4 Ways to Increase Impulse Buys in Your Shop

Alyssa Doebler on June 8, 2015 - 3:16 pm in Marketing, Retail Shop

impulse buys

Most shopping trips involve some sort of impulse buy. You’re in line and realize you need gum or mints or chapstick. Or maybe it’s not even a need. You see a candy bar or bottle of soda, and you’re in the mood for something sweet, so you make the purchase. At a clothing store, you’re checking out and they offer you sunglasses or nail polish or earrings for a ridiculously low price. How can anyone say no?

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), impulse buys may be on the decline due to self-checkouts and other technologies that decrease time waiting in lines. However, impulse buys can be an excellent source of revenue since they account for only 1 percent of an average supermarket’s space but 4 percent of its profit. How can retailers most effectively use this space and continue to excel in impulse sales in a declining market? Here are four ideas.

1. Think outside the box

We all know the typical impulse buys: candy, soda, gum. What other items can you place at the checkout that people would want to buy? Surprise customers with non-typical items, piquing curiosity and ultimately increasing sales. This may mean displaying a product that you normally wouldn’t sell. Try something new that would appeal to your target audience but that they aren’t used to seeing at your shop. For example, you could display hand lotion, greeting cards, a new book or CD by someone local, etc.

2. Go new and old

The checkout area is a great place to promote both new products and products that are on the way out. People are always curious about trying new things. Make it easy for them by placing new products in prominent places (like upon checkout). If there is a new variety of an already existing product, promote it in the checkout line (example: new treat flavors, new makeup colors, etc.). Based on my own personal experience, I am always tempted to buy a new product when I see it during checkout. Since we are all curious by nature, new products work great for impulse buys.

Old products that will soon be discontinued also work great as impulse purchases. If you’re discontinuing the products anyway, you might as well place them in a prominent position so customers are actually purchasing them.

3. Verbalize any deals upon checkout

Sometimes people are just waiting to be asked in order to say yes. When I’m shopping, the likelihood of me making an impulse purchase goes up significantly if the cashier specifically mentions any of the items at the front. Don’t be shy to ask customers if they’re interested, and be sure to note the price if it’s a really good deal.

4. Promote local products

People love supporting local talent. Partner with local authors, musicians, and artists, and promote their projects at checkout. You could even set aside a couple hours to have local talent come and sign copies of their work and meet your customers. Selling locally-made jams, honeys, and other food items also work well at checkout.

Take advantage of impulse buys with these four ideas. Have you tried other ideas for impulse buys? Let us know in the comments.


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