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Increasing Impulse Purchases & Buying

Consumers generally attempt to avoid impulse purchases while visiting local retailers. However, statistics shows us that on average, shoppers who run out on a “quick trip” will spend 54% more than originally planned. This bodes well for convenience store and grocery store operators, as 47% of these same shoppers will visit retail outlets three to four times every week. As a retailer, impulse purchases are a vital aspect of your business.

Why do people make impulse purchases?

There are many reasons that impulse purchasing accounts for 40% of consumer spending (60% in the grocery & convenience industry). One of the main reasons is based on physiology – impulse purchasing boosts self esteem and personal ego, which results in the consumer feeling happier after the purchase. In addition some impulse purchases fulfill physiological needs (or desires), such as thirst, hunger or a sweet tooth. Finally impulse buying is often driven by presumed external needs, such as a lighter to go with the cigarettes they came in to purchase. Despite the reason for the impulse purchases, there are several ways to increase your sales in this important category.

Top Three Ways to Increase Impulse Buying

Product Types

Impulse purchases are generally small in size, light in weight and inexpensive in nature. Furthermore the items need to either meet a physiological or psychological need or desire. For instance bottled water meets the physiological need of thirst, while a lottery ticket may meet a psychological desire to better oneself. Both items are chief candidates for impulse purchases.

Properly determining what items will best sell as impulse items is the key to increasing your impulse purchases.

Area to Display Impulse Purchases

Product Placement

Where you place your products is vital to the success of their movement. Traditionally, in and around the sales counter has been thought of as the only place to have impulse items, this is because the sales counter is a high traffic area that people congregate around. If you apply the same principle, there are several other key areas that impulse items could be placed. These include deli counters, coffee bars and beer coolers.

In addition to where products are placed, it is important to properly merchandise them. While it may make sense to have lots of options available at your points of sale, a cluttered counter or display is distracting. Often times key products get lost in the crowd. Instead, identify high margin items that have attractive qualities that can drive your sales higher.

Product Promotion

Finally, after you have determined the correct products and placed them in the optimal location it is time to promote the items. 88% of impulse purchases are the result of a sale or perceived sale. One of the best ways to draw attention to a product is to advertise it at a lower price or offer discounts for multiple purchases. Often times you can work with your distributor to offset the price by purchasing a greater quantity of the product you plan to promote. Furthermore if you are unable to apply a sale to the item that you wish to promote you can place the product next to items that are actually for sale.

Finally, promote the item with a significant call to action that requires an immediate answer – such as “Limited Time Only” or “Limited Quantities”. This puts the pressure on your customers to make a quick decision based on their emotions, instead of giving them time to reason their way out of buying the product.


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