Imagine this scenario: you’re standing in line at your favorite store with your purchases in one hand and your wallet in the other. As the line starts to move, you notice a product on display beside the register. The bold packaging and convenience draw you in. It’s not something you need, but the price is right, so you begin to consider the idea. For the rest of your time in line, you toy with the notion of buying it until, at the last possible minute, you add it to your purchase.

This is called impulse shopping. We’ve all done it and the shoppers in your store have, too. Below are some tips to simultaneously appeal to impulse shoppers and maximize your profit.

•Stock small products and sizes. Items like snacks and lip balms often catch the eye of impulse shoppers. Think about how many packets of gum you have purchased while standing in line at the grocery store. Placing these products near the cash register will result in increased sales. Most shoppers won’t think of it as an indulgence because of the size.

•Hot products. New items should always be a front-of-store staple. Consumers are often influenced by industry trends. Therefore, placing these products near the front of the store or beside the cash register is a win/win situation for both parties. Non-GMO and gluten-free products are ideal for this situation.

•Discounted items. Shoppers love a good deal and they are far more inclined to purchase a product if it is affordable, even if they have never tried or do not need the product. This is a good place for products that need a boost.

•Product demonstrations. According to Daily Finance, allowing customers to sample a product is an effective way to make a sale (1). They will be more confident in their purchase and leave the store with peace of mind. This, of course, can lead to returning customers.

•Stocking seasonal products. During the holidays, shoppers may be more willing to purchase things they don’t necessarily need. Why not coax them into patronizing your store with holiday-themed merchandise? Many HBC items are tailor-made for these promotions (1).

•Catering to customers. Getting to know what your regular customers like and which issues are important to them will assist you in choosing products for your store.

•Suggestive selling. When customers are in the checkout line, have the cashier suggest an item that will complement their purchase. After all, they should be knowledgable about trends and what shoppers are loving at the moment. Customers will listen to our advice when it comes to purchasing a product.

•Strike zones. Designing colorful displays or focal points will draw shoppers’ attention to a particular product (1). You need to leave an impression in their heads. Think of a strike zone as a commercial for a product. The item, and subsequently your store, should never leave shoppers’ minds. WF

1. B. Thau, “‘Buy Me!’ 7 Ways Stores Get You to Make an Impulse,” Daily Finance, Apr. 26, 2012,, accessed Feb. 28. 2013.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2013