RetailWire: Research Shows Impulsive Displays of Consumer Buying Behavior Still Exist

  • December 11, 2008 at 5:38 PM EST
  • By George Anderson, Editor, RetailWire
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 Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from one of RetailWire’s recent online discussions. Each business morning on, retail industry executives get plugged in to the latest news and issues with key insights from a “BrainTrust” of retail industry experts.

Retailers may be engaged in markdown mania but research from OgilvyAction concludes that if they really want to move product they need to get it out on secondary displays.

The agency’s research, which included interviews with 6,000 shoppers across multiple retail channels in February and March found that 29% of consumers made unplanned purchases when going to a store. Of those, 24% were influenced by displays to purchase while 18% cited in-store sampling and 17% mentioned a price promotion.


39% of shoppers said they entered a store with plans to purchase from a category but not a specific product. Thirty-one percent of those consumers were influenced to buy by sampling, 28% by price promotion and 27% by some other form of promotion.

Impulse purchases using displays were most likely to occur in convenience stores where just below 50% acknowledged buying a product they had not intended to when entering the store.

While the research points to the power of displays, the reality is that secondary displays are often stocked with discounted products.

“We know price promotion will always be in the picture for any shopper,” Jeff Froud, senior strategic planner with OgilvyAction, told “They will always say they don’t want to feel like they’re getting ripped off.”

The RetailWire BrainTrust board generated quite a lot of buzz around the topic of price promotion and in-store merchandising. “Shoppers vote billions of times every day in stores across the country on what they want, and where they want to go to get it. It’s really not that complicated,” said Herb Sorensen, Global Scientific Director, Shopper Insights at TNS Sorensen. “But if you think you can eke out a few more sales by pushing lots of stuff they are not interested in, in front of them (hold them in the store a little longer, hide what they want in a sea of irrelevant–to them–offers) you are cutting your own throat, and richly deserve to have a growing body of savvy competitors eat your lunch.”

Anne Howe, Sr. VP of Market Intelligence at MARS Advertising, added that it is important to make all merchandising and store layouts impactful. “In a nutshell, the concept is that many retailers could see more by keeping shoppers in the store for less time rather than more time. A well organized store that doesn’t make a shopper have to spend 50% of her time “searching” the shelves might be more valid.” Howe said.



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