7 Truths of Supermarket Offers ...


7 Truths of Supermarket Offers ...
7 Truths of Supermarket Offers ...

Just what is the truth of supermarket offers? I don’t know how mad it is in the US, but there has been a price war raging among the UK top supermarkets for a decade now, and you can see ads for supermarket offers just about anywhere and everywhere. The thing is, despite all these ‘fantastic’ offers and savings that are splashed all over the television, Internet, newspapers and radio, our grocery bills just keep on rising and rising. So what’s going on? Are all these supermarket offers there to hide what’s really happening to the prices – that really there is a cent here and a penny there added every week. Let’s try and unearth the truth of supermarket offers, shall we?

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‘Yo-Yo’ Pricing

The basic truth of supermarket offers is that they aren’t always what they seem. ‘Yo-Yo’ pricing is a technique that retailers use to make you think you are getting a great deal, when in fact you aren’t. This is the practice where a supermarket offers a product at an inflated price for a short time, and then slashes it to make it seem like a great deal, when in-fact the ‘slashed’ price is actually the normal market price. Legally there is nothing to prevent retailers from this ‘Yo-Yo’ tactic. However, retailers are not allowed to sell something at a reduced price unless the original price has been advertised for a certain amount of time. But this does not stop them from advertising the ‘slashed price’ as soon as they are able to, or using the tactic in the first place.


The Hidden ‘Yo-Yo’ Tactic

For big supermarkets that sell expensive products such as electronics (and for many other big retailers), products at the ‘normal’ price will often only be advertised online. Once they have advertised the product online for long enough at the inflated price, they reduce the price and flood the shop floor with the product. So they are, in essence, trying to hide the inflated price. Another truth of supermarket deals is that chains will display such products at a limited number of smaller and more innocuous retail locations, before mass deployment of the ‘reduced’ product.


The Deal Doesn’t Apply to Everyone

Different supermarkets will often sell the same product at different prices, for example, some selling at X, others at a lower price Y. The product will then be unanimously lowered to the price Y, and discounts will be advertised even for the stores that already sold the product at price Y.


The Deal Isn’t Real

One of the most common false offers at the supermarket is where a discount on a product is advertised, but only because the size of the product has reduced. It is often difficult to tell when certain products have shrunk in size, so supermarkets are able to get away with it.


By One Get One Free?

Buy One Get One Free deals are often legitimate supermarket offers. The store buys the product in bulk at reduced prices thanks to the economy of scale, and then passes the savings on to the consumer. But there are often Buy One Get One Free Deals where the same amount of product can be brought for a cheaper price with a single larger pack. This may or may not be a genuine error, but either way the consumer loses out because the BOGOF deal is much more visible.


Capitalizing on Impulse Buying

Another of the basic truths of supermarket offers is that the retailers know that consumers can be impressionable. This is reflected in the structure and orientation of products situated throughout every major supermarket. For example, after a long shop, you and the children are often hungry, which is why the tills are stacked with sweets, often with Buy One Get One Free deals. They know that children will badger their parents.


Cheaper Prices without Deals

More expensive branded products are always placed at ‘easy to see’ locations, while cheaper products are placed at ‘harder to see’ locations, often on the bottom shelf. You may see a deal on a product at the end of an aisle right in your line of sight, when there is in fact a similar and much cheaper product hidden somewhere else.

I think the lesson we can learn from the truth about supermarket offers is that they cannot be accepted at face value. It’s hard enough doing the grocery shopping, and I think supermarkets count on us not wanting to spend more time than we need to doing it. They count on us not shopping around or being savvy shoppers. Let’s show them we know better. Have you been caught out by deals at the supermarket that turned out to not be so hot?

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