Implulse purchases




How to Encourage Impulse Buys and Unplanned Purchases In Your Store




Table of Contents:

1. Desires vs. Needs: How Customer Psychology Works

2. Physical Stores vs. Online Stores

3. Impulse Purchases: How to Get Customers to Buy Unexpected Products

4. Advice for Retailers: How to Increase Impulse Buying






Desires vs. Needs: How Customer Psychology Works


Most of us believe that retailers offer customers what they need. However, in order to increase sales, stores need to make customers want to buy unexpected items.

People will always buy what they need, but when a desire overwhelms them, they buy things to satisfy those desires. The trick is to anticipate consumers' desires in a way that gets them to make unexpected purchases.


Physical Stores vs. Online Stores: Why Brick-and-Mortar Have an Advantage


Shoppers are more likely to make unplanned purchases in physical stores than on websites. This is because traditional stores have more control over the buying process than online stores. The retailer makes decisions about display planning, sales, and staffing, not to mention the ability to influence emotions, perceptions, and, in general, customers' purchasing decisions.

Well, a physical store has many advantages and opportunities for impulse buying. The question is, do you use your opportunities and resources wisely?



Impulse Purchases: How Do You Get Customers to Make Unexpected Purchases?


That's what retailers should strive for. Consider some ways to induce a desire to buy rather than a need to buy.


Increase Visibility


Experienced merchandisers say, "Seeing is buying." 

To increase sales effectiveness, it's important to draw customers' attention to your products. One effective tactic is to use bright signage, especially red and yellow. However, given your brand colors, it's worth considering other color combinations as well.

You've probably noticed that some chains use big red signs to promote their products at low prices. More often than not, they follow the tactic of placing impulse merchandise in the checkout area along with a sign advertising today's promotion





As far as customers are concerned, there are three different types.


1. The efficient customer wants to buy the product they want as quickly as possible. 

2. The second type of client is aimed at buying specific products but they are also ready to make impulse purchases.

3. The third type of buyer, the most valuable for the retailer, actively seeks the enjoyment of being in the store and wants to find new shopping opportunities that match their desires.


It is the third type of shopper who is looking for the pleasure of being in the store.  They want to be surprised by new shopping experiences. They unconsciously want to feel the excitement and positive emotions of being in the store. And without this feeling of shopping satisfaction, they don't want to go home.



Break patterns


Shoppers increasingly want their shopping experience to go beyond the ordinary. To encourage shoppers to make unexpected purchases in your store, you need to go beyond the mundane.

It's a matter of breaking with old strategies. For example, putting all kinds of drinks, grouped by size, in one place might make sense, but does it go beyond the ordinary? Not likely! So break stereotypes. Group merchandise unusually, creating opportunities for consumers to see drinks with snacks or sweets. 

Set up product displays in a way that encourages consumers to make unexpected purchases. Draw attention to merchandise by creating creative layouts.



Make it fun


New product presentations or workshops give customers a whole new level of experience. Surprise customers with an interactive experience and a new perspective on your store's assortment. Offer something to remember. It will generate excitement that encourages unexpected purchases.



Impulse buying is the sudden and immediate purchase of a product without any prior intention to buy. It occurs after customers feel the urge to buy, and often such a purchase is out of the question.



Tips For Retailers: How to Increase Impulse Buying



So what motivates impulse purchases? 5 reasons why customers make impulse purchases and what motivates them to buy instantly. 


1. Feeling like a bargain


Impulse buying doesn't mean spending your entire salary on trending items. People buy items because they feel they are saving money that way.

Typically, customers are price-oriented. Therefore, when they see an item with a cheap price, they are more likely to make the decision to buy it, even if they hadn't planned to.



2. Physical Influencing Factors


The key factor for impulse buying is external factors such as the atmosphere in the store, signage, and the layout of merchandise on the shelves.

A pleasant atmosphere can encourage customers to walk around the store and make unplanned purchases.

The music that plays in your store affects customers' emotions and encourages them to make impulse purchases. Studies show that light background music slows the pace of shopping, resulting in shoppers spending more time in your store and buying more items. 

Salespeople. Pleasant, customer-oriented salespeople who provide advice and create a shopping experience stimulate sales. They can inform customers about product shortages, offer promotional items, and give money-back guarantees to encourage impulse purchases. 

Promotions. Promotions such as BOGO encourage customers to buy more merchandise. Free certificates, refunds, free samples, and gifts also influence impulse purchases.



BOGO means "buy one, get one". This promotion offers customers a free or discounted product (for example, offering to pay only half of the price) when they buy another product of the same or higher price.




3. Instant Gratification


When we experience emotions and excitement, it is harder for us to make rational buying decisions. The emotional part of the brain doesn't think about the future and considers instant gratification the highest reward. Shopping gives shoppers a feeling of happiness; it's the dopamine that drives people to shop.



4. Product Placement


Why do shoppers spend more than they planned while shopping? One reason is strategic product placement, which encourages people to buy more. Retailers don't place merchandise in random locations. It requires a lot of work from the merchandising department and well-designed planograms.

The layout encourages impulse purchases when merchandise is in high demand. Retailers are well-positioned to customize layouts that create an immersive shopping experience. This can lift customers' spirits and stimulate impulse sales.

Place merchandise next to the bestsellers. Strategically place the products you want to promote near the areas of highest visitor traffic or next to the most popular items to increase their visibility.



5. Cross Merchandising


The best sales opportunity often happens when the customer has already decided what he or she wants to buy. And then encourage them to make an additional purchase that complements the product they have already bought.

This is what cross-merchandising is all about. In order to increase impulse buys try cross-merchandising. Create profitable bundles of items that are often bought together and place them nearby. Use bright and eye-catching labels that grab attention. Put an emphasis on selling these items. Don't forget about creativity and interactivity, for example, create an area where customers can make up their own bundles of bargain-priced products.



How Do You Encourage Impulse Purchases?


1. Create a customer journey through the store.

2. Place lower-priced items near the checkout area.

3. Place impulse-buy items next to high-demand items.

4. Let customers know about shortages and limited sale hours for certain products.

5. Anticipate the needs of shoppers.

6. Draw attention to products for impulse purchases.

7. Offer free samples or product tests.

8. Display seasonal items.

9. Use promotional offers.




How Do Customers Make Impulse Purchases?


Observations of shopper behavior help us understand the difference between planned and impulse purchases:


  • Unplanned purchases don't happen immediately, but somewhat later during the shopping experience.
  • When impulse purchases are happening, customers are more likely to touch the merchandise and not check their shopping lists.
  • Shoppers tend to review promotional items. Promotions can make shoppers consider an unplanned purchase, but they don't necessarily induce it.
  • Impulse purchases complement planned purchases. For example, someone who buys meat products will buy seasonings or sauce with it.
  • Customers are more likely to make impulse purchases if they have a larger budget.


The time spent in the store affects the chances of making an impulse purchase. Therefore, popular product categories should be placed near the checkout and the entrance area of the store where customers spend the most time waiting in the store.





In order to encourage impulse purchases in-store, you need to focus on creating an engaging and entertaining experience for customers. Place merchandise near the checkout counter, entice customers to participate in various promotions, and offer discounts on merchandise. Use visual merchandising and layouts that grab attention. Even small changes in store layout can increase impulse purchases. Don't forget that the key to stimulating impulse purchases is the feeling of the best moment to buy, and the purchasing process should become easier and more pleasant for the customer.


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