If you’ve ever stepped foot onto a casino floor, you might have noticed how the design and layout closely resemble that of your local supermarket. Whether it’s how the items are displayed, clerks checking if customers need assistance, the cashiers working the tills, or security guarding the entrance — there are many similarities between the two and how they both operate.
While it might appear that grocery stores are trying to make your shopping experience painless and convenient, according to experts, it’s all part of an ulterior motive designed to make you buy and spend more time there than necessary. In this article, we’re going to explore how both grocery stores and casinos use psychology and tricks to get more money out of customers.
Arrangement and Positioning
When you walk into a casino, the gaming floor looks like a maze of walkways that practically always lead to a blackjack table or slot machine. Once you’re in there, it can be incredibly tough to get yourself out. This isn’t just because the casino has purposefully arranged the gambling area in a way that makes it tough to suss out your surroundings or where the exits are, but the games and machines have all been made to look so enticing and tempting that you rarely want to leave.
In grocery stores, the same can be said for the one-way systems, how the aisles are arranged, and how the products are positioned in a way to look more appealing. For example, fresh fruit and vegetables are always the first things shoppers are greeted with when they step into their local store. This gives people the feeling that they are starting their shop off with healthy produce, and are more likely to grab treats and stuff with a higher price tag once they reach the other sections of the store.
They also know that essentials like milk, bread, and eggs should be spread out from each other, so consumers have to spend more time searching for them. As they wander around the store, they are likely to put non-essential items in their baskets along the way.
The Illusion of the Senses
Most casino establishments never have any clocks on display or windows to look out from. This is purely to keep gamblers from checking the time and prevent them from realizing that they’ve been pumping coins into a slot machine for 12 hours straight. Next time you waltz into a grocery store or megamarket, you might notice it also has no windows or props for telling the time.
Again, this is just another tactic to make you spend more time in there than needed. And just like casinos, the store will likely play popular music and put on visually-pleasing displays to keep your senses happy. Those bright colors and pleasant aromas are all part and parcel to make you spend more time shopping and encourage you to buy more on a subconscious level.
Free or Discounted Stuff
Everyone loves it when the waiter comes up to them and gives them a complimentary drink to mull over their next bet at a casino. Some establishments even go as far as to offer free chips, half-price meals, room upgrades, and free valet and parking just to make sure their guests feel that extra bit special. Offering stuff for free is a great trick because it naturally makes the player feel like they are getting something in return for their spending. However, the harsh reality is that this is pocket change for the casino compared to how much a player will spend throughout an evening.
Grocery stores might not be able to dish out the same kinds of rewards as gambling venues, but the idea of giving something away for free is also a move used to attract more business. This is achieved by laying out free samples at the deli counter or giving customers the chance to try a new product, which can make them feel obligated to reciprocate the generosity by purchasing the item.
Discounts, 2 for 1 offers, points, and coupons are also in abundance at most supermarkets and make the customer feel like they are getting a good deal. Even if they don’t immediately get to reap the rewards, it’s another reason to return and buy more stuff at a later date or purchase stuff they don’t necessarily need just because it’s a time-limited offer.
A permanent challenge that most grocery stores and casinos face is keeping up with different demographics. Supermarkets want to attract and appeal to as many people as possible, which is why they have a broad range of products lining the shelves. Some of these are budget-friendly, while other products might be organically sourced and therefore come with a much higher price tag. This is also where positioning comes into play again — the lower shelves aren’t as noticeable and are typically stacked with the cheaper brands. In contrast, the big-name products that cost more are usually placed at eye level.
In casinos, the operators have to account for the fact that slot players — who were at one point the cash cows in casinos — are now approaching their 50s and 60s and are less likely to gamble. This has resulted in shifting their focus to Millenials, who now make up about 39% of clientele that visit land-based casinos. This is also a reason why charging stations and free WiFi are common throughout venues these days. The operators know that most of the customers are part of a tech-driven generation with needs that revolve around the internet and the use of their mobile phones.
The Grand Plan
It may seem like casinos and grocery stores are here to make our experience easier and more enjoyable when we visit either establishment. Under the surface, though, it’s all just part of the grand plan to keep us there and make us spend more. Consumer psychology at its finest!
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