Impulse Sales

Merchandising is not comparable to a simple math equation. It includes a multitude of factors including store image and layout, design, staff, goods available, sales promotion, budgets, fixtures and location of the business itself. That being said, research has shown that between 48% and 65% of retail purchases are made on impulse. In addition, User Interface Engineering released research that shows 90% of most buyers will at some point make an impulse purchase, 60% of them being female. Customers are easily enticed by clever merchandising. A crazy $114,293 is spent by the average person in their lifetime on impulse buys! The most common purchases include food, clothing, magazines, wine, DVD’s, shoes, trips, beer and toiletries.

So how can you – as a retailer - improve merchandising to take advantage of impulse buyers?

First and foremost is knowing your clientele. You need a clear and full understanding of who your customers are to know what they want and what will appeal to them. This includes their age range, gender, what is likely to draw them in to your business, average time spent browsing, price range, etc. Once you know these factors, you can begin utilizing impulse purchasing techniques.

Offer an Unbeatable Deal

Do your research before offering a deal to ensure that it is something worthwhile in the current market. Create a sense of urgency - buyers are more likely to jump on the sale if they are worried it will end soon. Make sure it actually is a good deal; i.e., not overpriced, although customers may be impulsive they’re pretty savvy and have seen the other deals around. Ernst and Young reported that 88% of impulse purchases are motivated by the sale price. Sale items can also include bundling items together. (For example, buy 2, get 1 free or buy 1, get the second half price.)


If you are trying to promote a certain product, make sure the customers can access it easily. Display it at the front of the store so that the buyers can see it when they walk in. Other 'hot spot areas' to place might be at the cash register, displayed between eye and knee level, or at the beginning or end of each aisle. Spread the product out so that it is easy to grab.

Easy to Pay

When customers notice that buying the product is hassle free, they are more likely to do so. A 30 minute wait in line might be enough to turn a customer away. Making sure there are enough checkout counters and staff to avoid long lines, the option of paying via credit card or cash, self-checkout, employing one staff member to bag or package the items and making sure there is enough staff on the floor to answer any customer questions (so that they don’t have to wait in line) are a few ideas that can avoid this potential problem.

Grouping Complimentary Items Together

Placing items that go well together can often seduce a customer into buying the package deal. For example: placing cream next to strawberries, popcorn with DVDs, salad dressing in the vegetable aisle or coffee mugs alongside coffee jars. This will trigger a thought in the buyer's mind to consider purchasing the complimentary item.

The tips mentioned here merely skim the surface of impulse sales. The important thing to take home is that paying attention to details can really make a difference in impulse purchasing. Take a look at your business; identify the areas that you can change so that you can really bump up impulse sales!

Sam Brandes
<div> Sam is a FastUpFront Blog contributor and business author. FastUpFront supports small business owners.</div> <div> <a href="" target="_blank"></a><a href="" target="_blank"> </a>|<a href="" target="_blank"> Facebook</a> | <a href="" target="_blank">@FastUpFront </a>| <a href="/author/sam-brandes/all-posts" target="_blank">More from Sam</a>                 </div>


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