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Morgan Bast's Blog

Are your shoppers impulse buyers?

Nine out of 10 shoppers occasionally purchase items from checkout, which makes up for more than 1 percent of total sales, according to a recent study by merchandising company Front End Focus. Impulse items in the front-end are apparently hard to resist.

In other news from Digital Research and ThinkVine, they found “that consumers over the last three months reduced spending on non-essentials (59 percent),” showing the exact opposite.

Where do your customers fall? Are they buying magazines, gum, and other impulse items or are they trimming back spending on everything from lettuce to candy bars?

There are several theories on promoting impulse items at checkout from choosing the right products and color-coordinating the labels to putting different items in each lane. According to Time magazine, every demographic buys differently and every market has its fluctuations. So as with almost every other decision in the store, look to your customers for the answers.

How well do you know your shoppers’ demographics? Are there more women or men in the store? More families or singles? Multiple ethnicities? These stats will tell you what items to stock in checkout (for example, family shoppers will want kid friendly confectionaries and single men and women will want cheap treats they can enjoy in their car or at their desk.) This article from our October issue will help you maximize on demographics trends.

If checkout impulse buys account for one percent of all store sales, retailers want to be sure to provide enough products to intrigue and please anyone. As a consumer, I know I’m tempted with anything with the word “chocolate” on it.

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