August 16, 2016

How to Save on Your Weekly Shop*

Ah, the weekly food shop... for those amongst us who are less-than organised, this can often involve walking mindlessly, aisle to aisle, wondering what we actually came in for, and arriving home feeling perplexed as we stare at our boot full of broccoli and pop tarts. Have you ever got home after grocery shopping, found an item in your shopping bag and wondered 'why on earth did I pick this up?' 

As consumers, we aren't usually as aware of the complex sciences behind supermarket shopping as retailers are. Consumer psychology has been under study for decades now and this research has been shamelessly used to design certain layouts, boost promotions and develop marketing tactics that make us buy things that we don’t necessarily need. These tactics include hundreds of experimentally tested techniques that influence the way we shop at a subconscious level. This includes more than just the physical layout of the shelves and placement of products; even the music that is playing in stores is tactically chosen. Below are some these marketing strategies that make us dig deep and buy more than we anticpated. I spoke to the founder of WOW FreeStuff, who offer free food and drink samples, and he has suggested the following ways to avoid overspending on your weekly food shop...

Top Marketing Strategies used by Retailers

1. The entrance of supermarkets and the shelves nearby are specifically designed to give you a sense of happiness when you enter the store. Bright and beautiful colored vegetables and fruits along with pretty flowers welcome you as you step in.

2. Basic needs like bread, milk, and cheese are stored at the rear of the supermarket, in the hopes that you might get distracted and indulge in buying something else on your way to get what you actually need.

3. On your way to daily essentials, you will have to pass through a number of aisles with bright and colorful signs reading 'deal' and 'special discount.' Big brands aren't usually placed alongside the cheaper ones or those with such deals on, as it's believed to lower their value and appeal.

4. The placement of the products on the shelves is also planned and scientifically studied to analyse consumer behavior. Brands actually pay to get their products placed at the eye level and somewhere they’re easy to reach. The products that can be easily seen on the shelves are mostly likely to be sold.

5. Even the music can have a great influence on customers’ subconscious. Low temp, slow songs are proven to slow the pace of walking by customers, hence they spend relatively more time looking around and shopping.

Ways to Avoid Unnecessary Expenditure

1. One of the most important things that we, as consumers, fail to focus on/don’t bother to do is make a shopping list of items that we actually need, before our trip to the supermarket. Being a little bit organised before going on your shopping trip can help you focus on what you actually need and could also make sure that you don’t stray into different aisles in confusion. This is the most effective step that you can take to avoid overspending, so check your cupboards, fridge and freezer and make a list of items that you’re short on!

2. Don’t get tempted by the bright and colorful promotional banners and signs and especially the '3 for 2' offers that makes you buy an expensive brand. Some of these offers can be great, mainly where they're on items that you have a constant need for such as toilet paper or toothpaste. However, if you only came in for one bar of chocolate, should you really leave with three? These deals can be harsh on your wallet and your waist line, so stick to your shopping list and ensure you avoid unnecessary expenditure! 

3. Again, bright and colourful things are the culprit when it comes to product packaging. Don’t just go for a big, household name and expensive brand just because of its appealing looks when you can find a much cheaper alternative that offers the same quality. In the case of food, the items that are offered by supermarkets often come in dull and cheap packaging, but the product can usually be of a better quality than a branded one. Take Sainsbury's own chocolate, for example: it's something silly like 39p, but it does the trick and is a lot cheaper than a bar of Cadbury, which costs around £1.50.  

4. Discovering the times at which your local supermarkets offer discounted rates or reduce their stocks, will mean you can go for the items that you would’ve bought anyway, but at a lower price, and freeze bits that you won't use right away.

5. Last, but not least... the golden rule: never go shopping when you're hungry! An empty stomach will force you to make poor decisions. When you're hungry, you're often indecisive about what you actually want to eat and end up grabbing a bizarre mixture of foods, which aren't necessary the best option when it comes to nutrition or value. When you're hungry, you are distracted and cannot concentrate on what you need for the coming week; you'll likely forget things and have to make multiple trips. If you're like me and you're always hungry, perhaps online shopping is the best option for you? Online shopping is great, because you can do it (with a full tummy), straight from the comfort of your sofa, and you can check the kitchen cupboards as you go!

So, they're our top tips to save money on your weekly food shop. What are yours?

*This post was sponsored by WOW Free Stuff. Please see full disclaimer for details.


  1. These are all very true! I once wrote a post about beauty purchases which are unnecessary and I think the same principles apply!
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

    1. It's worse with beauty purchases! It's so easy to get carried away in Boots and come out £50 down after 10 minutes!

  2. Part of my university course is retail marketing so it was so helpful and interesting reading their top marketing strategies!
    Cloe X


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