Let’s have a coffee and talk about increasing your impulse sell potential.


Humans are an impulsive bunch, and retailers can capitalize on this using store design and product positioning. The average shopper spends only 15 seconds contemplating a purchase, and notices just 40% of the products on offer. How do we break into this ‘autopilot mode’?  Most people have a ‘go to’ beverage, so try to target the ‘attached purchase’ for a quick win, rather than the main sale.  People check the menu board to see if their drink is available to reassure themselves and check the price.  Retailers can use ‘eye flow’ here, positioning attached products and promotions to the right of where common drinks are listed, for maximum exposure to shoppers’ wandering eyes.


coffee shop logo in wood for retail design


Stores can influence a shopper’s movements from the moment they enter. Forcing a nonlinear approach to the order point, with a queue system or promotional stand, will make the shopper look at more than one vista.  This gives you a chance to fill their line of sight with products. Keep it simple and subtle – I’m not talking theme park zigzag queues here.  Another quick win is to find out what your most popular attached purchase is, and disrupt it. Shoppers will likely glance to check that what they want is available; use that glance and position your new offering to the right of the popular purchase.  You can also challenge their subconscious with a direct sell message such as “Always order an ‘X’? Try our new ‘Y’ today!”


man working in a coffee shop not impluse buying


Make sure that your POS fixtures make the products visible and easy to access. According to psychologists, fixtures that are rounded are more successful than those with angles, as this is more comfortable for the brain. POS get just 1.6 seconds of shopper attention, so keep them simple. They need to attract and disrupt, but only enough to allow the buying impulse to flare up – a fixture that is too distracting can divert attention away from the products it is supposed to be pushing.

We will post the next instalment of this 3 part impulse buy series written for The Blend Magazine UK next week, if you can’t wait please get in touch directly and we’ll be happy to email it over to you. Till next time.

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