9 Creative Ways You Can Encourage Impulse Buying in Your Retail Business


9 Tips to Encourage Impulse Buying in Your Store

Are you ignoring a potentially profitable type of product in your retail store? I’m talking about impulse buying. More than three-fourths of Americans have made an impulse buy in the past three months; of those, more than half have spent over $100 on an impulse buy, according to a survey by CreditCards.com.

How to Encourage Impulse Buying

Target, H&M, Sephora and even Home Depot are among the retail masters of the impulse buy, and you can learn a lot just by cruising their aisles. However, if you don’t have time to head out on your own research expedition, these nine tips will help you spark more impulse buys in your store.

Lure Them In

Impulse buys near the front of the store can draw curious customers in to check them out. (Put the products close enough to be seen from outside, but not so close that shoplifters can easily grab them.)

Use Color, Signage and Lighting to Draw Attention to Impulse Purchases

Colorful displays attract shoppers’ eyes—as does signage in the impulse buy area—emphasize something like “Everything under $10!”

Get “In Their Face”

Put low-priced impulse buys where shoppers can’t miss them—on end caps, at checkout or even in the middle of the aisle. Track which areas of your store shoppers spend the most time in, and set up little impulse buy stations there.



Be Devious

Got impulse buys you want parents to buy for their kids? Display them at children’s eye level. (Hey, it works for candy at the supermarket checkout line.)

Capture Their Attention While They Wait

When customers are waiting at the checkout counter, merchandising potential impulse buys nearby can turn a wait into an enjoyable browsing spree. H&M and Sephora are masters of this game.

Up the Ante with Limited Time Deals

When a customer is already tempted by a nearby impulse purchase, all it takes is a little nudge like “Buy two, get the third free” to push them over the edge to buy.

Do a Demonstration

Just about every store can spur impulse buys by holding demonstrations. (Think Costco.) An apparel boutique can hold a fashion show; a cooking store can demonstrate a cool new food processor; an auto parts store can demonstrate a new waterless car wash product. Have plenty of whatever you’re demonstrating on hand; give out free samples, too.

Remind Salespeople to Encourage Impulse Buys

As salespeople interact with customers, they can direct their attention to possible impulse buys. For example, if a customer is trying on a pair of jeans, the salesperson could suggest a different wash, or a completely different product like a belt or jacket that would look good with the jeans.

Know What Kinds of Products Make Good Impulse Buys

Among the best impulse purchases are:

  • Products with sensual appeal, such as lotions, perfumes, cosmetics, candy, gum, or small toys. Anything that calls out to be touched or held can be a good impulse buy.
  • Practical products that everyone needs. Sometimes, impulse buys have nothing to do with your store, but are things you might find in the average person’s purse, pocket or junk drawer at home. This category includes facial tissue, lip balm, batteries, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Products that complement your primary product line. What “goes with” the bigger-ticket items you sell? For example, my local Nordstrom Rack displays cell phone chargers shaped like purse charms near the handbag section, and scented candles near the bedding section. Jewelry cleaner or polishing cloths with jewelry, extra shoelaces in a shoe store, air fresheners at an automotive parts store — you get the idea.

Family Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow her on Google+ and visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

One Reaction

  1. Aira Bongco

    You need to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and think about what will make them buy now. I think that is the key.

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