Supermarket Sweep

Supermarkets spend ages agonizing over how they can keep customers loyal and stop them defecting to the opposition. I think they often overlook their most important selling point.

I've just zoomed around Sainsbury's in about 20 minutes, getting everything I wanted, because I know where everything is. Contrast with last week, when we happened to be near an Asda, so thought we'd do the shop there. I was lost. Some things took ages to find. Most bizarre - Branston pickle wasn't with the pickles, it was in a different aisle with the sauces. Not on, chaps, not on.

So one of the few real ways a supermarket can keep customers loyal is to stick to a layout, enabling regular customers to know where everything is. And what do they do in practice? Every few months they move things around. In supermarket lore this is supposed to increase opportunistic sales, when you notice something you weren't looking for but suddenly fancy when you see it. But in practice, what it does is really irritate the regulars.

Here's a proposal, shoppers. Next time your usual supermarket switches things around, go to that other supermarket you've always wanted to use, but couldn't get the hang of. You might as well, now you're lost anyway - and it'll teach them a lesson for messing with your familiar store.


  1. It's all very well for you with your youthful mind and quick memory to say that you remember where things are from one week to the next but for those of us with a touch of memory indifference then where things are placed becomes more of a lottery experience - the occasional winnings popping up from time to time as you travel about in hope rather than expectation.

    However, my big gripe is with the design of their car parks; relatively easy to get into but a nightmare to get out of; why send every car out the same way they came in - across the path of the ants entering and leaving their nest, with the need to slow down and stop every few seconds to accommodate some trolley dolley in need of steering lessons or some kids who can't walk straight.


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