Grocery stores are a marvel of organization. The aisles are all categorized by types of food. Most likely you’ll start in the produce section on one side and end up with dairy on the complete other side. Milk, eggs and bread top the list as the most common thing bought. If your grocery store were a website those items would be on the front page. Wouldn’t it create a better user experience if they were grouped together in the front of a grocery store?
In this case it is not about user experience, it is about selling food. Think about it. You go to the store to pick up a few items and end up with a basket full. It’s genius. The user most likely wanders through almost every aisle. As they wander they see things “They need to buy”. When you get to the check out there are more items waiting for you. These are known as impulse buys. By design you’ll wait for at least one customer ahead of you. This give you time to buy one or two more things. I’d love to meet or be one of these grocery store designers.
This tactic has been used in many other industries. Magazines and newspapers were great at this. You would browse page by page and hit every ad along the way. The TV ad interspersed in the show you were watching. If you can think of other example post them in comments.
With the internet we have lost a great opportunity to market by taking away the browsing aspect. Information architects group information and allow you to go straight to it from any page on the website. This is all and good and give a good user experience. But is it really the most effective? Maybe there is a way to do both? Websites like Amazon post sections like “Frequently bought together” and “What do customers ultimately buy?” And like the grocery store these items are on the way to product details. Perhaps an insurance website could do the same. Maybe even have some articles about benefits of other insurance. Stories of claims received would be a good aisle to wander through. And of course having the impulse buys at the checkout.
A good UX designer will take the model of the grocery store and its marketing genius into consideration. If they don’t, call on me.