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6 Misconceptions Your Grocery Store is “Selling” You

Couponing has naturally made me very aware of how store sales work. Before I started couponing, I fell for many of the grocery store marketing traps while shopping. Let’s hope this post will help any of you out there who are still falling victim to these misconceptions:

1. Endcaps = Great Price

Endcaps can be a tricky part of the grocery store. Endcaps come across as ‘featured’ items, and they are some of the first things you see when walking into a store. Sometimes stores will put the overflow of a certain product onto the endcaps in hopes that you’ll buy. On the other hand, you will occasionally see a stock up price on the endcaps. What I normally see is a nice, confusing mix of the two. So, if you know one of the endcaps holds a really good deal, you may assume they are all great prices. This is exactly why you want to be sure to start making a price list for yourself to avoid the confusion on if it’s a great deal, or just decorated overstock.

2. If it’s in the Weekly ad, it’s a Deal

I always see people picking up a weekly flyer at the store, and buying whatever is in the ad as if that’s their grocery list.  Next time you get your weekly ads in the mail (on Wednesday or Sunday), don’t toss them! Sit down and take a look at them. No, not skimming- really take a look. Just because a store is promoting a product in the weekly ad doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. In fact, many times I see the regular shelf price of items in grocery store ads! We assume that if they are advertising the product in a 5 page ad, it must be because it’s a relatively good deal. I used to fall for this misconception every…week.

3. Promotion Signs

You know the extravagant displays of products in the grocery store? The ones that are set up like a Christmas tree or a field goal? Yea, those. Any stand-alone display with a big fancy sign can be a red flag. I recently watched a documentary on Supermarkets which explained the large display phenomena quite well. They intentionally put up a display of canned soups which said, “Stock Up Price: $1.95, Limit 4 per customer”. Now, if you are a pro-couponer, you know that price is NO good. The next week they put up a sign on the same display which stated, “Sale: 4 for $5″. Shoppers bought more of the soup in the first scenario. Crazy, right? Stating there is a limit on an item makes shoppers feel like they should jump on the deal without even thinking through it.

4. X for $X

How do you get a consumer to buy more of a product? By listing it as a group price! If you see a sale that states “10/$10″ or “3/$5″ you do NOT have to buy that many in order to get the discounted price. Stores could list these products as “$1.00″ or “$1.67″ but that just doesn’t seem as appealing as a group price. Buy what you need instead of what the store may suggest you buy.

5. Flashy Tags over the Shelf Price

When you see a brightly colored sales tag under a product, it naturally jumps out at you. Don’t be fooled- just because there’s a sales tag doesn’t mean it’s a sale. I see this quite often with products that are, for instance, $1.00 each. Stores will put a sales tag over the price with “10/$10!” Well, last I checked that’s the same price, right?

6. Look High, Look Low

When you are looking for an item to the grocery store, you tend to look straight ahead. This is the prime real estate spot for brands to reserve. Yes, even in the grocery store it’s all about location, location, location. Be sure to look at the top and bottom of the row to see if there’s a better price. More often than not, you’ll find one. Sometimes it will be the same brand, but simply a better price per weight. Other times it may be a generic brand at a lower price.

:: Have you ever fallen for one of these misconceptions?

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