[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]There are few chores I enjoy more than food shopping. I like to write out a list and check each item off as I wander the aisles. I like to read labels, smell and squish produce, pick out flowers for arranging, and scope out new products. We’re lucky to have a really great Whole Foods Market that boasts incredible customer service, plenty of parking, and a savvy social media presence to boot, not far from our condo.
I occasionally pop into Stop & Shop, but the number of times I’ve been nearly run over in the South Bay Center sort of makes me want to never be there without body armor. When I am feeling especially lazy, or need to stock up on toilet paper, I order from Peapod. But generally, I want to be passing my shopping time in the store I love.
I was up early this morning and caught a CNBC documentary called Supermarkets, Inc. Nerd alert! I love these shows almost as much as I love the UK version of Antiques Roadshow. Anyway, while watching the show, I took 4 pages of notes. Super ultra mega nerd alert! I thought I’d share some freshly acquired knowledge with you for your next trip down the aisles.
Bread, milk and butter
People most often visit grocery stores in America with plans to purchase “the staples.” Companies, hoping to entice shoppers to buy the non-staples, typically place milk at the back corner of the store.
Not so straight path
More and more, stores are moving away from the traditionally straight rows of aisles. We’ve all heard the advice to “shop the perimeter” of stores, avoiding the processed, boxed items at the center of the store. By organizing meandering aisles with lots of twists and turns, stores hope to bring shoppers up and down each row. Those cut-throughs, mid-aisle, were added to keep shoppers from feeling trapped. Once a box of cereal, seemingly untouched, fell from a top shelf and hit me in the head. I wonder if grocery stores have considered adding a little lip to shelved to keep that from happening. Or maybe that’s only ever happened to me. You probably think I get hit in the head a lot. I don’t.
Seducing the shopper
Markets attract shoppers with as many senses as possible. From positioning flowers and freshly baked bread at the front of the store, to misting produce with water, to turning chickens on rotisseries– it’s all about seducing the shopper. Offering samples, something Whole Foods Market does so well, is an especially effective means of keeping a shopper in the store longer, and ensuring they do some shopping.
The size of your shopping cart might determine how much you spend in a given trip to the market. In one experiment, shopping carts were doubled in size, resulting in people buying an average of 40% more than they did with a “regular” sized cart. Incidentally, the typical American family spends $100 a week on groceries. This amount is slightly increased for Whole Foods shoppers (an average $33/basket), but prices for staples at Whole Foods are competitive, despite common misconception.
How to outsmart the super market
Marketing expert Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, offers three tips for shopping smart.
- Leave the kids at home.
- Do not take a shopping cart. Carry items in your arms, or if needed, in a basket. You’d be surprised by what you won’t buy if you need to carry it around.
- Do not use your credit card. The feeling of “unlimited” funds may prevent you from being selective. Lindstrom suggests shopping with $100 bills, as he purports that breaking a big bill “hurts like hell.”
- Chillin’ and grillin’ by the pool 🙂
- I love this vegetable centerpiece
- Happy Memorial Day, with gratitude for all who have served