Stores think of new ways to get consumers to spend more

Prices, music in store affect shoppers

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Groceries are one of the biggest expenses in any family's budget; but, while you're clipping coupons and trying to save, stores are thinking of new ways to get you to spend more.

Consumer expert Amy Davis met with semi-supermarket celebrity Scott McClellend, of HEB, to get the inside scoop on the most common supermarket secrets.

"People think the grocery business is really easy," McClelland said. "You bring stuff in and put it on the shelf and people buy it; but, there's a lot of thought that goes behind it."

McClelland admits it starts the minute shoppers walk in the door of a grocery store. Studies show shoppers who start on the right side of the grocery store and move towards the left spend about 2 percent more than those who shop the other way.

"In a perfect world, because most people are right-handed, we'd prefer to have most people shop from right, circle around to left; but, in the store we're in right now, it shops from left to right," McClelland explained.

He said they can't always force a store layout. It usually depends on the design and parking lot.

He also doesn't think the right to left theory actually translates to more spending; he just believes it's easier for most right-handed people to shop in that direction.

"I would say right after prices, the second most controversial item in a grocery store is the music that you play," McClelland said.

Davis asked him about research that shows customers move slower when they're listening to slow tunes. It might be true, but McClelland said HEB focuses instead on music that will make customers happy. The store manager at each location chooses the music in their stores. At the HEB at Rayford and Sawdust off of the North Freeway contemporary rock music was playing.

If you want to spend less, studies show you should grab a smaller cart. It makes sense that you're more likely to keep shopping when you've got room for more stuff.

And no matter where you shop, you need to look up and down to find the deals. Stores often put the items that they make more money on at eye level. Generic-brand or lower-priced items are on typically on the bottom shelf.

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