Leveraging Impulse Buys

Impulse buys account for more than half of retail sales. While not all impulse buys are at checkout, it’s certainly the easiest place to implement them. Successful impulse sales are achieved by understanding the mindset of the customer.  By paying attention to placement, item size and the customer’s’ immediate needs, a successful impulse purchase strategy can be implemented.


The point of sale (i.e. cash register) is the most obvious place for impulse items, but another prime space is the front of the store. The first display that customers see makes a strong impression on them.


Make It Small

The average consumer isn’t going to impulse buy a big ticket item. On the other hand, they may not put too much thought into a $5 purchase. It’s best to focus on smaller and inexpensive items such as keychains, candy, gum, and smaller trinkets.

Make It Engaging

Products that engage the senses are more enticing to customers. For this reason, food, candy and drinks are commonplace at checkout counters. Products that are brightly colored or smell good, such as air fresheners, are also engaging.

Make It Urgent

A good impulse item creates a sense of urgency. This can be accomplished by creating limited-time offers or putting out small quantities.


The most important piece of all is who your customer is, and what their particular needs are. After a long day, customers want snacks and lip balm. In the summer, they’ll need sunscreen and freeze pops.

Anticipating customer’s needs will not only increase your impulse sales, but provide a more enjoyable shopping experience to them as well.