "That will stimulate saliva formation. That gets you in the mood for more buying."

It's called color psychology. Inviting red brick exteriors and cool blues inside help stimulate sales. Longer aisles don't allow for escape. A really low price on a popular product is called a loss leader. "You're going to put them in heavy traffic areas," Myers said. "Maybe in the back so they have to travel around a while."

Stores place complementary items around it. That's product bundling. "You have people that go in with one idea of what they're going to buy; they leave with another one," he said.

Speed bumps are hard to see, but they are there slowing you down, especially near the expensive cheese. A freestanding display within the aisle is an intentional obstacle causing you to stop and look. Prices vary from week to week. You don't notice as much because you don't know what everything costs. "When they track what you're buying, they actually run experiments with the price and see if you have more price sensitivity or less price sensitivity, and raise the price on that basis," Myers said.

Keep in mind that your purchases are tracked through loyalty cards. Marketers see what you buy and use that data to determine whether or not their tactics are successful.

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