Impulse Purchasing Tips

Impulse purchases are ones made that the customer did not previously plan, often spontaneous or compulsive. Researchers Sarah Xiao and Michael Nicholson suggest that impulse shopping involves personality traits, buying beliefs and attitudes, sociocultural values, and demographic factors. Students may be inclined to give in to some “retail therapy” when they:

  • Have a bit of extra cash from a paycheck or gift
  • Have family in town willing to spend money
  • Recently upgraded tech and want accessories
  • Passed an exam and are in the mood to “treat themselves”

How can you encourage impulse purchasing in your store? Here are some tips:

Set the Mood

Research shows that external factors such as retail signage, ambiance, marketing activities, and window displays influence consumer behavior. Although personality and mood are driving factors for impulse purchasing, you can strategically encourage a positive shopping. Studies have shown that soft background music in a store can slow the pace of shoppers, causing them to spend more time in your store and greater opportunities to purchase your products.

Point-of-Purchase Displays

Product placement is another tactic that encourages impulse purchases. Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays allow customers to browse products while waiting in a check out line and can add to their purchase at the last minute. Place lower priced items near checkout, ideally under $20, or items that are on sale.

Use the Right Language

Creating a sense of urgency often creates more impulse buys. Think through some staple products students need often, and then surround these items with language like, “Buy now” and “Get it before they’re gone.” Knowing your customer base is a powerful tool in knowing how to sell to them. FOMO (fear of missing out) motivates a lot of impulse purchases. This can include language like “these are our bestsellers,” “Most Wished For,” “Highly Rated,” or images of celebrities or influencers using the products. Amazon, for example has the popular “People also bought” section on its product pages that showcase products that other customers have purchased.

More Reading

Best Practices for Retail Merchandising

[Infographic] 4 Ways to Increase Impulse Purchases

Increase Sales with Planograms


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s