According to David Kollat and Ronald Willett, (1969), Impulsive purchasing is considered to be very important for marketers, in that there is immense dependence on the practice in terms of the propensity of consumers to make purchase decisions at the point of sale due to motivation arising out of efforts and tactics used by retailers to woo customers in creating interest in them for the product. There is opportunity for such retailers to apprise the customer of the unique qualities and utility of the product in view of the intention with which the customer visits the store and hence there are very good chances to arouse a desire for such products so as to result in purchase on impulse. Although this kind of purchase is not limited to any particular set of products or services, it is very much prevalent with jewelry, consumer durables, apparel, groceries and furniture items and such behavior has been found to occur widely in department stores, gift shops, florists, book stores and auto supply stores. Marketers and retailers in particular have full confidence in the practice of impulsive purchasing as being a very important aspect of the customer’s behavior in the store. However some marketing theorists believe that this concept has its own limitations in being useful as a dependant means for making marketing decisions. There are several problems that marketing professionals must address so as to make this concept of impulsive purchasing effective and relevant to the customer in acting as desired by them.
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There are various Points of Purchase (POP) displays such as banners, sign boards, posters, display cartons, specific racks and mechanical product dispensers, which are usually provided by manufacturers free of any charge to retailers to promote their brands and products, the ultimate aim being in providing gain to the retailers in terms of increased sales (Jim Blythe, 2007). The main aim of the tool is to provide maximum visibility at a place where the shoppers spend their time in viewing the product. The POP units are supposed to be specific about the name of the product, its size, appearance and the unique characteristics in keeping with the strategies used by other advertisement means as also in being well coordinated with the themes used by sales people. If there is effective coordination, such strategies will alter customer decision on impulse, in buying the product.
A typical example of POP advertising which I witnessed as being successful was a campaign by Marlboro cigarettes whereby attractive posters were placed in the stores of a couple in a very intimate, loving and ecstatic position standing next to a SUV with the young man puffing on a Marlboro cigarette. The posters were very specific in conveying that because the man was smoking a Marlboro, he was able to have a beautiful and attractive girl by his side. At that moment there was no other POP advertising of any other cigarette brand which led smokers, particularly youngsters, to buy the Marlboro brand, which was evident from the significant increase in the sales of the brand. Another very effective example of POP advertising was observed at McDonald’s fast food where inside the restaurant there are large LCD screens that display the different choices of burgers and meal combos on offer. The customer behavior in the restaurant is such that one buys something to eat and drink, and after the purchase he sits down and is face to face with the LCD that shows eloquent and mouth watering pictures of the different varieties of meal combos. On impulse, the customer does get tempted to try out something new as portrayed and thus there is a sale, proving that the POP strategy has to be succeeded.
It is very rare for POP advertising to be annoying to the customer since there is a choice whether one wants to view the advertisement or not. The advertisement is mostly very appealing to a customer to view and read and get to know what it is about, after which it is his discretion whether he wants to purchase the product (Kotler, Philip and Kevin Keller, 2008). It is very much justified to spend a part of the advertising budget on POP advertising since research has shown that about 70% of purchase decisions are made at the point of sale and out of this over 53% are a result of impulsive decisions at the spot. Surely it is required that an advertising budget be allocated for this purpose since lot is at stake (Ramesh Kumar S, 2004).
- David Kollat and Ronald Willett, Is Impulse Purchasing really a Useful Concept for Marketing Decisions, 1969, Journal of Marketing, Volume 33
- Jim Blythe, Consumer Behavior, 2007, Thomson Learning
- Kotler, Philip and Kevin Keller, Marketing Management, 2008, Prentice Hall
- Lars Perner, Consumer Behavior: The Psychology of Marketing. Web.
- Ramesh Kumar S, Consumer Behavior and Retailing Decisions, 2004, The Hindu Businessline