5 smart ways to encourage impulse buys in your store

Giada Pezzini | 13 August 2018

5 smart ways to encourage impulse buys in your store

Around 70 percent of shoppers’ purchase decisions are made in-store, according to research by OgilvyAction. This makes bricks-and-mortar stores an ideal channel to encourage impulse buys. And shoppers want to spend on impulse: a survey by CreditCards.com found that five out of six Americans – and 90 percent of millennials! – regularly spend on unplanned purchases. But as online and mobile retailers step up their efforts to inspire impulsive spending, stores need to make sure they can entice more customers to purchase products they didn’t come looking for. Here are our top five tips on how to encourage impulse buys in your store.

1. Engage shoppers’ attention around the store

Most shoppers come into the store with an open mind about what to buy. Even when they know what type of product they want, 28 percent of them won’t decide which brand to buy until they’re inside the store, says OgilvyAction. The research also found that almost 20 percent of shoppers impulsively buy in categories they had no intention to buy from before entering the store. A quarter of these decide to make a purchase because they see the product category featured on a display while in the store! To engage shoppers when they are ready to spend:
  • Optimize store layout to make it easy for customers to find the categories they want.
  • Analyze shopper behavior to understand which parts of the shop customers spend most time in and display impulse items there.
  • Display relevant items and accessories close to top-sellers – for example, cosmetic purses next to best-selling cosmetics, or phone cases beside the smartphone display.
  • Use prominent displays and signage to draw attention to deals and product categories across the store.

2. Offer personalized recommendations at the POS

Store staff are powerful ambassadors for impulse buys, but they need to suggest the right products for each customer’s needs and interests. Consumers expect a highly personalized experience, whether they’re buying online or in the store. Having technology that can help staff members suggest products that are relevant to each specific customer can dramatically enhance the shopping experience. To suggest the right products at the right time for each customer:
  • Suggest accessories that are relevant to the items in the shopper’s basket, such as a shirt to go with the suit in a customer’s basket, or sticky tape for a customer buying giftwrap. As well as encouraging impulse buys, you might also jog their memory about items they had forgotten to ask for.
  • Implement a product recommendation engine that analyzes shopping behavior, customer data and order history and that delivers predictive insights and product recommendations to your sales team at the POS.

3. Think globally, act locally

Shopper behavior varies between different neighborhoods, so knowing your customers and keeping an eye on local events is essential if you want to encourage impulse buys across the chain. By monitoring what types of product your customers are buying most in a particular branch, you can also figure out which impulse products they’re most likely to pick up. To maximize impulse buys across the chain:
  • Monitor inventory across the chain to see what type of products are selling at which branch, then choose impulse products that complement those trends.
  • Make sure you can push stock out to local branches in response to new trends in demand and shopper behavior.
  • Promote items and create offers valid only at specific branches based on local events – hats and flags during a carnival, candy and snacks when the local team is playing, or raincoats and umbrellas during a rainy spell.

4. Make an offer they can’t refuse

Impulse buys are snap decisions, so presenting shoppers with an offer that feels too good to miss is a great way to increase their urge to purchase. Promotions don’t have to mean huge discounts, but they should make the shopper feel that they’re getting great value. To create impulse-buying opportunities that tug on shoppers’ purse strings:
  • Promote new and exclusive products that fit the impulse-buy price point, to entice shoppers to try something new.
  • Run limited-time discounts and offers on impulse items to create a sense of urgency about purchases.
  • Emphasize value-for-money offers. Offers like ‘three for two’ or ‘buy one, get one half-price’ can do a lot to increase shoppers’ basket size.
  • Create add-on offers such as a small discount on an impulse item when it’s bought alongside a larger purchase. A discounted pack of dog treats, for example, when shoppers buy a certain brand of dog food.

5. Use digital channels to enrich the experience

Mobile apps and social media are among the most successful tools for encouraging shoppers to make unplanned store visits and purchases, according to a study on shopping behavior by Ryan Partnership. In a digital-first world, many shoppers are happy to engage with retailers and share data about their interests, preferences and shopping habits. This provides a rich seam of insights that you can use to attract them into the store. To draw digitally connected consumers into the store:
  • Analyze online and mobile customer data to target shoppers with in-store offers tailored to their interests.
  • Use location-based tools to recognize app users close to the store – and draw them in with an on-the-spot in-store offer. It could be a discount voucher, bonus loyalty points or a free coffee – whatever hits the spot for your customer.
  • Organize an exclusive event such as a sale preview for app and social media users, to engage with them personally as they explore the store.

  By using data-driven shopper insights and providing personalized offers and recommendations, you can engage with customers and boost their desire to make unplanned purchases in your store. Want to know how the right technology can help you increase basket size? Contact us today.  

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