3 Ways To Take Advantage Of In-Store Impulse Buys Today

It’s a question you’ve probably been wondering about: Which is the better place to focus on impulse buyers––online or offline stores?

The answer isn’t completely black and white, but new research from A.T. Kearney shows customers are admitting to making more unplanned purchases in physical stores than they are when they shop online. The difference is significant too: 40% of those surveyed said they’ve picked up extra items in the store versus just 25% who said they’ve done the same online––a 15% lead for physical retail.

So what is it about brick-and-mortar that keeps it on top? The study’s report points to the “kinds” of shopping trips that differentiate the online and offline retail worlds.

While physical stores are more often shopped by people going on “occasion trips” which involve casual browsing, people usually go online because they want to hunt for something specific and then compare that item’s prices to find the best deal.

These are called “mission trips,” and are different than walking around a store because you simply aren’t exposed the same array of products, offers and personalized service you are when you venture inside a physical store.

So what can you do inside your stores to maximize impulse purchases? Here are three ways to use the offline edge to your advantage:

1. Push In-Store Offers Your Customers Are Asking For

We all make impulse buys from time to time. Think about what goes into that three-second decision––what makes you decide to throw it in the cart?

Price is a huge factor, but before you go touching price tags, start by getting smarter with the deals you offer at targeted spots around the store and up at the checkout counter.

One of the biggest impulse buying advantages brick-and-mortar has over eCommerce is offer visibility. Sure, you can paste as many offers to a website as you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that customers are there to hunt rather than browse.

Brick-and-mortar shoppers often go specifically to seek out offers, discounts and deals inside the store––so craft the kinds of offers that will leave them feeling satisfied with what they found by going to the store. Color-coordinated displays, live product demonstrations, and “You’ll miss out”-style promotions are all great ways to get shoppers grabbing that extra item before they leave.

This is where a targeted customer experience evaluation program becomes extremely important. Want to know exactly what your customers liked or disliked about your offers­­––or what kinds of deals would entice them the next time they come in?

Let them tell you with a customer intercept program. Target your survey directly at getting actionable data you can use to guide your next round of offers. Measure, improve, repeat.

2. Engage With A Suggestive Selling Strategy

While online stores try to show customers products related to what they’ve added to their cart or purchased in the past, the statistics speak for themselves: Nothing beats having an expert employee help you make sure you’re leaving with what you came for––and more.

If suggestive selling isn’t part of your customer experience strategy, it’s time to change that today. Learn what products are most popular among your brick-and-mortar customers and shift your inventory layout so associates can conveniently point out and explain how add-on items aren’t only a good deal to include in the order, but what makes the extra product worth it for the customer.

It’s these kinds of personalized service experiences that not only leave you with a bigger bottom line, but also give the customer an experience that sticks out among other retailers as something different.

3. Get The Best Of Both Worlds With A Retail App

On the fence about investing in a mobile tool for your store? A 2012 report by the Ryan Partnership found that 21% of retail customers make more unplanned purchases because of specialized retail apps.

With digital shopping lists and exclusive coupons convincing shoppers to use retail apps right in the store, you have the ability to influence impulse buyers by showing product suggestions based on their personal shopping lists or what’s already sitting in their cart.

Couple this with a customer experience evaluation program to measure how well customers are responding to your new strategy and you’ve got a system ready for the ultra savvy shoppers of tomorrow.