Encouraging Impulse Buys in Your Store: A Critical Look at Unplanned Purchases

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What is impulse buying?

An impulse purchase is an unplanned decision to buy a product or a service and it accounts for a substantial part of the consumer expenses. A study conducted by Marketing Support, Inc. and Leo J. Shapiro & Associates, has it that about 33.3% of all consumers make a fairly large impulse buy every week with an average of 26 Euros (30$).

The brick-and-mortar edge

The numbers look even better if you’re the traditional street-side retailer because most of the times, shoppers tend to make more unplanned purchases at physical shops compared with online shopping. The result of a research conducted by A.T. Kearney has it that “40% of consumers spend more money than they had planned in stores, while only 25% reported online impulse shopping.”

This is possible because those selling in the brick-and-mortar stores have a better way of controlling customers’ shopping experiences compared with online counterparts. You can make better designs and good staffing decisions, not to mention the fact that you can better engage people’s senses in order to influence customers’ purchasing decisions in your store.

To be candid, you have a lot of things going on for you as a brick-and-mortar store owner, as far as impulse buying is concerned. But there is a salient question, how wisely are you using the powers and resources at your disposal?

Here are some few pointers in case you are not:

Increase visibility
I love it as a Specialty Retail put it, “Seeing is buying.” Also, Donald R. Lichtenstein, a professor of marketing, who is also an associate dean at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado, said in that publication that getting customers to see your product is “the first and most crucial step when it comes to impulse buying.”

He further mentioned in that interview with Specialty Retail that, “Displaying your goods in their faces and getting their attention on what you’re selling can make them to quickly make a decision as to what to do.”Even when someone is not willing to shop at a particular, there is a way you can make such a person to see your products and feels like going for it. One effective way of achieving this is by using signage. Get your goods noticed by using eye-catching signs showing your sales and the promos that you are offering. announcing sales and promos.

More so, you need to pick your color background wisely. A color shade of red and yellow have proven to draw people’s attention, but you can test other colors that portray your products and make sense to your audience.

Be strategic with positioning

Purchasing through impulse works better if your products have high visibility. You need to place your goods where your potential customers are certain to see them in order to increase your sales. There are two most effective ways you are sure to achieve this retail stores: positioning the impulse products at the checking out areas and placing them near your bestsellers.

Placing some of your products at the checkout zone is a common and highly effective tactic in making better sales. Most likely, shoppers already in the point-of-sale areas have a higher chance of making additional purchases despite getting all what they initially came to buy.

A store I have witnessed executes this well is Victoria’s Secret. It has very catchy displays and fixtures containing inexpensive lip glosses, trial size fragrances, and other novel items near the checkout counter and all these products typically come with a promo like BUY TWO GET TWO PROMO in order to make the customers buy one or two additional items.

Another working strategy is to place your products near your store’s prominent selling points. Ask yourself, “What parts of my store do customers mostly head to?” “What are the items that my customers usually go for? Strategically place other goods near these areas or products to boost their visibility.

Also, make sure that the products you want to promote complement those best sellers. For example, if you operate a pet store, you can strategically place dog-grooming accessories such as brushes near the top-selling brands of shampoo to encourage impulse buys for that accessories.

Choose impulse products wisely

The best impulse products are the ones that are easy to pick in term of size. The key is “Keep them simple”. As a business consultant, Lynn Switanowski told ABC News, that “Such products don’t need any explanations. It sells itself because your customers understand what it does.”
In other words, if your customers need to ask what the items are for, then they won’t be good for impulse buys.

And ideally, impulse products should be small and not expensive. They should be items that can be easily picked or handed to the cashier.

With this, Victoria’s Secret comes to mind. This retailer chose to place trial size products near the exact checkout areas because they all meet the criteria described above: uncomplicated, handy, and economical.

Do you keep all these principles in mind when you’re deciding on which items to display for the purpose of impulse buys?


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