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Impulse Merchandising: Why Selling a Toaster on the Checkout Line Won’t Fly

BY CSA STAFF

By Keith Carpentier, senior business development manager, Tensator

The days of the mega big box are over, retail is shrinking and store footprints are getting smaller. Gondolas, shelving systems and displays need to be extra space efficient in small footprints to make the most use of revenue per square foot. Impulse merchandising is a great way to maximize smaller footprints while capturing shopper interest and boosting incremental revenue especially as customers wait in line for checkout. The problem is, too many retailers try and stick large and pricey items like a toaster or a microwave on a checkout line shelving system or display thinking that because of where it is placed — it is now an impulse item.

So are there some types of products that work better for impulse merchandising? The answer is a resounding, yes. Impulse items are just that – items that don’t require a whole lot of consideration, don’t mean comparison shopping or “show rooming,” isn’t priced too highly — usually at a price point no higher than $9.99 — and evokes an emotional response, has an element of fun or immediate gratification.

Impulse merchandise items are those a customer can easily visualize themselves using or consuming in the near term. And the product should be well-known locally. In recent tests where newer unknown healthy snack items were introduced at checkout, shoppers were delayed in making impulse decisions as they started to read ingredients, comparing sodium, fat and sugar content, completely changing the buyer dynamics and causing delays and unwanted frustration at checkout.

Unfamiliarity is definitely counter to impulse dynamics and negatively affects the psychology behind impulse purchasing. In addition to regional familiarity, savvy consumers are also taking into consideration when making impulse buys brands/companies that the purchase items foster their connection with acceptable social practices – sustainability, locally grown/made.

It’s important to keep in mind that the reason people do impulse buy is because they are in a relaxed, non-confrontational browsing state of mind. This means that they aren’t on high alert — looking out for when they will be attended to next on the checkout line or worrying that the item is going to significantly impact their budget, or that they aren’t being treated fairly and are in defense mode thinking they are going to be cut in overcrowded lines. Keeping this in mind create a frame of reference that will genuinely help retailers place the items they can successfully merchandise at checkout.

Holistically speaking, for impulse merchandising to work there needs to be an underlying retailer commitment to ensuring the customer has a good overall in-store experience. This means that from the moment the customer enters the store, they are delighted, impressed and even more knowledgeable about new solutions or offers than when they first entered the store.

It also means that their service needs are met and that they are ensured an orderly and friendly checkout service, and that the impulse merchandise is seasonal and enticing, not leftovers that have been picked through or random products placed there to create confusion and disarray. With so many omnichannel options for shoppers, it is important to look at the whole in-store customer experience even create a draw with interactive experiential demos, and when considering the best impulse merchandise – make sure the products are carefully displayed, priced sensibly and have familiarity and appeal to your customers’ emotions. Positioned correctly these items will pique customers and help ensure the whole store is making the absolute most and best use of every square retail inch.

Keith Carpentier is senior business development manager of Tensator, a leader in queue management and customer journey solutions. The company offers a large range of digital media platforms, electronic and virtual queue management, display and signage products, crowd and access control solutions, in-queue merchandising, self-service systems, and the Tensabarrier, one of the most respected barrier in the world. He can be contacted at [email protected].


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Sears appoints new general counsel

BY CSA STAFF

Sears Holdings has named Kristin M. Coleman as SVP, general counsel and corporate secretary. Coleman most recently served as Brunswick Corporation’s VP, general counsel and corporate secretary.

She will be responsible for the oversight and leadership of Sears Holdings’ legal business unit that includes a team of attorneys and paralegals as well as corporate communications; environmental services; global compliance; government affairs; internal audit; and product safety. Prior to Brunswick, Coleman served as a VP and associate general counsel at Mead Johnson Nutrition Company and as an attorney with Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago.

"I am pleased Kristin is joining our leadership team. She is a proven leader with experience managing legal, compliance and corporate governance issues," said Edward S. Lampert, Sears Holdings chairman and CEO. "Having started her career as a litigator and transitioning into corporate law, she brings a breadth and depth of experience to Sears Holdings in litigation and governance, including mergers and acquisitions and securities, which will serve us well as we continue on our path to transform the company."

Coleman received a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor.

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Consumer brands, retailers mark WWP’s 10th anniversary

BY CSA STAFF

Acosta Sales & Marketing, a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, has reported that more than 30 national leading consumer brands and 100 grocery retail banners have pledged to support this generation of veterans by participating in the 2014 Wounded Warrior Project Believe in Heroes campaign.

Believe in Heroes benefits Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors.

Participating brands for the 2014 campaign include BIC Flex 4 razors, Brawny Paper Towels, Burt’s Bees Towelettes, Campbell’s Condensed Soups, Carnation Breakfast Essentials, Clorox Bleach, Domino and C&H Sugar, Duracell, Earth Balance, Gerber and Gerber Organic, Gerber Good Start Formula, Gerber Graduates, Horizon Organic, Hormel Pepperoni, Hormel SPAM, Hostess Snacks and Donettes, Jell-O, Jimmy Dean, Maxwell House Coffee, Minute Maid Pure Squeezed, Purina Beggin’, Purina Beneful, Purina Dog Chow, Purina Friskies, Sabra, Silk, Smart Balance, Starkist Tuna Pouches, SunnyD, Sweet Baby Ray’s and Welch’s Sparkling Juice Cocktail.

The program — which will run from September 7, in advance of Patriot Day, through Veterans Day, November 11 — calls on consumers to “Shop, Share and Save,” encouraging them to not only shop and receive discounts in support of the nation’s injured veterans, but to also connect with warriors by learning about their personal stories of triumph and courage while inviting others to join the cause. Additionally, by raising awareness of WWP, Believe in Heroes encourages injured veterans to take advantage of the organization’s programs and services to ease the struggle of transition back into civilian life.

As part of their participation, each brand will offer consumers a high-value digital coupon that will be promoted in two special issues of the SmartSource Magazine coupon insert, which will be delivered to 53 million households nationwide in Sunday, September 7 and Sunday, November 2 newspapers. The coupons will be available for download online in both English and Spanish through the end of November at wwpbelieve.org. Participating grocery retailers throughout the country will support the effort by promoting Believe in Heroes through their circulars and/or in-store programs with special signage, point-of-purchase materials and contribution tear pads at the checkout lane.

“The grocery industry’s support of injured service members through Believe in Heroes is nothing short of remarkable,” said Robert Hill, CEO of Acosta. “Our veterans have selflessly sacrificed to protect and serve our country, and this movement firmly demonstrates our collective commitment to giving back to our nation’s heroes when they need our help the most. In recognition of Independence Day and as we embark on the fifth annual Believe in Heroes campaign, we, along with our partners at WWP, thank all of the participating brands, retailers and shoppers as this program would not be possible without their generosity and cooperation.”

Since its inception in 2010 by Acosta, Believe in Heroes has grown to become the largest co-op marketing program in the U.S. Bringing together thousands of CPG brands, retailers and consumers, the campaign has raised a total of $16 million for WWP to date and has helped enable the expansion of its lifesaving veteran programs that now directly serve more than 50,000 injured service members. The goal of the 2014 campaign is to exceed the amount raised in 2013 as WWP recognizes its 10-year anniversary.

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