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How to Increase Impulse Buying

Although a quick and impulsive buy at the checkout counter might not seem like it can add much to your store’s bottom line, you need to think again. Studies show that up to a third of shoppers make one impulse buy per week with the average sale being $30 dollars. With that in mind, here are some ways to encourage impulse buying in your store.

What “Speaks” to Impulse Buyers?

Not all items make good impulse buys. First off, the item should be something that will attract attention. You want your shoppers to be drawn to it whether it is at the checkout or on an end cap. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind for making impulse products jump off the shelves and into the carts of customers:

Color and texture play a big role in making something attention worthy. If your customers can interact with the item, it is even better. This is one time that the five senses can make a difference. Being able to smell, touch or even taste the item helps make the leap from the shelf to the shopping cart.

Secondly, the less complicated the better. Impulsive buying behavior is based on emotion. If the item needs to be explained or more information is necessary, it will stop the emotional response dead in its tracks, and your shopper will keep on moving past the item without making a purchase.

Size Matters

Size also plays a part when it comes to impulse buys. The item needs to be small enough that a shopper can pick it up without needing assistance. If the item is too large or heavy and a sales associate needs to be called for help, chances are the only impulse the shopper will have is to walk on by.

Make it Personal

If an item can have some sort of personal connection with the shopper, it's all the better. That is why you will often see personalized key chains or bracelets near the checkout. People not only love to hear their own name being spoken but also love to see it in print. This sentiment also holds true for travel souvenirs of popular vacation spots or even quaint reminders of small-town life that make an emotional connection to your customers and may spur them on to buy.

Location, Location, Location!

Perhaps the most important consideration when selecting items to be used for impulse buys is where you place them. Just like in real estate, it is all about location. Placing items near the checkout is always a go-to area for impulse buys. Your customers already have their money out and at the ready, so throwing one more item into the shopping cart is not a giant leap.

Another option is to group items and place them in several areas of the store. Seeing them displayed prominently several times can create a connection between the item and the buyer. You should also consider placing items from different departments together when it makes sense, so if your buyer is buying one of the items, the others would complement the purchase.

The truth is, most people enjoy spending money on items that will make them feel good. As a business owner, you can help cater to your customers’ needs and wants by making it easy to find the things they may not ordinarily consider purchasing—but will likely be glad they did!

Krista Wolfe is a marketing project manager for Quill.com where she writes to help small businesses, teachers and healthcare professionals make more informed decisions on office essentials. She also writes on our new community blog, Café Quill, about a wide range of business matters such as leadership, productivity and work-life balancing. Krista lives in Chicago and you can find her on Google+ or LinkedIN.

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