Impulse Purchase

How to attract impulse purchases? What motivates impulse buying? Consumers made even large purchases on impulse. Three sales arguments are related to such impulse decisions. Valuable information for both, the conscious consumer and the eager salesman.

1. You need it right now!
The starting argument for buying something now. Humans tend to satisfy needs as fast as possible. Our society is structured to encourage impulse shopping: product samples, store designs, credit cards, one-click online stores… So if you want to save money, you better have a strategy for dealing with the marketing machines. In case you want to sell your product, try to use this buyer decision process for building up sales. One successful approach for most consumers seems to have buying rules. Wait a certain period of time. One day for example. That general rule does not involve leaving your credit cards at home or pocket-money budgeting. If you have thought about the purchase for a while, then by definition, it is not an impulse purchase. Whether it is a wise decision is another matter, but at least it is not an impulse purchase.

2. You will not have this opportunity again!
This is usually the counter-argument to the use of a waiting period. The salesman or flier tells the consumer that if you wait until tomorrow, the store might be sold out. A lot has been written about these tactics and how well they work. In 99% of the cases, you will have plenty more opportunities. Sometimes at even better prices. No matter what consumers are told by salesman and by sales literature, today will be probably not the last day you will ever get that price. Even in the most extreme of circumstances – it is probably not the last opportunity.

3. An upgrade is not an additional purchase!
The most tricky argument. A perfect setup to make mental accounting errors. Behavioral finance theory says that people attempt to frame decisions to separate gains and integrate losses. What better way could there be to integrate a loss than by merging it together with another purchase. Once you be aware of this, you will notice impulse purchases everywhere. Meal packages, warranties on consumer electronics, upgrade packages on house financing… Another good consumer buying test: would you still make the same decision if framed differently? In your mind, try to frame the decision so that you are not comparing the additional payment with the much larger number of the base purchase. Try to isolate the additional purchase as much as possible and evaluate it as a separate isolated purchase.

The average person spends $114,293 in their lifetime on impulse buys. Large financial projects require setting goals and follow-through. You must plan well and execute in order to have success in reaching financial goals. Repeated impulse purchases destroy your budget and weaken your chances of achieving your financial goals. Nothing is guaranteed in life, but you have to focus on what you can control.

To wrap it up:

Avoid impulse purchases as a consumer
and stimulate them as a salesman.

[Impulse buy statistics: blogpost at mediascope]

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