Impulse Purchasing


Impulse Purchasing

TO U.S. merchandisers, the key to bigger sales is a new pseudo science that analyzes the U.S. housewife's whims with equal parts of salesmanship, psychology, hypnotism and common sense.

Its name: Impulse buying.

The idea is not new, but with the rise of self-service supermarkets, super drug and variety stores, there is a greater incentive than ever before to encourage shoppers to throw away their shopping lists and buy more than they ever intended.

Despite all talk about price as the great determinant, low cost is the major factor for barely 16% of all shoppers; studies also show that another 16% shop only for heavily advertised brands.

In between ranges the vast middle ground of shoppers, fair game for the motivational researchers, who take dead aim with all the analytical gimmicks under the supermarket sun.

They claim, for instance, that the undecided mass of supermarket shoppers really do not know what they want when they enter a store and often are not sure what they have bought right up to the cash registers.

What sells is what appeals to the shopper's impulse: the color, the size, the shape, even the shelf position of the package.

Years ago, only comparatively few companies worried about their labels. Now all do.

Libby, McNeill & Libby was having trouble selling baked beans until it changed the label to a rich, dark color, emblematic of the molasses-smothered beans inside, has since redesigned nearly all its 250 labels.

One manufacturer put out cotton-tipped swabs in three colors: white, pink and chartreuse. White and pink were fine; chartreuse flopped because it reminded women of baby's soiled diapers.

In many cases the brighter (and sometimes the more incongruous the package), the greater the appeal.

Source: Time magazine December 08 2007