Tips for Smart Grocery Shopping

Unlike shopping for clothes or shoes, grocery shopping involves a little more planning and responsibility. After all, running a household isn’t a joke. Grocery shopping isn’t just one individual’s wish list, it requires keeping in mind the needs of everybody in the family. Whether it is a family of twelve, or a household of two, if this is strategically planned, it can work wonders. Here are a few ways to help you while you go shopping for groceries.

How To Shop Efficiently

Make a List
This is a must for all shoppers, irrespective of the fact whether you are a frugal shopper or a squanderer. List down everything you and other family members require. Don’t do this in a hurry. Start making a list a few days before you actually plan to make a trip to the local supermarket. This gives you enough time to check your refrigerator and storage containers in the kitchen. Check if other members want to add to the list.

Classify your List
Divide your list into broad sections: vegetables, dairy, spices, snacks, toiletries, etc. This will help you remember if there is something missing in the list, and help you pick up exactly what you need from a particular section in a store.

Ready-to-cook Meals
These are things you often forget in your shopping list, and then feel stressed out when you are in no mood to cook an elaborate meal. Ready-to-cook meals come handy occasionally. Stock them up.

Make a Budget
You definitely aren’t going to spend all your money on grocery. Plan how much of your earnings should be kept aside for the grocery. There are many products in the market to tempt you to spend more. Try not to overshoot your budget. Trust me, there are lots of things you can do with the saved money.

Take Somebody Along
Yes, you know your job well. But no harm requesting a family member to accompany you if the list is long. However, take someone who is not a wastrel. This way you can get some good advice and also get some help to move out of the store fast.

Make a Trip During Off-peak Hours
Not only will you get enough parking space if you go to the store when it is not crowded, but you will also be to finish your shopping faster. The long lines at the cash counters can be really frustrating. Avoid going on weekends or major holidays. Most stores also tend to finish their stock during peak hours, so you might miss out on something that you desperately need.

Check Out the Best Bargains
Read every offer carefully. Maybe you can get a good deal. Check out the pamphlets and banners displayed for the customers. Ask questions if you have doubts, but don’t get swayed by the offers. This is not the last time the store is offering a discount. You can come back later. Where is the bargain if you are buying things just for fun?

Start From the First Section
When you move systematically, you know exactly what you need. You can definitely browse around. But then look at your list. Is that mentioned on your list? Is that something you really need? Move fast if you don’t need it now.

Don’t Compromise on the Price and Brand
If you feel that the store you went shopping last week has a better range of tea bags, don’t buy them from this store. Mark it in your list, so you don’t forget to buy the tea bags from the other store. Also, if you feel apples at a particular supermarket are more expensive compared to another market your friends told you about, avoid buying them from here. Shop wisely.

Never Just Grab Items at Eye Level
Always look on the shelves above and below, probably that is where what you need exactly is. Stores often have wide-ranging brands and products in different quantities. Check out the right quantity pack. You don’t need to horde things in your kitchen.

Avoid Looking Back
Give a final glance to your list before you arrive at the cash counter. Once at the cash counter, don’t just keep going back to the shelves to grab things again and again. There are other people waiting in the line and their time needs to be respected.

Keep An Eye on the Cash Register
The person at the counter can make a mistake, so be careful of what he is billing you for. Make sure you remind him if there are any freebies on any products. Check if all the products you picked up have been carefully put in your bag.

Avoid Plastic Bags
Lead by example. Carry your own cloth bag as far as possible. Be sensitive to the environmental concerns.

If you follow these tips, you can have a pleasant shopping experience, where you will have gotten all you needed, and save a few bucks as well.

How to Go Grocery Shopping With Kids

American kids spend significant number of hours in passive entertainment, courtesy – the idiot box. The value of television is increasing awareness amongst kids can’t be underestimated but we all know that gluing to the TV sets or video game systems for hours after the school time, leaves our kids with no time to be involved in other productive pursuits. Taking your kids along with you, while you are going for running, walking or even shopping, is a great way to engage their minds in other activities. Kids need to establish a bonding and connection with the outer world. They must learn from outdoor world experiences as it is vital for their social growth. Grocery shopping stands out as a great alternative for parents to take their kids out.

Tips on Positive Engagement of Kids in Grocery Shopping

Many parents believe that kids will rarely respond positively to an invitation of grocery shopping, a task that appears quite mundane to kids. Assuming that your kids will never agree to come out for shopping or other outdoor tasks is quite wrong. Curiosity forms the essence of a kid’s life. As parents, you can positively use their curious nature to attract them for grocery shopping. You can encourage kids to participate in shopping by including interesting games. For instance, challenge them to identify correct names of five to ten vegetables in the grocery store and if they do so, award them a candy. You can also ask your kids to tell you the correct path to reach back home after shopping. These seemingly small steps give confidence to kids and they also develop their cognitive and mental skills.

