Do you ever find that, when shopping in Marks & Spencer, goods are never in the place you expect them to be? I believe Marks & Spencer regularly move their products round the store for a reason, which is this: people who are brand loyal will not shop elsewhere, so if M & S sneakily move everything round, they may slightly annoy their customers, but they won’t lose any.
Now, imagine that Mrs Smith goes into the store to buy one item only: her favourite St Michael Fruit Scones. She goes to the place where she bought them last time and finds that they aren’t there any more. After looking high and low to see if they’ve been stacked on a different shelf, she eventually decides to look for them elsewhere. She won’t ask a member of staff where they are because she wants maintain her independence, besides, she has been shopping in M & S for years and she likes to think that she knows the store like the back of her hand.
Eventually, Mrs Smith finds the fruit scones she was looking for, but not before discovering a vast array of other products as she wandered around the store trying to find the scones. By the time she gets to the check-out, Mrs Smith has a handbasket full of goods, including not only the scones, but also a packet of cherry bakewells and a packet of some foreign food that she might like to try for the first time.
The fact is that market researchers at Marks & Spencer stereotype people like this all the time. They know the shopping habits of every type of person that comes into the store; they do not care for or respect Mrs Smith as an individual, they just want to maximise the amount of money they gain from her when she comes in twice a week.
Most people recognise that Marks & Spencer and other supermarkets exploit our impulsive behaviour when we shop. This is most evident when we reach the checkout, where treats are strategically positioned alongside other necessary items which we might otherwise forget, like batteries.
We know we are being manipulated in some way when we shop in supermarkets; most people would say that it’s the nature of business. I say it stinks.