Supermarket Psychology: How it Can Help You Craft An Effective Website

Numerous studies have been done on how supermarkets utilise psychology to increase sales and customer engagement. Every item is carefully considered and placed in such a way that plays on our subconscious needs and desires. Have you ever come out of the supermarket with a trolley full of things you didn’t need? Well that was supermarket psychology at work!

Supermarket psychology has been developed from years of extensive product and market research. Everything is ideally optimised to increase buyer frequency. Things like product placement, special offers, and even the colours and smell are worked out using this data.

So how does this relate to you, the Small Business Owner?

Well, you might be surprised to know that anyone with an Ecommerce store can greatly benefit from paying close attention to the way in which supermarkets utilise psychology to enhance their marketing strategies.

So, here are some simple observations gleaned from supermarket psychology that could help you effectively structure your Ecommerce site. Not all of these ideas will work for everyone, but just stopping to consider them may help you reconnect with your market.

Supermarket Psychology: How it Can Help You Craft An Effective Website

1. Prioritise

One of the most potent supermarket tactics is to create a hierarchy of products, placing those you most want to sell in a place where they are given more prominence. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many sites get it wrong.

When placing your products on your website, prioritise them in terms of market demand and not what you want to sell the most. If a customer sees something they like as soon as they land on your page, then they are likely to continue looking throughout the site. Alternatively, if you put your old, out-of-date stock at the top of your home page because you want to get rid of it, you might deter them from any further browsing. It’s important to remember to put the products that are in highest demand within the closest possible ‘reach’ of your website visitors.

Giving your customers the option to search for exactly what it is they’re looking for is always an effective strategy. Including functions on your website that allows them to narrow down the search increases their usability experience and helps them feel in control. When they can tailor their search to a price, colour, size or category you are prioritising your customers’ desires, which endears them to your business and is likely to create return customers.

Supermarket Psychology: How it Can Help You Craft An Effective Website

2. Remove Clutter

Any unnecessary information on the page is a roadblock to a sale. Almost everyone has had the experience of walking into a shop filled with clutter or mess and has been completely overwhelmed. Well, you don’t want your website to be like that.

Instead, optimise your design, product description and content to be as relevant to the product and customer needs as possible. Strip it back to the most important information, as this is the most effective way to convey your product. This will increase the overall usability of your Ecommerce site, positioning your customer to think more fondly of your business as a whole.

This is also the ideal moment to include SEO related terms, especially within the product title, product description and technical details, which will aid in making your site more ‘visible’ on search engines.

Including links to a separate page or to the manufacturer of your product is also a highly effective method of including more information while limiting clutter. Shorten links using Bitly, then add them to your product. Or go a step further and include a Call to Action button to another landing page that provides further detailed information. All of these will create a more streamlined and easy to navigate website for your customers, helping to keep them engaged and satisfied.

Supermarket Psychology: How it Can Help You Craft An Effective Website

3. Be a quiet observer

Customers give away their secrets while navigating your site. Where they came from, what they went next, what they looked at, what they skipped past – it’s all there to see. By observing this information, you’ll be able to better place products, sale items and information according to your customers’ movements on your site.

By watching what your customers click on, you can even seamlessly direct them to other products that they might be interested in. Did they place an item in their shopping cart and then not proceed to the checkout? Then why not send them an email to follow up? People like dealing with people, so show them that you really care about their experience with your business.

Supermarket Psychology: How it Can Help You Craft An Effective Website

4. Test and Refine

Even the best campaigns can be improved with the benefit of hindsight. Spend time assessing the strength and success of your site and make adjustments to create an even better, more appealing, environment for your customers. Then refine and repeat.

Split testing the effectiveness of campaigns that you run to promote your products is an excellent way to do this. You can run two campaigns simultaneously and figure out which one gets the best results for your business. This means that in the future, you’ll know which campaign to revert to in order to increase your chances of greater revenue.


Using supermarket psychology to optimise your Ecommerce store is easier than you think. Next time you’re buying your milk, think about this blog and why it is that you’ve come out with 3 bags of shopping. Then, consider how you can implement these tactics within your own digital business strategy.