The Trick: Relaxing Music
Ever wonder why supermarkets tend to favor easy-listening tunes? Turns out, music that has a relaxed tempo—slower than the average heartbeat—encourages shoppers to linger in the store and thus buy more.
Your move: Plug in your headphones and crank up fast-paced tunes such as Kelly Clarkson's "Heartbeat Song" to move you through the aisles much faster.
The Trick: Seductive Aromas
There's a reason you often smell fresh-baked goodness the moment you step into the grocery store: The scent can get shoppers' salviary glands going, making it harder to resist temptation.
Your move: Pop a mint. It satiates hunger, and the blast of freshness helps override other scents.
The Trick: Free Samples
That tray full of cheese might seem harmless, but a Cornell University study found that shoppers who indulge are more likely to make a postsample purchase.
Your move: Eat before you go. Hungry shoppers are more tempted by food, especially when it's free. To curb your impulse to nibble, enjoy a healthy snack about an hour before you shop.
The Trick: Creative Lighting
The better food looks, the more likely people are to load up. Some stores use bright-white lighting to give fruits and veggies a just-picked appearance, while red-tinted illumination makes prime cuts appear even fresher.
Your move: Find different lighting. Give that container of blueberries or pound of porterhouse a closer look away from the faux glow.
The Trick: Easy-Access Edibles
Open refrigerated cases encourage impulse purchases, because shoppers can grab items more easily.
Your move: Reconsider. If you're craving a $10 container of sushi, wheel your cart to another aisle to mull over the purchase. Research shows it takes about 20 minutes for the stimulated sensors in your brain (responsible for impulse control) to calm down.