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The Impulse mindset

Blog post   •   Nov 29, 2016 13:21 GMT

The impulse mindset

The shift in shopping habits from weekly large trolley trips to smaller more frequent shops is leading to a range of challenges for retailers and brands alike. One key challenge is that of mission morphing in smaller format stores: a shopper may have entered the store planning to buy food for tonight, but basket analysis shows that there were just as many toiletry items as food items at the checkout. In this example a food for tonight mission has morphed into something quite different – seemingly on impulse because the toiletries were not planned for that shopping trip.

Behaviour like this reminds us that impulse purchasing is a mindset that can be triggered by a range of factors or circumstances. At Shoppercentric we have spent time looking to understand impulse in more detail than simply an unplanned purchase. As a result, we developed our 3 pillars of impulse:

  • Pure Impulse
    • The classic: ‘see it want it’
  • Reminder Impulse
    • When the visual cue is a trigger: ‘see it, remember I need it’
  • Opportunistic Impulse
    • When an offer brings a longed-for product into reach: ‘see it at best value’

These pillars inform the design and interpretation of research that requires a true understanding of unplanned purchases. By drilling down beyond the basic unplanned nature of the purchase, and identifying the context to the seemingly impulsive decision, we can better guide our clients on how to trigger impulse purchasing.

  • With Pure impulse, it is important to think about triggering the desire by improving visibility in-store, using treating cues, and promotions that support the purchase rather than push it
  • With reminder impulse, the solutions are around secondary siting, to trigger the reminder
  • And with opportunistic impulse it is about promotions that draw attention in terms of value and visual, and using value cues to drive home the eye-catching deal

This granularity is becoming increasingly important because of the macro trend around small shopping trips. Small, more occasion-based trips are a prime breeding ground for impulse purchasing. A savvy retailer or brand will do the research that identifies the best opportunities to proactively trigger impulse purchasing or even mission morphing, so that the right shopper marketing is targeting the impulse mindset, and increasing the shoppers spend accordingly.

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