Here are 5 key ways to maximise impulse purchases:
1) Be there
It may seem obvious, but location is one of the most critical factors to impulse success. It all comes down to exposure. If your Shopper doesn’t walk past your product or category they’re not going to see it. If they don’t see it, how can they possibly make that impulse decision to buy? For high-impulse categories product must be located where your Shopper is guaranteed to go on their journey. If your category is limited to one location, place communication, and if possible, product at multiple points of interruption in high-traffic areas, or associated categories. These may not result in purchases at these locations, but these prompts and reminders do drive Shoppers to the category. We must also make sure they pass the category at the right moment in their journey e.g. nobody wants to pick up an ice cream before they’ve done the rest of their shopping.
One example of good location is at a payment counter or checkout. Here product must be available within the Shopper’s “Arc of reach” – the invisible semi-circle, about 1.2m radius, designating the maximum reach of a Shopper standing at the counter.
2) Be visible
Now we’ve guaranteed exposure to the product, we’ve got to make sure they see it. Research has shown that Shoppers are much more likely to look at a display that has visible communication, rather than just product. If the critical brand or product communication is incorrectly placed it is rendered ineffective – it may just as well not be there.
Once the communication is visible, getting them to stop and take notice requires stand-out, not easily achieved in busy and visually noisy environments. Shouting loudest doesn’t always get you heard (or seen). Communications must be tuned to the environment, as well as incorporating the brand message, and targeting the right Shopper.
3) Be relevant
Get to the heart of what the Shopper wants or needs as they are shopping. Where are they going to and from? What are they here to buy? What do they need right now, even if they don’t know it yet? Once the need is identified, address and respond to it appropriately – using arresting and engaging imagery to stimulate their appetite, appeal to their emotions, or even their ego.
Having caught their eye with engaging imagery we must sell them into the idea. Simply delivering information, propositions or benefits is not enough – we must tell them what to do with it.
4) Be irresistible
Studies have shown that the biggest challenge with any high-impulse category is getting the Shopper from the state of interruption, to interaction. Almost every physical interaction in a high-impulse category results in a purchase. So some simple rules apply: Put the product where they can reach it; Present or package the product in an interesting, attractive and tactile manner; and tell them to try it – a direct “Take one” message can be surprisingly effective.
5) Be the right choice
Although interaction almost secures the purchase, in some cases the Shopper may need to tick some boxes, ensuring that this product meets their specific needs before they take the plunge. What are they key questions or criteria that they must answer and fulfil? Identify these decision factors and deliver them, with the resulting benefits, at the shelf. Communicating the most sought after differentiators and benefits will result in brand and product preference over the competition, and continued loyalty from the Shopper.
Affirmative and relevant call-to-action, even at the category home shelf, is a sure way to pull the right Shopper in.