Why POP strategies drive the ‘Impulse Purchase’

An upsurge in impulse buying mean that the point of purchase (POP) is playing a more important role in consumers’ decision making than ever before.  

So why are consumers open to impulse purchases, despite their best intention to seek special deals or wait for sales?

There are many reasons. Here, we cover just a few behind the continuing and increasing success of the POP strategy in driving the impulse purchase.

  1. Improving the shopper experience:  When done right, POP strategies can occupy consumers whilst they’re waiting for sales help – presenting enough useful information in an efficient format to drive an impulse purchase. This can reduce some of the frustrations associated with the shopping experience as well as make the retail experience more entertaining.
  2. The ‘Vicarious ownership’ theory: Ian Zimmerman Ph.D writes that “when we’re connected to a product, it literally changes the way our minds perceive it. Our minds essentially start acting like we already own the product, which makes it harder to go without buying it”. How do you make that connection? Zimmerman continues “A physical connection with a product is created when we’re close to it – and when we’re able to touch it. A temporal connection is created when we’re able to purchase it immediately.”  POP strategies are specifically placed to be able to provide these connections.
  3. The ability to provide speed and convenience: Quelch and Cannon-Bonventre write about consumers who value speed and convenience becoming more open to helping themselves as the point of purchase – and as a result, more likely to make an impulse purchase. We see this in the increase in use of vending machines and the rise of self service store formats.




Team Spotlight: Tim Bauer

We speak to Tim Bauer, who is the most recent addition to the In-Store team. Here’s what he had to say…

What’s your background?

In May, I graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. Prior to my return to college, I spent a few years living in Kent, CT. In that part of the state, life moved a little slower than I was used to, but it turned out it was exactly what I needed. In my free-time I played a lot of guitar, went hiking in the mountains, and fished in the river by my house. I used this time to decompress, grow up, and map out the kind of future I wanted for myself.

The most important thing I took away from my time in Kent was learning the value of hard work. An average day for me consisted of maintaining dozens of acres of property from the early hours of the morning until about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. From there I would head directly to the restaurant where I worked as a server, often until 11 o’clock at night. It was exhausting. But no matter how tired I may have been, I learned to appreciate the drive one must possess in order to be successful.

After a couple years of working 16 hour days, I realized that I wanted more out of life. Luckily for me I knew what the solution was. Something I had previously given up on was now attainable. Going back to school was a difficult decision to make as it required several sacrifices. But anything worth having is worth fighting for right? This time around I had a newfound motivation to give it my absolute best effort, and earn my degree.

So that’s exactly what I did. I set goals for myself, visualized them every day, and before I knew it, they started coming true. I credit my present success to the lessons I learned working many long days at hard jobs. I’ve carried that motivation and willingness to learn to every task that comes my way. I don’t believe that I’m better than any job or feel that I’m done learning. Right now, I’m doing my best to act like a sponge and absorb all that I can from the amazing talent at In-store Experience. I am extremely grateful to have landed here. I’ve never been a part of such a positive corporate culture and I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to show my worth.

What inspires you?

I have always been a creative thinker. As a child, my favorite toy was my imagination. It allowed me to be who ever I wanted in whatever world I dreamt up. As I got older, I never lost touch with that aspect of my character. As a result, I’m very much inspired by creative arts, whether it be improvisation in a musical number or some obscure medium used to create an otherworldly artistic masterpiece.  Art as a form of expression is not only inspiring but enjoyable. I think it’s wonderful to see what can become of an artist who pours their mind, body, and spirit into their work. I still actively play music and illustrate on paper. For me, music and drawing are not only a beneficial mental exercise, but also a therapeutic reprieve. You could say that I am very passionate about art and music. When I see other people doing what they love, what they’re passionate about – that inspires me.

Tell us more about what you’l be doing at In-Store Experience and what you’ll bring to the team.

I think I bring a willingness to learn and participate which now-a-days feels uncommon among my generation. I want to be involved and help out in any capacity that I can. Having worked at so many different kinds of jobs afforded me the opportunity to acquire skills that I may otherwise not have learned. I believe this, coupled with my natural abilities to illustrate, problem solve, and communicate, has helped me to develop into a uniquely qualified individual.

My focus right now at In-Store Experience is in project management. I am working hard to familiarize myself with every phase of the project life cycle. I have great mentors here like Chris and Frank who have been doing this for a while. I would be a fool not to absorb the wisdom they possess through their many years of experience.

What’s been the best experience you’ve had at In-Store so far?

Within the first couple weeks of starting at In-Store as an intern, our boss and the owner of the company Chris Anderson took us all out for an awesome lunch right by the water on a beautiful summer day. He took a moment to welcome me to the team, and that gesture deeply resonated with me. And he’s taken us all out several times since.

I saw pretty quickly how well Chris treated his employees. I believe he treats us so well because he truly values everyone’s role in the company. For a business to be successful, the office culture has to be built on a foundation of respect. You really feel that here. Not a day goes by where I feel overlooked or unappreciated. Having that feeling instilled in you from day one makes you want to work harder because you know your effort will be acknowledged.



Is there really a Retail Apocalypse?

No doubt you’ve come across headlines in the news about a ‘retail apocalypse’ – the claim that physical retail is dying. At the same time, there are just as many headlines that speak to physical retail’s growth.

We’ve seen e-commerce brands such as Casper and Everlane launching pop ups and other new store formats to engage with their customers in physical locations. Store advisors have been identified as playing a critical part in the consumer decision making process. Let’s also not forget that alongside announcements of store closings, a number of brands have announced the widespread opening of new stores across the US in 2018, including Ulta (100 new stores), Dollar General (900 new stores), Ross Stores (100 new stores).

As Steve Dennis wrote in a recent Forbes contribution “Physical retail is not dead. Boring retail is”.

Here’s a collection of just a few pieces of advice we’ve found on becoming part of the retail renaissance.

Think Experiential

Experiential may have become a retail marketing buzzword – but it’s an important one. It means using sensory inputs such as visual merchandising, sound, smell, touch and taste to create emotional memories. Or providing other reasons and experiences for customers to visit a store and engage with your brand.  You can see this already in trends such as the rise of ‘grocerants’ – changing a simple visit to the grocery store into an attractive place to explore food and dine as you would a restaurant. Or other stories such as STORY – a gift retail establishment in the meatpacking district that hosts events such as yoga classes and healthcare panels.

It’s personal

Customers respond to personalized experiences and personalized offers that are tailored to their needs. In a research report by Segment, it was found that personalization presented a huge in-store opportunity, as physical stores are more likely to drive last-minute purchases over $50. A simple way to improve personalization could be to allowing sales associates to be able to see customers online shopping history instore to help them provide better recommendations. Or using apps in-store to help push in-store discounts.

Intuitive is best

The most important factor to be successful in physical retail is to be intuitive – allow the customer to find what they want, and check out with ease. Regardless of what technologies or experiences you bring in-store – this must be the priority, and in the quest to incorporate the latest retail trend or technology, it’s at the risk of getting overlooked.

We don’t believe there is a retail apocalypse. Instead, we simply see an increasing need to shift the way brands do retail to meet rising consumers expectations.