I watched an interesting episode of BBC’s Panorama this week which investigates the offers we are saturated with when entering a supermarket store. Sophie Raworth takes an in depth look at Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons to see if they are really helping us though the financial crisis or just funding their ever growing expansion at our cost.
SUPERMARKET ‘BARGAIN’ TACTICS EXPLAINED
The ‘Wow’ factor – Asda
Asda use the ‘Wow’ slogan for their online shopping service, displayed in bright yellow bold print and surrounded by a red box these are hard to miss and you would be drawn straight to them. However Sophie’s investigation uncovered eleven items that had been at the same price for at least six months, is this really a ‘Wow’ factor item? Some items were even priced higher than in previous months but unless you are meticulous with your shopping receipts and make comparisons month on month how would you know this? Our trust is placed in the supermarket to honestly display bargains and we buy more on impulse than calculated decisions when in store.
Multi-buy deals – Tescos
Tescos were found to display multi-buy price labels where there were no savings to be made. The way the label is displayed subconsciously draws your eyes to the multi-buy offer, I had a quick search on the internet and found that quite a few people had already reported on this.
Price establishing is a marketing term used when a company sells a product at one price for a long period of time, briefly raises it and then drops it again claiming the price has been reduced. Technically this is legal if a company keeps the higher price for 28 days or more however from a consumer point of view is this really a bargain? I guess there is also a question around the initial reason for the price increase, was it led by seasonal fluctuation, inflation or purely for marketing purposes?
Panorama found that Tesco had used this method on their chicken range going from £4.00 to £5.00 and then dropping again to £4.00 which enabled them to market it as a price drop but in reality it was only £5.00 for a little over two months.
Buy now while offers last
Some labels only display the current price marked ‘Buy Now’ and indicate an exclusive offer. However some products on these offers were found to have been more expensive than the price weeks earlier.
Unit Price vs. price per kg
More misleading results were found when comparing fruit and vegetables. At Sainsbury’s it was found that a pack of five bananas cost £1.00 compared to £0.42 if bought loose. Without taking the packaged bananas to a set of scales and working out the price per kg you would not know this. Similar results were found at Asda but when it came to Morrisons you would pay more for some items loose that you would packaged, again making it difficult to compare the prices displayed in different measurements.
Let us know how you feel about the supermarket advertising.
You can watch this episode of Panorama from the BBC’s iPlayer website.