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6 Tips for Increasing Impulse Buys in Your Store

For retailers, one of the biggest goals is to increase a customer’s average purchase size. This is the most economical way to scale a business and allows you to leverage your existing customer base and drive more revenues. And while there are many different ways to increase the average purchase size, one of the easiest solutions is to target and encourage impulse buys.

woman buying at shop

The Psychology of Impulse Buys

From a consumer point of view, there are two types of transactions. There are purposeful buys and impulse buys. Purposeful shopping occurs when a customer realizes they need something and visit a store with the intention of buying that item. An example of a purposeful buy would be when a person is at home and they use their last coffee filter. They then head to the local supermarket, purchase coffee filters, and leave. That’s a purposeful buy.

An impulse buy, on the other hand, happens when a person is at the store and sees something they want. Using the previous example, an impulse purchase decision would occur if that person went to the store, saw a new coffeemaker that looked better than the one they currently owned, and purchased it. The individual had no intentions of buying the coffeemaker until they saw it on the shelf.

6 Tips for Encouraging Impulse Buys

As a retailer, purposeful buys are important. They allow you to build a strong business with steady sales. However, impulse buys are what push your profits over the top. In order to maximize impulse buys without compromising purposeful buys, check out the following tips.

  • Use countertop displays. If you want to encourage impulse buys, you have to accentuate certain products and make them standout. One of the best ways to do this is by using countertop displays in checkout queues and highly trafficked areas. These displays visibly disrupt the traditional product placement and draw attention to the items you’re pushing.
  • Highlight the right products. You have to choose the right products. Only certain items are candidates for impulse buys. For example, very rarely will someone walk into an entertainment store and impulsively buy a $1000 TV. This is a purchase that usually requires careful research and planning. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for someone to walk in and purchase a $10 DVD they weren’t planning on buying.
  • Set an appropriate price point. As alluded to in the last point, the price of the product matters. Typical impulse buys are under $20 and appear to be significantly discounted. For example, an item that’s advertised as 50 percent off will sell better than a similarly priced product that’s advertised at full price.
  • Frequently rotate inventory. How many stores have the same products for sale on end caps and displays year after year? This isn’t a smart strategy. In order to maximize impulse buys, you need to frequently rotate inventory and switch out products. This allows you to target all different kinds of buyers.
  • Trigger urgency. It’s imperative that impulse buys happen quickly. The longer a person thinks about the purchase decision, the less likely they are to make a purchase. Use phrases like, “Today Only,” “Limited Quantities,” and “Going Fast,” to increase urgency.
  • Give sampling a try. There’s a reason supermarkets invest in so many product samples during the holiday season. They understand the power of engaging the senses. Allowing customers to sample products directly impacts impulse buying decisions.

Make Impulse Buys a Priority

With these tips, you can increase your store’s average transaction size by encouraging impulse buys. You may be surprised to learn how much you can make when impulse buys become a priority.