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As soon as customers enter a supermarket, they’re hit with bright, fluorescent lighting no matter day or night. This is to draw shoppers’ attention and direct them to immediately notice the vibrant, colourful fresh produce which looks so much fresher and juicier under the lights. This instantly make the store more appealing and entices shoppers in, promising them quality and a comforting sensory experience.

Flowers At The Entrance

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Flowers look and smell beautiful which instantly puts shoppers in a good mood and encourages them to go in and shop. Also, very few customers go into supermarkets with the intention of purchasing flowers, but once they notice them, husbands, boyfriends, and girlfriends are more likely to add them to their cart to earn a few brownie points with their other half.

Placement of Stock

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How products are displayed on shelves is no coincidence. The branded, pricier items are typically placed in the middle of the shelves at eye level, so shoppers are instantly drawn to them and are more likely to choose them without being distracted by the cheaper products. Similarly, children’s items are stocked on the lower shelves so they’re at the kids’ eye level. Commencing tantrum over a toy in 3…2…1…

Playing Music

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It’s a very simple concept that stores have mastered: the more pleasant and calming the shopping experience, the longer customers are inclined to stay and spend. Often, quiet, soothing music is played through store speakers to lull customers into a more relaxed, transient state so they go from stressfully hurrying to wandering curiously.

Scattered Household Essentials

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The popular products are rarely placed near the entrance of the store and they’re definitely not stocked near each other. There’s a reason supermarkets don’t have a “Household Essentials” aisle where you’ll find your milk, bread, eggs and cleaning products in one efficient spot. Stores want you to have to walk past as many distracting products as possible before you reach the ones you really went in for, so your baked goods, your dairy and your cleaners are intentionally spaced very far apart. Happy hiking!

Nice Smells

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Although not all stores, some big companies will go to the effort of piping pleasant and recognisable scents through their HVAC systems. Customers are unconsciously comforted by familiar, pleasing scents such as coffee, baked goods or florals, so they are often encouraged to continue browsing for longer if they’re surrounded by a smell they enjoy.

Flash Sales

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Humans are unconsciously competitive and motivated by their innate fight for survival. When we notice a product on sale “for a limited time only!” or “while stocks last!”, we’re immediately pressured to want to purchase it because we fear missing out or losing to a rival customer. Often, these offers make us purchase things we don’t even want or care about, but we’re convinced of their popularity and necessity because of the sudden promotions.

Discounts At Every Turn

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Stores are known to use Gondola Ends to encourage us to buy more stuff we don’t really want. Gondola Ends are displays of discounted, popular brands that are placed at the end of aisles to draw our attention and lure us into making impulse purchases. Even the most determined shopper who refuses to meander down unnecessary aisles can’t escape these Gondola Ends because they’re seemingly at every turn.

Larger Shopping Carts

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Sometimes shoppers do have to use the entire capacity of the large shopping carts, but typically they don’t. The large carts are designed to be too big because customers are more inclined to fill them with whatever they can, no matter how unnecessary. It is estimated that using a large cart means customers will spend 40% more than expected on things they didn’t intend on purchasing.

Targeting Decision Making

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Humans are programmed to simplify things and make efficient decisions. Supermarkets make this a real struggle when they present us with literally tens of thousands of products, meaning we have to make thousands of tiny decisions when we go shopping that our brains can’t properly process. This huge amount of choice overwhelms and stuns us into making uninformed, rash decisions that mean we purchase things we didn’t really want.