Martin Lewis: Supermarket tricks to ‘seduce’ customers into spending more revealed

Martin Lewis is the founder of financial advice website Money Saving Expert, and on the site he and his team revealed secret ways supermarkets encourage consumers to spend more money. Money Saving Expert warned in a December 2019 article that supermarkets are “perfectly honed marketing environments, benefiting from millions of pounds of research into how to encourage and seduce us into buying and spending more than we should”. One tactic is the placement of treats and magazines by the till, the article says.

This encourages “impulse buys” – Money Saving Expert warns – helping stores increase profits.

Another way supermarkets increase spending is by placing popular products all around the store.

Money Saving Expert adds: “Store layouts make us walk the whole distance.

“Regularly bought items tend to be spread around the store, so we need to pass many other tempting goodies to complete our shopping.”

The third trick deployed in supermarkets is placing the most profitable stock at eye level, but they are often not the best deals.

This means, the most savvy deals can be found on the high and low shelves, Mr Lewis and co say.

The final trick used by supermarkets to make you spend more is the use of sales-type signage for non-sales items.

The Money Saving Expert site says: “Seedless grapes and other attractive treats are usually near the store entrance, often below cost price, to entice us in.

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“Similar signs and displays are used elsewhere to promote deals, even when they’re not on sale.

“Bright colours and the words ‘discount’ and ‘sale’ make us feel good, yet the reduction may be pennies and cheaper equivalents hidden elsewhere.”

The article also highlights the risks that come with ‘Buy One Get One Free’ offers, and how they should only be exploited in certain scenarios.

It adds: “BOGOF stands for ‘buy one, get one free’. Often there to ‘exploit’ our impulses, these can be a menace or an angel.

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“The time to grab ’em is when the BOGOF (or three-for-two or half-price deal) is on something that won’t go off that you’d buy anyway. Classic examples include toothpaste, bog roll and batteries.

“To locate cracking current offers, check the forum’s Food and Grocery Shopping board. All top supermarket offers and loopholes also go in the free weekly email.”

Martin Lewis has also advised consumers on how to save money in supermarkets through the use of couponing.

Mr Lewis’ site adds: “Extreme couponers source, gain and hoard hundreds of product and store coupons, then combine them for huge code-stacking discounts.

“Many have astonishing success, such as forumite Purple Sarah: ‘I got £67 of shopping for 11p after offers and coupons.'”

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