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Grocery Store Layout Psychology

Updated on November 7, 2011

For many folks shopping is like a reflex, it gets done weekly or even daily with little forethought. What they don't realize is the manipulation going on the minute they enter the store. Being aware of how grocery stores are set up and why - can help you save money.

Grocery Store Layout

Before entering the store, put on your 'money saving tips' hat with the idea that you are in control. Be fully aware that every item in the store is placed strategically to encourage buyers to spend. With this in mind, it should help to curb senseless purchases.

Store Entry by Produce - Enter the store and your visual experience is immediately overtaken by color. Produce has every color in the spectrum and it is highly appealing. Also, look for the floral's probably right next to it. This is no accident. The message is "Come in and stay awhile!" Realize what's happening and use your common sense instead of your eyes when picking up items.

Store Entry by the Deli and Bakery - Having the entry next to these areas needs little explanation. Baked goods are the epitome of a 'welcome and make yourself at home' message. Same with the coffee bar.

Some grocery stores lump produce, floral and bakery/deli all together which pulls you deep into their territory. If you keep your wits about you, you can enjoy it and still spend wisely.

Store Perimeter - The perimeter of the store is designed to lead you through as many aisles as possible. Watch how you pause to take in the end cap merchandise...its location seems important. Manufacturers know this and will pay more for this space. Be careful of signs like 10 for $10! This may seem like you need to buy ten of the item to get this price, but really you can buy one for $1 if you want to.

The perimeter also holds your one-stop-shop conveniences along the way such as the pharmacy, ATMs and Starbucks. This is so handy, you're sure to be back! Remember to translate this psychology knowledge into money saving you really need that $4 coffee?

Back of the Store - is generally for meats and diary. Most people will need something in this area even on a quick trip and it's no coincidence they put it as far away from the front entry as possible. It forces you to pass all kinds of items you might decide you need on the way.

Frozen Foods - equal the highest profit items in the store. They are often located in the middle aisles and will get noticed no matter what route a shopper takes.

Grocery Shelf Psychology

Here are more money saving tips with knowledge of grocery store shelf psychology:

The Top Shelf - is for regional or lesser-known brands and gourmet items.

The Middle Shelves - are at eye level and considered premium space for manufacturers. Many shoppers take from these shelves without looking any further.

The Bottom Shelves - carry cheaper store brands and bulk items. Did you know that the store brands are often made by the same companies sitting on the middle shelves?

More Money Saving Tips

Make a specific grocery list and stick to your budget. Having a planned weekly menu helps tremendously in knowing exactly what you'll need ahead of time. Instead of being a victim of store psychology, you can enjoy your shopping experience without over spending.


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    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 6 years ago from Southern California

      Those are great tips. I bring a list as well and walk through the store as fast as I can to avoid distraction. My husband however has trouble keeping up :-)

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 6 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Awesome article bloggering. Both my brothers were in the grocery store business - now retired doing other things. I learned to go with a list and DO NOT DEVIATE. If I do I set a budget - $10 maybe for spontaneous stuff. It is funny because I will grab nuts then see ice cream. I grab that then have to walk back and put the nuts back - LOL.

      Another thing I do is I sit down at my PC and check the site for Albertson's where I shop. I price everything before I go. The game is to come home with more than my budget. I usually win - smile. Thanks for sharing your valuable knowledge on this.

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 6 years ago from Southern California

      And thanks for the follow yourself Michael!

    • michael ely profile image

      michael ely 6 years ago from Scotland

      Great article bloggering. Full of great tips. Also thanks for following me. Cheers. Michael.

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 7 years ago from Southern California

      Yes - it's very easy to get sucked into the marketing without thinking it through.

    • profile image

      Tom @ Payday Power 7 years ago

      Never thought about the layout of the shelves but it makes sense. I saw something about offers which don't save you money but people are drawn to it because there is a special offer sign.

    • Nick M. profile image

      Nick M. 7 years ago

      Very insightful look into what makes my local grocery store tick!

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 7 years ago from Southern California

      That's a pretty good tip! There were many times in the past when I got home from shopping and said.."Why did I buy that?"

    • The Ponderer profile image

      The Ponderer 7 years ago from Scotland

      Nice tips - I was told once that once you get to the checkout you should always put three items back.

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 7 years ago from Southern California

      That is so true. I have found myself picking up dumb items at the last minute just because I'm bored in line.

    • FrugalGal profile image

      FrugalGal 7 years ago

      Great hub. Thank you for the reminders. There are a lot of programs online where you can make a shopping list and have it sorted according to department. Then stick to it. Don't go while you're hungry or tired. Don't buy anything at the displays by the checkout. Those are also mean to lure you into last minute purchases while you're waiting in line.

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 7 years ago from Southern California

      Glad I could open your eyes a little. It'll make shopping more fun :-)

    • ThePepperDen profile image

      ThePepperDen 7 years ago from Australia

      Clever article! There's a lot of things here about the shops that I never really noticed before. Guess I'm just a little more savvy with my grocery shopping now. ^_^

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 7 years ago from Southern California

      What a great service! Thanks for the tip Jazzy :-)

    • profile image

      Jazzy L 7 years ago

      Hub, Very Helpful Article. I really see stores differently. I heard about a new site at Church. It compares prices at the top stores here in Atlanta. From what I’ve read, it updates twice a week and shows where the lowest prices are on a few hundred items. You can print out your shopping list or have it sent to your phone. (I’m not savvy enough for that though). I email them since their not up yet, and they told me they will be up on January 20 in Atlanta and Birmingham AL. then other cities.

    • bloggering profile image

      bloggering 7 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks - you'll never look at a grocery store the same again ;-)

    • mrfluffy profile image

      mrfluffy 7 years ago from Northamptonshire

      Good tips, Excellent hub

    • cookibuq profile image

      cookibuq 7 years ago from Ireland / Hong Kong

      Very clever !Never really paid much attention to this before..... Can apply this to my next shopping trip :)