3 Impulse Sales Techniques You Haven’t Tried Yet



Scientists have studied what triggers impulse purchases for years, and you have almost surely read countless articles that encourage you to place impulse items near the register and carefully chose particular price points.

But here are a few less common tips you can use to encourage customers to add another item to their cart. 

Scents and Sights That Stimulate the Appetite 
A study published in Science Daily in 2008
showed that exposing someone to the sight or smell of something that whets the appetite can increase the likelihood that they will make more impulsive decisions, such as purchasing a new sweater despite being on a tight budget. 

The study was broken into two parts. The first part of the study focused on sight—participants were to sort images. One group was given nature images, another was giving food images and the control group was given no images. All were then asked to participate in a lottery that would either pay them less money sooner or more money later. 

Those who had viewed the food images were almost 20% more likely to opt for less money sooner (61% versus 41.5%), showing an interest in more immediate rewards. 

The second part of the study looked at whether a hidden cookie-scented candle made shoppers more likely to make an unplanned purchase of a new sweater. The results were significant—67% of those exposed to the candle made the impulse buy, versus only 17% of those who were not exposed. 

How might this work for pet retailers? If the store has a bakery section, consider placing this up front, where shoppers will see it before browsing the store (not necessarily at the checkout). If they are freshly baked, the scent may work to your advantage; and even if not, the sight of those delicious looking goodies may still be enough to do the trick. 

Price Anchoring: Use Expensive Products to Sell Cheaper Ones
As Ott Niggulis shared on eCommerce site Shopify.com last year, retailers like Armani use decoy pricing or “anchoring” to sell more products. 

For example, they strategically position a $75 t-shirt next to a $150 t-shirt and a $400 pair of jeans. Because it’s human nature to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the anchor), when a shopper sees the $150 t-shirt first, the $75 t-shirt seems much more reasonable by comparison—even the shopper would normally never spend that much on a t-shirt! 

How might this work for pet retailers? Beyond simply carrying a “Good-Better-Best” product selection within each category, consider placing items in such a way that the “Best” product is actually the one most likely to catch a shopper's eye first. By comparison, it’ll make the prices on your "Good" and "Better" items look even less expensive by comparison, helping to drive up those sales. 

Frequently Bought Together: A Trick From Amazon
When shopping on Amazon, below the description for the product you’re considering is a section called “Frequently Bought Together.” 

Here Amazon shows off a number of other products that their data has shown are often bought by people who buy the item you’re considering adding to your cart. It also makes it easy to add those additional items to your order. 

Buying a printer? Maybe it shows you printer ink. Buying bed sheets? Maybe it shows you extra pillow cases that match. 

But sometimes the items seem an odd choice indeed—on a recent online shopping trip, Amazon suggested I buy soup to go with beef jerky. 

How might this work for pet retailers? Consider spending some time combing through your sales data to see if you can spot any unlikely pairings or pay attention for a few days to items that tend to come to the checkout together. 

Maybe shoppers buying collars often pick up ID tags? Consider placing something promoting ID tags in the collar aisle.

And remember, even if impulse purchases may not seem like much at first, even a small increase in sales can have a huge impact over time. So, while you should definitely continue to place impulse purchase at the front of the store and price items strategically, you might also want to consider trying something a little less conventional, and see if an out of the box idea can help you unbox a lot more sales. 


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