Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wal Mart 101: beer and diapers

After taking a whole semester of Marketing 101, I realized that a simple stroll through Wal-Mart could teach you far more.

Did you know that even the placement of diapers has been carefully planned and monitored?

That’s right. A few years ago, it was observed that beer sold better if it was located near the diapers.

Imagine the scenario: Dad is on the way home from work and gets a call on his cell.

“Honey, could you stop and pick up some diapers? We’re all out.”

Back-tracking a bit, he heads wearily to the nearest Wal-Mart. On his way to pick up the diapers, what does he notice? The beer. Apparently beer sales increased quite considerably after it was strategically placed. Crazy, huh?

Of course, the marketing doesn’t end there. From the differing layouts of each store, to the constantly fluctuating prices of fruits (allowing “mark-down” signs to be placed on normally priced produce) to the blaring $2.50 posters advertising the normal price of potato chips, the folks at Wal-mart are masters of marketing.

But while they master the marketing, we can master the shopping.

produce shopping

Shopping with a list is perhaps the easiest way to avoid the marketing. Knowing what you need ahead of time avoids so many impulse purchases.

Always have a target price for such items as fresh produce, meat and other widely fluctuating items, to avoid the tempting, but over-priced "sales". Of course, there often are real genuine good deals to be had, so I generally just put the generic "fruit" and "vegetables" on my shopping list, and then search for those deals.

Bigger is not always better (per pound). This is especially true when using coupons, but even without them it’s not the price per container, but the price per oz/lb/serving that matters. Recently I was purchasing powdered milk (for making granola, not drinking!) and upon comparing price per oz, realized that a box of individual serving packets was considerably cheaper per quart than the large box. Plus, it’s much easier to store. While some items really are a better deal when bought in bulk, many aren't!

Photo by cbcs


natalie said...

Bigger is not always better (per pound).
This always irritates me! I hate having to compare the same brand in different sizes, instead of being able to assume that the bigger one, since it is saving them packaging, etc, is cheaper.

I was laughing about the beer and diapers... I didn't know that but it makes sense! :-)

A'yi said...

I got to thinking what a strange job that would be. Can you imaging trying to tell someone that your job was to figure out where to place things in Wal-Mart to make them sell best.:)
Hmmm, do I hear a story there?;)