If you exercise your creativity, there are many ways to get them involved in the grocery shopping. Remember that kids are hard nuts to crack. You have to be persistent in persuading them and since you know your kids very well, you have to decide the best way to take them out. In several cases, kids can’t be left alone in the house due to safety concerns, so you can certainly ask them to come out with you. Kids do respond to words of love, care and authority. In case, you go shopping with kids, especially grocery shopping, do take care of following points:

As aforementioned, encourage them to come out with you and if they agree, you must do some preparation before shopping.
Make a list of everything you need. Check your freezer, drawers and kitchen cupboards. Double check the list. Give the list to your kids and ask them to check out if anything is left out. They will be more enthusiastic to do that task. Making a list of what you need to buy helps in arranging your budget properly. Otherwise, you may end up spending more than necessary.
It is good to have a fixed budget in mind and then plan your shopping list. Ask the kids to make their own list of what they want from the store. This will be really exciting for the kids. You must give them a specific budget (say few dollars) in which they have to buy their favorites from the grocery store. You will see that they will love grocery shopping.
If you have a well planned list of exactly what you need, you won’t have to rush or exert your mind too much during shopping. You won’t be wheeling your trolley continuously, here and there in the store. You can also look after the toddler, infant or your kids if you are well planned in your strategy. Otherwise, you know kids. They will be doing some mischief in the grocery store, touching anything, running or opening any box of chocolates!
If you have many kids and you are taking all of them for shopping, managing them can be a difficult task. You can bring them on alternate weekends for the shopping.
When you select a product, show your kids how to read labels, pricing and what to look for before buying the needed product. Inform them about sugar, calories, carbohydrate contents, oily packaged foods, etc. It will help them develop good shopping skills and will also increase their knowledge.
Involve your kids in calculations as it helps in boosting their maths skills. Tell them to see price tags of the products you are keeping in the trolley and ask them to do mental calculations of all the products. They may end up calculating wrong but it is great fun and challenge for them. Moreover, they won’t ideally roam in the grocery store, as they will participate whole heatedly in the shopping.
Inform them about service taxes levied on products in retail grocery stores. Now, you can not tell them accounts and finances but just give a hint of these terms. The purpose of shopping with them is to broaden their horizons.
Don’t ever go for a tedious and long shopping with kids. They will get bored soon. Keep the shopping time reasonable.
Don’t go shopping with an empty stomach, especially with kids. You’ll feel sorry for doing so as hungry kids can be seriously annoying!
During shopping, surprise your kids by gifting them something that they ask very often but you say, ‘next time, son’. They will feel delighted for such small surprises. They will also be more engaged in the shopping experience.
As stated earlier, you must allocate some budget to your kids. Let them shop as per their wish. Keep an eye on what they are buying. At the end of the shopping, discuss with them, what better pricing products they could have purchased. If they save few cents for other works, you must appreciate them for their good habits. It is also a hint that they are developing good money management skills.
Inform them about how to select fresh vegetables, identify fish, meat products and try to give them description of weights and measures. What is a pound? How weighing machines work? Kids will learn to know about these simple things in a grocery store.
Let them carry items that they can easily pick up as per their weight and age.
Explain to them the role of cashier, ask them to stay in the line for billing purposes. Once kids know how shopping is done, they will rarely ask you again where to pay the cash. Remember, kids catch up things very fast.
Carry water bottles and milk bottle (if it’s a toddler) along with you. Kids get impatient when they are thirsty and if they don’t get water, they will make a scene out in the grocery store.
Discuss with them about good shopping etiquette before entering the grocery store. Tell them that it is not good to open any box or touch any product unnecessarily.
Carry your own grocery bags and avoid plastic bags. This will be a great lesson to your kids regarding keeping our environment clean.
Ask them to describe their experience at the end of the day, when they go to bed. If the father wasn’t there for the shopping, encourage the kids to tell their father about the shopping experience.
If you have to cross a road, or you are walking with your kids to the market place, inform them about traffic rules and other essential safety tips.

The above mentioned tips and tricks on grocery shopping with kids must have given you deep insights about the effective way to handle kids at shopping stores. Don’t expect kids to be cent percent perfect as they will create some nuisance and commit some mistakes, after all they are kids! Shopping with children can be made fun, if you plan well. It will be amusing for you to spend some busy time with your little ones, who will do some acts of both, intelligence and mischief in the grocery store! Be prepared for a fun filled and interesting experience.

Shoplifting Prevention Tips

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Shoplifting is rising at an alarming rate. There are two categories of shoplifters: professionals and amateurs. Professional shoplifters steal to earn money, whereas amateurs do this for some fun and adventure. Hiding stolen merchandise inside clothing or baggage, or with other purchased items, is the most common shoplifting technique. Changing the price label is another widely used method. If the shoplifter is highly experienced or bold, he might run out of the store with the stolen merchandise. To ensure you don’t become a victim of these techniques, follow the tips mentioned below. But first, learn to identify potential shoplifters.

How to Identify Shoplifters?

