Impulse Buying – 4 Effective Retail Strategies to Consider in Your Business

Retail therapy and impulse buying

Sephora is, for me, the adult version of Toys “R” Us. I go in for a specific product, like my Philosophy face cleanser, and come out with a bag full of goodies – most of which, I grab on my way through the check-out aisle. I have to have these travel-sized Evian facial sprays, and my honey needs his Jack Black lip balm. I NEED these things, right?

No, I don’t. I just want them. I’m tempted by the fabulous use of Point of Purchase displays. They effectively prey on impulse buyers like me.

Every business owner, small or big alike, would do well to take a cue, or two, from the big retailers’ marketing tactics that trigger impulse buys. Although, they really aren’t doing anything new or unique! Impulse buying has been fodder for strategic sales since…well, as long as humans have been selling.

The Stats on Impulse Buying

Every single one of us, at some point or another, has made an impulse purchase. Think back to a time when you bought something you weren’t planning on buying. For instance, just last month, my dad went into the car dealership for an oil change, and came back with a new car. That’s impulse buying (and a really good car salesman)!

My pop isn’t alone. Ninety percent of shoppers buy products not on their shopping lists, according to a survey conducted by The Integer Group, a shopper-marketing agency. Of these 90%, 61% purchased up to three additional items, and these add-ons are typically motivated by a promotion or discount of some sort. It’s hard to pass up a deal, even when you’re trying to save money. Because, you know, a discounted deal is an opportunity to save! It’s confusing for the consumer…

CreditCards.com recently conducted a poll of just over 1000 Americans and found that five out of six people admitted to impulse buys. That’s up nearly 10% from 75% of people admitting to impulse buying in 2014. Brick and mortar stores have the advantage, with 79% of impulse buys conducted in-person, as opposed to online. Seeing a product in person helps to develop a tactile relationship between the product and the consumer. The mind begins to view the object as something it already owns, making it difficult for the consumer to part ways without making a purchase.

If you have your own salon or suite, you can control the shopping experience, and take advantage of our impulsive natures. And, don’t feel bad about it. As long as you’re selling an awesome product, we secretly want you to!

The Psychology Behind Impulse Buying

There are several different reasons why a person might make an impulsive purchase. I personally fall into the, “I love to buy new things because spending money on myself and others makes me so darn happy” group (aka retail therapy). Studies show that shopping releases dopamine, a happy hormone. Shopping can get you high! People like me aren’t really thinking about the consequences of making the purchase. We just know we want it when we want it.

Now, beyond the happy high, what else motivates an impulse buy?

Impulse Buying Tendency

In a Psychology Today article, experimental psychologist and consumer behavior expert, Ian Zimmerman, Ph.D., discusses impulse buying tendency as a trait specific to certain shoppers. Those with impulse buying tendency tend to be more concerned about looks, social status, and the image they are conveying to others. They like to look good, as I’d imagine many of your clients do. Impulse buyers also tend to be more anxious, and more likely to follow an emotional urge, and spend money on a whim.

FOMO. The Struggle Is Real

Fear of Missing Out – or loss aversion, as the psychologists call it – plays a large part in impulse buying. Customers see mascara marked 30% off, and it’s incredibly hard for them to walk away from the deal. They just don’t want to miss out!

Blame It on Evolution

Did you know impulse buying is actually hardwired into our DNA? We evolved for survival, and that meant collecting and gathering resources… like Evian spray and lip balm!

How to Use Impulse Buying to Boost Sales

As for convincing me buy a beauty product or an extra service, these four strategies work more often than not:

1. Point of Purchase Displays

Every time I go to Whole Foods, I get lured into buying a chocolate bar – or two. Why? Because they taunt me right at check-out! There’s no missing it, and what’s the harm in throwing a five dollar chocolate bar into the basket? Okay, it’s more like eight dollars because it’s Whole Foods, but at least it’s 70% cacao or higher…

Tempt consumers with product placements right by where they check out. They have to acknowledge them, especially while waiting for the customer in front of them to wrap up their purchase. It will trigger the FOMO in them, I promise.

2. Make It Bold and Discounted

Signage goes a long way, so make the display bold and eye-catching. If you really want to seal the deal, offer a sale or promo. Keep it cost-effective, and experiment with different products, and discounts.

3. Compare and Contrast

Right next to a $30 tube of lip gloss, put a $15 tube of lip gloss. What do you have? A Jedi mind trick! The mind is duped into thinking that $15 is a pretty good deal. It’s half what the other lip gloss costs. “That’s sensible shopping,” she thinks, as she drops the lip gloss on the counter and says, “I’ll take this too”. Cha-ching!

4. Make ‘em Beautiful

Your clients count on you to enhance their beauty. When it comes to looks, many women tend to have an emotional investment. And they’ve also come to trust you, just like you’ve come to trust in Glad Lash products. If you believe in a product, don’t hesitate to share your enthusiasm – especially if you think it will be of benefit to the consumer.

I trust my beauty experts, and if they recommend a product to me, I will seriously consider it. If I don’t impulse buy that day, chances are that enough of an association has been created that I may buy on impulse the next time.

So… what kind of promos are you running? Invite me to your salon, because I hate to miss a deal!


Amy Lucas

LA based actress and writer, Amy Lucas, is our resident beauty blogger. With a penchant for living life to full, you'll find her here sharing her musings on health & wellness and of course beauty. We're sure you'll love her positive, open and honest approach to life. It's a much needed breath of fresh air and we are thrilled to have her as a contributing author on the Glad Lash Blog! You can read more from Amy at her personal blog www.musingsofaminx.com.

Disclaimer! Opinions expressed on the Glad Lash Blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Glad Lash Inc. Content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before making decisions that could affect your business or clients.

One thought on “Impulse Buying – 4 Effective Retail Strategies to Consider in Your Business”

  1. The Fear of Missing Out or FOMO is a well-documented phenomenon, and retailers need to use it to their advantage. Point of purchase displays present a great opportunity for stores to gain a competitive advantage over their virtual counterparts. This vital in-store communication method needs to be effective, and design plays a key role.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *