How to Encourage Impulse Buys and Unplanned Purchases in Your Store

a photo of a register thanking a customer after their impulse buy

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In this post, we’ll teach you how to encourage impulse buys in your store.

The retail industry has seen a shift in the spending behavior of consumers since the COVID-19 pandemic. This change turned out to be in their favor. It is a phenomenon; and we are all quite familiar with them: impulse buying and unplanned purchases.

Impulse buying is the act of buying goods on a whim. In other words, the buyer did not intend to spend on those items on the given occasion.

Since the 1940s, this behavior has been critical in consumer research. Researchers are identifying what motivates people to do it. Studies show that 40% and 80% of purchases are made spontaneously.

The Need to Improve Marketing  Strategies to Boost Sales From Unplanned Purchases

Keeping the phrase ‘the customer is always right‘ at heart helps gain customer loyalty. However, it may not be enough for a business to make more sales.

Current statistics show that people would rather shop where it is convenient and affordable. Plus, it should also have the products they are looking for at that time. People are now more willing to try out other brands and shop using new methods.

COVID-19 is proof that recent events affect the priorities of the average consumer. A survey conducted by Slickdeals, an online deal-sharing platform, provides objective data. The survey shows a huge difference in what shoppers’ main concerns are before and during the pandemic.

Food was the top priority of 50% of the respondents in January 2020. In April of the same year, however, Cleaning Products ranked first. 42% of the 2000 survey takers chose it over other categories.

Slowly, officials are removing limitations for outdoor activities. Still, 75% of American consumers plan to continue the new shopping practices they recently tried. Your competitions are growing in numbers. Each one is looking for ways to gain more customers and profit. Your need to step up your efforts in inviting more shoppers into buying things they never thought they needed is greater. 

Follow these 5 research-backed solutions to do exactly that:

1. Ensure relevance when cross-merchandising

Cross merchandising is a retail strategy often used in physical stores. But all retailers can also use this technique with a bit of logic and creativity to encourage impulse buys in their store.

The successful use of this strategy depends on the relevance between products. For example, when we think of cereals, we also think of milk. Therefore, retailers display a new breakfast cereal product near dairy products to promote or introduce them.

Apparel shops’ use of mannequins is a form of cross-merchandising. Staff thoughtfully dress them up so customers can see how good products can look together. This helps customers see or imagine themselves wearing the look.

Such triggers specific emotions which cause them to buy on a whim. Satisfaction is one, and another is the urge to relive memories.

Action sports stores also practice cross-merchandising. These stores often line their checkout counters with items that add more value to their main products. These range from protective gear to health supplements.

Suppose your store sells running or basketball shoes. In that case, it makes sense to sell socks, laces, and even water bottles at your counters.

Fast-food chains have mastered the art of cross-selling. Every fast-food restaurant offers complete meals or sets. The best thing about these meals is that they are sold at cheaper prices. It gave consumers the power to customize what they eat or drink, thereby improving value for customers. This, in turn, increases sales for their stores.

2. Encourage impulse buys in your store with product placements

Product placement is another cross-merchandising technique. This strategy requires the careful design and layout of stores. For it to work, large-scale businesses hire a planogrammer. Their job is to analyze consumers’ shopping habits and match them to the store’s layout.

Notice how checkout counters are always filled with small low-priced products. This isn’t a coincidence; it’s product placement at work. Counter checkouts are the best areas to display small, new, cheap, or discounted products. Shoppers are more likely to buy without hesitation or guilt an item that is compact, cheap, and novel.

As for websites, the guiding principle is the same. That is, to focus on the product. An online retailer must use high-quality photos. These must also be placed where they can be easily seen by online shoppers. 67% of potential buyers base their decisions on images.

3. Use signs, boards, and language to grab attention

Signs, boards, and language attract shoppers’ attention and stir emotions. Words like “Everything Must Go” or “On Sale” on red signages create a sense of urgency. They make it seem like the products are limited, causing people to buy them while still available.

Choosing the right words can work wonders. People do not want to miss out. Survey reports that 72% of consumers that buy discounted products on impulse show an immediate boost in their mood.

Businesses must be careful when choosing the color of their signages. A good rule of thumb is to use eye-catching colors to direct the shoppers’ attention to deals or promotional features. Going for the brand’s colors, on the other hand, enhances brand awareness.

However, there is nothing wrong with going for more “traditional” colors. Market researchers have found that red, orange, black, and royal blue influence impulse buying. 

4. Increase your online presence

Social media and other digital platforms motivate more people to visit physical stores. Shopping through social media is convenient. Despite this, only 4% of consumers have purchased through these platforms. People still prefer to buy in-store.

The Major Purchase Shopper Study conducted by Rothstein Tauber, a Connecticut-based marketing research company, proves this.

The study found that 81% of the 3,220 participants researched online before deciding what to buy in-store. 60% first use search engines to do some product research. Then, they check the product on the retailer’s website. However, 88% preferred to buy in-store.

5. Train your staff for suggestive selling

Consumers nowadays want to have a more personalized shopping experience. Because of this, the retail staff is a key tool to promote sudden purchases. To do this, staff must build rapport with the customer. When they find the right opportunity and product, they can start upselling.

A quick look at the baskets or carts of buyers can help the staff determine products they can upsell. The product must go well with the items the shopper planned on buying. By doing so, the staff becomes product or brand ambassadors.

Suppose a shopper is buying a toy for their pet. In this case, staff can show their products for pet treats. They could also tell them how they can use them during play or training.

Staff can also practice suggestive selling by informing consumers of the following:

  • Current deals and offers
  • Rewards or loyalty programs
  • Savings from buying bundles
  • The features or popularity of a product

Takeaways: How to encourage impulse buys in your store

Businesses must focus on the consumers to increase their sales from impulse buying and unplanned purchases.

Understanding consumer behavior, however, requires time.

But by carrying out these five tested and proven methods, businesses can better cope with their changing needs and sudden turn of events.

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