Shoppers Continue to Make Impulse Buys

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While many shoppers hit stores with a detailed shopping list, impulse purchases are alive and well among consumers. With the right marketing and product placement, truckstop operators and their suppliers may be able to increase their sales and their profits. 

"The Checkout," a shopper behavior study conducted by the research firm Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research, reported that nine out of 10 shoppers purchase items not on their lists. Of those who said they make impulse purchases, about two thirds of shoppers said they’d gone off-list because a sale or promotion presented itself in the store. Three in 10 consumers, meanwhile, say they buy things not on their lists because they suddenly find a coupon. About 23 percent of shoppers said they made impulse purchases to pamper themselves. 

"Our data shows that 61 percent of off-list shoppers purchase an additional one to three items," said Craig Elston, senior vice president at Integer Research. "This shows that if you reach a particular shopper at the right moment with the right message, for example—using in-store signage to play into their desire to pamper themselves—it can end with that item being added to their basket."

When it comes to making a list, 61 percent of shoppers responded they were influenced primarily by the brand of product they currently use, 57 percent reported that coupons influence their list, and 56 percent said store ads or circulars influence their list.

However, the research showed that when shoppers are making lists, they typically do not write down brand names of a product, they write the product type. This means that although they may have their brand of choice in mind, there are factors that can influence a shopper to select one brand of a product over the other, telling marketers they need not worry that a shopping list excludes certain brands or creates a barrier to purchase, Integer said.

Members of Gen Y—the “millennials” born roughly between 1980 and 1995—are 52 percent more likely than other generations to make unplanned purchases to pamper themselves, the report said. Because of this inclination, and because millennials don’t respond as well as other generations to typical ads and marketing techniques, the Integer report offers suggestions aimed at tempting younger consumers into making even more impulse purchases, such as digital solutions and marketing.

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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