Amp Up Sales with an Impulse Section Refresh

Back to school is coming soon and that means a change-up in your store’s stock.  It’s also a great time to revisit your merchandising strategy, including your impulse sections. Point of sale purchases and impulse purchases can help drive up sales, especially during the times when your store is busier than usual, like back to school shopping time, or during the crunch of holiday sales.

You have only an instant to capture attention in the retail space. According to Nielsen, “The average shopper spends 15 seconds at the supermarket shelf per category, notices less than 40% of products, focuses their attention on point-of-sale materials for 1.6 seconds and typically compares prices between just two products.”

Making those seconds count isn’t as difficult as you might think.  Below are some simple suggestions which can have a major impact on capturing that attention and converting the attention to sales.

1. Impulse Sections are Beyond Point of Sale

The go-to impulse section area is near your point of sale, and rightfully so. Along with making the wait on line more pleasurable, you know a customer at your point of sale has already committed to a purchase, so adding on an item or two is easier. But don’t stop there – examine if there are other areas that can have their own impulse area.

Inserting an impulse display either in or on the end cap of one of your most trafficked aisles is an easy way to boost sales. Increased foot traffic can translate to a higher chance of customers pausing to take a look, and ultimately adding the item to their cart. Customers are already programmed to look for sale items on end caps, make them more likely to glance that way.

Are there other areas in your store where customers wait or congregate such as a deli counter, coffee bar, or self serve salad bar? If so, set up some impulse purchase bins in these areas as well.

Locating related products near each other can also help with impulse buys. Display bulk candy pieces along with bulk nuts to inspire a trail mix. Offer a tea assortment in your baked good sections. If you carry alcohol, consider marketing chocolate near your wine or beer displays with pairing suggestions. Think outside your usual assortment. Don’t typically sell mints and gums near your checkout? Add a few and see how quickly they sell. Changemakers with “penny” candy are a great way to add sales.

2. Play with Colors

When it comes to impulse purchases, color can be key – with both children and adults. Include a few products with vivid-colored packaging. For example, for little ones, Reese’s peanut butter cups in bright orange or Butterfinger in bright yellow will delight their eyes. Adults will be drawn to Hammond’s chocolate with high contrast packaging, or the Kopper’s On the Rocks line of packaging in bright blue, orange, and pink (and the grown-up flavors, as well).

Position of products in your impulse section is also important. Try not to have packages of the same color next to each other as the products will not stand out. When considering placement, remember which products are in line with the potential customer’s eye. Items intended to draw in the children should be placed on the lower shelves and racks.

The time of year should also be taken into account when arranging displays. Typically during the fall and winter months, customers are attracted to darker packaging because it has a comforting appeal. While in the spring and summer, consumers prefer lighter and brighter colors more prominently placed. 

3. Placement is Key

Where you place certain products may impact impulse purchases of surrounding products.  Select a product to be the main focal point of your impulse display (perhaps a popular recognizable brand, something unique, or a best seller), and then build out around this product with other items that relate to the central item. For instance, fill a jar with gummy sharks and smaller jars with aquatic themed gummies like starfish and a counter display of lobster lollipops or other lobster items.

Building on the previous suggestion of creating impulse displays throughout your store, you may want to consider creating impulse sections of the same product throughout the store.  For example, you can have boxed chocolates by point of sale and also near greeting cards, as well as in your chocolate assortment.

4. Merchandise Local

In both the gourmet food and confectionery markets, locally-made products are in high demand.  In fact according to a survey conducted by global management consulting firm, A.T. Kearney, 95% of urban single households are willing to pay more for local products. Consider creating a “local” section of snacks and other goods. Whether you’re creating a whole section or want to highlight local items throughout your store, create and use a consistent “LOCAL” logo on a “shelf talker” sign.  Even if you don’t have locally produced items in your shop, you can group together local school colors, mascots, etc. and promote local good will or even raise money for a local charity.

Changing your marketing strategy outside the expected seasonal items is a fast and easy way to refresh the look of your shop. Making simple changes to your impulse sections can have a major impact on customer experience and your bottom line.

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