Supermarkets have carefully refined their methods for making us spend more than wed like. One of their most insidious money traps is the supermarket theme display. These displays usually take the form of tables, end aisles, or special shelves that display food items related around a central theme.
Theme displays are commonly focused around holidays, sports teams, and special events. A football theme display, for example, might contain table clothes and sign-age in your favorite teams colors, along with items needed for watching the big game like a variety of chips, salsa, popcorn, sodas, and other party foods.
This may be one way the supermarket manager might envision the perfect theme display working:
Customer walking into store and spying a football theme display: Hmm I forgot the big Chicago Green Bay game is this Sunday. Hey these chips are on sale, might as well pick up a pack or two for the crew. Well if Im going to buy these chips on sale, might as well pick up salsa to go with them and while I’m at it why not pick up some drinks as well.
Lets take a closer look at how such a theme displays brings in extra profits.
First, by drawing your attention to an event that may not have been on your mind, they can influence you into buying products you may not have originally intended on purchasing.
Second, An item within the theme display is often on sale thus adding drawing power to the display itself. Upon further inspection, however, this sale item may not really be much of a bargain, say discounted only 10% or 20% off its regular price. Alternatively, the sale item may represent a more expensive brand. A walk down the store aisle often reveals several cheaper brands.
Furthermore, the sale item in a theme display is often surrounded by complement products products that are often bought in conjunction with the original. Salsa and chips in this example. Others examples include spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, crackers and cheese, or milk and cookies.
When you purchase the sale item you’re much more inclined to purchase its complement partner, especially if you feel that you’ve just gotten a deal on the sale item.
Even with the complement products, the grocery store can seize upon an opportunity to make additional profit, as many of these complement products are either brands with a higher profit margin or slow sellers that the store is looking to move off the shelves.
The best way to keep from losing money to supermarket theme displays is to avoid them all together. If you are tempted, just make a mental note of the items that interest you, then walk to the different sections of the store where these items are normally shelved. You’ll likely find cheaper brands of each item there, saving you money!