June 18, 2024

Are Retailers Seeing The End Of The Impulse Buy?

Retailers have long relied on consumers making an impulse buy/purchase. Check out the Impulse Shopping Fact Sheet for some interesting stats re: Impulse Buying.

There are of course many definitions for the term but in general it is “to buy on impulse without proper reflection.”

Well it seems many folks are reflecting on these decisions long before they even leave their house.

Ellen Byron, in an article written for the Wall Street Journal “In-Store Sales Begin at Home” writes…

“In-store marketing—the practice of trying to influence consumers’ buying decisions as they shop—traditionally consisted of flashy product displays, special promotions at the end of the aisle and attention-grabbing packaging on the shelf… [[however]] shoppers are researching their grocery lists online before going to the store.”

In fact, 62% of shoppers say they search for deals online for at least half of their shopping trips, this according to a survey by consulting firm Booz & Co. and trade group Grocery Manufacturers Association.


So is the impulse buy a thing of the past?

No… there will always be the need for a well-crafted, flashy, inviting in-store display to entice shoppers. As Ms. Byron writes “the shift hasn’t eliminated the need for effective campaigns inside stores.”

On the contrary, as according to the aforementioned survey, 83% of consumer-product companies say they plan to increase their investments in shopper marketing over the next three years, while 55% say shopper marketing is their top investment, with spending increases topping 5% annually.

So what does this all mean for retailers and marketers?

Well it should come as no surprise to retailers and marketers alike that more and more consumers are utilizing the digital space to find the best deals before heading off to the store.


The key will be, as it always has been, to know your customer and potential customer.

But long gone are the days where you “only” had to know high-level demographics such as age, sex, income level, etc.

You need to know them AND find them in the digital space, as well.

BUT… just because you find them in the digital space, do not make the assumption that’s where they want/prefer to get the best deals.

Unfortunately for retailers and marketers, it is anything but an exact science. With so many media options available, the key will be finding the right mix of offline and online sales approaches and campaigns.

Are you a retailer who relies on impulse buys?

Do you reach out to your customers and potential customers via daily deal sites?