Impulse Buys at Checkout Time Increase More than Bottom Line

Impulse Buys at Checkout Time Increase More than Bottom Line

Last updated: July 27, 2016Perry Kuklin

Did you know: 65% of retail sales are impulse purchases? While not all of those impulse buys occur at checkout, the queue does represent an undeniable opportunity to use merchandising to boost impulse sales. And more. It’s much more than that. Beyond sales, these in-line, last-minute purchases enhance the customer experience and cultivate happier customers.

Below are some considerations worth factoring in as you build or refine your queue system, including ways to influence the impulse.

Customer Delight

When a customer waits in a queue, their experience matters. The more you are able to engage your customer in a positive, even pleasurable experience, the shorter the perceived wait time can be. You can create an enjoyable sensory experience with visuals (think colors and textures), sounds, and even scents that will disrupt the moment and generate interest and distraction.1

68% of customers who leave a queue do so because they feel you don’t care.2 Cultivating a positive experience promotes the feeling of being cared about and can deepen customer loyalty. If shoppers choose one or more additional items to purchase while in the queue, those pleasurable feelings will be reinforced with positive associations each time they see or use those products.1 Place products with delight in mind.

Personal Connection

Customers impulsively purchase products that they believe will help them avoid pain and enhance pleasure in their lives.1 When a customer is surprised by something useful or helpful in one of these ways, the connection with the brand gets personal. Customers come away feeling understood, and like the time they spent shopping actually added value, becoming a multi-layered worthwhile investment.

Customer Retention

Customers who feel respected and understood coming away from a transaction, and who enjoy their shopping experience will likely return. Return customers:

  • Convert to additional sales 60% – 70% of the time3
  • Are 9 x more likely to purchase than the average first-time customer
  • Spend more on each purchase than first time customers
  • Are likely to shop again and again, spending more over time, up to 25% more per average purchase.4

Positive WOM

Impressed customers happily share their stories and ‘scores’ with their friends and family. Each time a customer makes a purchase, they become more comfortable with the brand, and thus more willing to make a positive referral. If the purchase is a surprise find, the delight factor can be even higher and the excitement to share increases accordingly. Let your best customers become your best marketers by leaving your line happy.

By integrating products and opportunities into the queue experience, you’ll certainly make additional impulse sales. And you may also end up as surprised as your customers (finding last minute goodies) about the many benefits you didn’t expect.  

1 Journal of Consumer Research: The Buying Impulse

2 Why We Won’t Wait, Lavi Guide

3 Marketing Metrics, Farris, Bendel, Pfeifer & Reibstein

4 Bain & Co Customer Loyalty Study


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