Impulse shopping is a cornerstone of many retailing strategies, so much so, that retailing itself is being reshaped to capitalize on shoppers at the point of purchase.
There’s 15 reasons why impulse shopping is a big trend in retailing. But what about the bigger picture? What’s happening?
Cornerstone Retailing Strategy?
Is a retail slump actually a slump in the creative, promotional and selling skills of retailer and manufacturers? Consumers have money in their wallets and the stats say impulse buying is at an all-time high? So what gives?
I’m asking these questions because they represent an opportunity for you to improve your packaging, promotion and sales by using tactics and techniques to build consumers desire to buy, right now in your store. You may have thought you knew a lot about consumer buying behaviour, however consumer and retailer attitudes and responses are being modified by technology primarily. Promotional media and the Internet are creating a whole new mindset in consumers. And so retailers are changing how they merchandise and promote.
Impulse Shopping Accounts for A Significant Portion of Sales
In the cat and mouse game called retail, you need to get to know the mouse. Recent studies revealed that up to 80% of shoppers make purchase decisions in store, and other research shows consumers are more impulsive than ever. Yet, in some cities, sales are disappointing and some retailers have gone out of business.
To get an edge on your competition, why not take a closer look at shopper behaviour and what techniques and approaches might help you sell more. This will aid greatly in designing your instore promotion. See our 2012 post on what drove in-store decisions.
I’ve read a number of posts on impulse shopping behaviour, but they’re unfortunately too simplistic to offer any real help. Psychologists give it a negative connotation by suggesting the consumer is under stress, not thinking straight, or being irresponsible.
Retailers don’t have much control over a customer’s mood. You must adapt your promotions, product selection, and positioning to whatever state your shoppers are in. If your promotions aren’t working then maybe you’re out of touch with your customers.
Let’s take a more thorough look at impulse shopping stimulus. Impulse is temporary. The desire is short-lived and you must capitalize on it quickly before it dissipates. In that impulsive moment or period, the mind and senses are heightened. The shopper is expecting a good experience of some kind that will generate a “feeling” or satisfaction, or justification or joy.
Think hard about how your products, promotions and packaging elicits emotions from your customer. Ask someone with fresh eyes to do a walk-through of your store. The feeling from buying a new Disney toy at a toy store differs from buying pain killer at the pharmacy for your headache. However, both products could share some promotional tactics.
Why Do People buy Impulsively?
Here’s a good list, ranked in no particular order:
- Good price (a lower price is always attractive)
- Surprise (people like pleasant, sudden discoveries)
- Good Mood (payday is always the best shopping day and some days you just feel carefree and extra well and when all is good, shoppers reward themselves or want to justify or reinforce those good feelings)
- Lower Brand Loyalty (brands have lost their differentiation despite desperate attempts to protect it. Competitor’s brands appear acceptable to consumers. Retailers are pushing their own in-house brands and avoiding carrying big national brands.)
- Self-esteem (just the act of going shopping makes them feel better about themselves, and then the product makes them feel even better)
- Novelty (a product which is novel grabs immediate attention)
- Save money (a value deal appeals to savings and reducing post purchase anxiety, e.g., buying 3 month’s worth of breakfast cereal at Costco)
- Accessories (discovering an accessory for a popular product, e.g., protective case for their smartphone)
- Time limited offer (time limits makes them forget about cost and post purchase anxiety)
- Appearance/packaging (a product that looks and feels good or really nice packaging builds desire)
- Convenience (they don’t really want to go to another store just to buy that item)
- Generosity/gifts (giving a gift to others makes people feel good and allays their guilt about buying impulsively for themselves)
- Colours (certain colours such as yellow and red draw attention, increase desire, and elicit impulsive behaviour
- Eye catching (desire by association: a positive feeling about the display is transferred to the product)
- Product placement (the location of your product e.g., end cap, against wall, in aisle floor display, can make it more exciting. It can also make it less appealing if you do it wrong).
There’s more to impulse selling than knowing which price points will move a shopper to put stuff into their basket. As a display design/fabricating firm, we know that temporary POP displays are some of the best tactics to stimulate impulse purchase.
Catch shoppers off guard with a product placed at the right spot (hence mobile temporary displays) using a time limited offer with a smartphone delivered discount coupon, and you’ll appeal in a very relevant way to the impulse shopper.
Increasingly, more retailers only carry trendy, fast moving merchandise which actually feeds into the whole impulse buying scenario. That ups the ante for winning the competition.
If retailers aren’t selling, it could be they’re neglecting this growing phenomenon of impulse shopping. 30 years ago, shoppers were cautious and conservative, but maybe not so much anymore.
Know how to get them to twitch that impulse trigger and your profit picture might look at lot better.