Shoplifters prefer to carry out their operations when the employees are less alert, say when store is just opening to a lot of customers, is crowded, or is closing with enough customers still waiting for their billing. Identifying shoplifters is a tough task as they do not have any specific profile. They can be of any age, ethnic background, or gender. Ask your staff to closely observe the following people:

A group entering the store, out of which one or two people are creating a lot of disturbance in order to distract the staff. This is because shoplifters prefer to work in a group of two or more.
If a particular person visits the store frequently but never buys anything.
People wearing heavy clothing like coats even in warm weather or carrying large bags.
A person who is spending more time around the cashier and not shopping for anything.
A person who seems to be nervous and is randomly picking up things from the rack.
People who enter the changing room with a lot of items but come out with just a few.

Useful Tips to Prevent Shoplifting

All the merchandise should be properly arranged on the racks. This will help the staff to detect any missing items easily. Do not let them lie around here and there unnecessarily. This may prompt the shoplifters to pick up those items. The display racks should be kept away from the gates in order to avoid ‘grab-and-run’ thefts. Items that are small, yet expensive, should be displayed in locked cases.

The staff should be given proper training to prevent shoplifting. This involves identification of shoplifters and looking out for signs of shoplifting. They should be made aware about the various tactics practiced by the shoplifters. They should maintain eye contact with the customers so that they can understand if the customer needs help or is looking for scope to steal items. They should be familiar with prices of various items so that they can detect switching of labels.

Ensure the safety of the cash counter. Empty the cash drawer after regular intervals so that minimum amount of cash is kept in it. When not in use, lock the drawer and keep the keys in a secured area. At the end of the day, the cash should be counted behind closed doors and not in front of the customers.

There are shoplifting prevention systems which can be used to minimize thefts. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is considered one of the best devices to prevent shoplifters from carrying out their agenda. It gives the thieves a sense of insecurity as they feel that they are being monitored continuously. Another device is EAS or electronic article surveillance system. Here, an EAS tag is attached to each and every item of the store. When a customer is buying the item, the tag is either detached or deactivated. If someone tries to take an unauthorized item out of the store with the tag, then an alarm will blow as it passes the gates.

Every year the retail industry suffers huge losses due to shoplifting. For this reason, shoplifting prevention is a must in order to reduce the opportunities for thieves.

Retail Window Display Ideas

If you ever give a thought to the process that is involved in making a purchase, you would realize that any product first appeals to us visually, only then we go ahead and feel it with our hands, test it, make inquiries about it and then finally make a purchase. This is true for everything, right from clothes to food to technology! That’s why, all retail businesses focus on grabbing the attention of their potential customers by way of creating visually appealing displays.

Store windows are the first thing that any potential customer notices about a retail store. Based on this impression, the customers make a decision whether to walk into the store or not. That’s why, a lot of emphasis should be made on designing and decorating retail window displays. They should be attractive and interesting enough to pull customers in.

Retail Store Window Display Ideas

Highlight ‘Offers’ and ‘Sales’
If your retail store is targeting middle class customers, then it’s but obvious that they will be after bargains and freebies. So, if you have some offers for them, highlight these in the window display. Also, when putting up such offers, be very specific about them. For instance, you can write things like ’20 % off on Shirts’ or ’20 % off on purchase of more than $X’, etc. This will lend credibility to your offer and thus, pull more customers into your store.

Be Creative
When someone’s out shopping, they want to enjoy themselves. They want to see good things which will bring a smile to their face. So, why not use your store window to spread the cheer? In other words, be creative and come up with some special, bright, colorful, cheerful, creative and of course meaningful retail window display designs. The window displays should be designed in such a way that they grab the attention of every one who passes by. The window displays should be relevant too. They should be like a preview to the potential customers on what to expect in your store. So, display a few items in the window that your store sells, however, do it very creatively.

Involve your Customers
One of the best display ideas is to involve your customers in its d├ęcor. For this, you can keep sketching and painting contests in your store and provide the customers who walk in with sheets, colors, paints and the required stationery. To ensure maximum participation, keep a few prizes as well for good entries. Later, you can display this ‘artwork’ on your store window. By doing this, you will be building relationships with your potential customers and thus, can expect success in getting repeat business.

Change ‘The Display’ Often!
This is extremely important. If you stick to the same window display for months, however interesting it is, it will start looking boring after a while. Thus, keep on changing the display from time to time. A good idea is to change them seasonally. So, you can have a different display for summer, spring, winter and autumn. On special occasions such as Christmas and Halloween, when you expect more people to visit your store, have some displays designed around these special occasions. You can even plan your display around some major sports events or any event of relevance that has taken place in your city or country!

As you can see, when it comes to retail window display ideas, the sky is the limit! You can come up with various ways of making your store window stand out from the rest, if you give it a proper thought and are creative about it. However, when designing the display window, keep in mind that the whole point of doing it up is to get customers in so that your sales go up! Thus, your goal when decorating the retail window is not just to beautify it, but to interest the potential customers so much that they walk into your store to make a purchase!