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Buying On Impulse

By Becky Tyre, Journalist and owner of the Retail Details blog
9/19/2011
An impulse buy is an unplanned decision to buy a product, made just prior the purchase. In this issue, we will explore ideas for displaying products so that they are positioned as add-on sales.

Impulse items are frequently under $20. This display of scarves at Soulmates shows a large selection and the price is clearly displayed. The merchandising also shows a scarf on a mannequin to demonstrate its value as an add-on accessory.

Point-of-purchase items are usually displayed in the area surrounding a cash register. Customers can view the products while they are in line to pay or notice them during the checkout process. Many manufacturers provide point-of-purchase displays that include signage explaining the product uses, like these totes sold at Swell Dwell.
Shown here are two Poo-Pourri displays. One is a display constructed at Scrub Bath and Body, intended to be a conversation starter and the other is a point-of-purchase display from the manufacturer. Both are designed to tell the customer more about the product to generate an impulse sale.
Second to candy, retailers report that jewelry is the most popular impulse purchase. At Clothes Hound they use this clever “fingers” display to encourage customers to try on a ring at the register.

At St. John’s Auxiliary Gift Shop, they have several jewelry spinners in their checkout area. A jewelry showcase is also one of the counters used to create their cashwrap area.
Positioning candles by the register offers an added benefit, since customers may smell them while standing in line. Candles, like jewelry, are ideal for impulse buys since they are purchased for gifts and for one’s self. At Beckley Boutique, they use a glass case next to the register counter for their candle display.
Hair accessories, like scarves, can be suggested as an add-on when a customer is purchasing clothing. Displaying in multiples near the register area puts these bows at Monogram Muse clearly in a customer’s line of vision. Colorful headbands in a pretty bowl, make a nice countertop display at Everyday Indulgence.
If a store caters to area visitors, local products serve as a reminder to take home souvenirs of a customer’s trip, as seen here at Dedrick’s Pharmacy and Gifts. If a store sells any private-label products, the register is an ideal place for them.
When choosing products to display as impulse-buy products, look for items that are the “latest craze”. Silly Bandz and silicone watches are recent examples of best-selling point-of-purchase products.

Other ideas for impulse buys are inexpensive holiday items and special sales like buy-one-get one free promotions. Using smart choices for point-of-purchase products, a register area can become one of the highest “per square foot” sales areas in your retail store!

Becky Tyre is a visual merchandising consultant and owner of The Retail Details blog at SwirlMarketing.com. She is also the Trends Editor at GIFT SHOP Magazine.

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