How are wines arranged in the store?

by on July 5, 2008 at 7:36 am in Food and Drink | Permalink

The wine aisle in your grocery store is probably organized this way.
Yes, I know there is a California section and an Import section and
even a jug/box wine spot, but look within each wine display and you’ll
see the clear price stratification effect. The wines you have come to
buy are probably on the shelf just below your natural eye level, so
that you cannot help but see those special occasion wines just above
them (and the higher priced wines above them on the top shelf). Cheaper
wines are down below, near the floor, so that you have to stoop down to
choose them.

The physical act of taking the wine from the shelf mirrors the
psychological choice you make – reach up for better (more expensive)
wines, stoop down for the cheaper products. The principle will be the
same in upscale supermarkets and discount stores but the choices (what
price wine will be at the bottom, middle and top) will differ as you
might expect.

Here is the full post, which includes a photo.

1 chug July 5, 2008 at 9:05 am

standard grocery merchandising for at least the last 50 years

2 David July 5, 2008 at 11:06 am

They make it sound so sinister.

3 Dave Barnes July 5, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I buy 50+ cases of wine each year and do NOT buy in this manner.

I read the weekly flyer from our local wine shop (whose prices are within 10 cents of the largest store in the state) and look to see what wines are ON SALE that week. These are the wines I buy.

Sometimes, I don’t even walk around the store as I just place my order at the register.

For special occasion wines, I walk around the store and look for those from a particular local distributor (hate the 3-tier system) and buy his wines because I know him personally and trust his judgement /taste.

4 Auto July 5, 2008 at 1:53 pm

My very old-fashioned dentist always tells me the only thing you need to know about toothpaste is make sure it has flouride and get one that has the least abrasive ingredients. (Which is usually a gel and is almost never an organic one with hippy-ish ingedients.)

Then he’d say that Colgate and P&G make no money these toothpastes — which is why you have to kneel in the aisle to find them.

He’d close with, “If you’re not kneeling to find it, you’re spending more on toothpaste than you need to.”

5 Sean July 5, 2008 at 8:34 pm

My local grocery store’s wine aisles are shorter than the regular food aisles, so it’s the $25-$40 wines that are at eye level. To get something under $10, you almost have to sit on the floor. This is what happens when it’s also the nearest grocery store to one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Seattle (Laurelhurst).

6 Jason Armstrong July 6, 2008 at 12:52 am

Good point. Another case of “form follows function.”

7 katiet July 7, 2008 at 9:35 am

Andre is located on the top shelf of the refrigerated wine section at Harris Teeter…

But other than that anomaly, the “nice stuff on top” seems to follow pretty well. I read some report a few years ago how the grocery stores put some stuff they want you to buy just below the average female’s eye level. Whereas male-oriented items (beer I guess?) will go a little higher.

8 David July 7, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Interestingly, Costco, one of the largest wine retailers, does not use this display method.

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