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Impulse Buying Can Be a Good Thing

When To Walk On The 'Impulse' Wild Side


Buying things on impulse is usually discouraged against in most articles you read on smart shopping but sometimes it may actually be a good thing. Understanding how grocers set up the stores in order to tempt shoppers with impulse items will help even the most frugal shopper to enjoy a little walk on the 'impulsive' wild side.

Integrated Merchandising

Everyone has been tempted by what the grocery store merchandisers refer to as integrated merchandising. This is the practice of putting related items together on a display kiosk; such as the green beans with dried onions for bean casseroles. Most consumers view this type of merchandising as helpful because of the convenience of not having to go look for the 'sister' item. It also makes it less likely that the item will be forgotten by the consumer.

Grocers view integrated merchandising as serving a dual purpose. The customer views it as a convenience and it promotes consumers to buy out of impulse, increasing the total sale.

Other areas in a grocery store pushing impulse items:

  • Displays at the end of the aisles.

  • Announcements of price specials over the store intercom.

  • Samples that are being cooked and entice us with the aroma and sizzling sounds.

  • Fresh baked goods that have strong aromatic powers over consumer impulses.

  • Introductory low prices on new products.

If these items are something you already planned on buying then go ahead and put it in your cart. When you get around to the area where the item is normally merchandised, check out the prices on the other brands to see if you can beat the price. Many times items placed in integrated kiosks are heavily promoted with price reductions and are a smart purchase but do you price comparisons regardless.

When to Buy -- Keeping It Fun

Imagine if every time you bought a new pair of shoes or pair of pants you purchased the same kind because they were comfortable and a good price. Your enthusiasm to go shopping would most likely drop to zero. That same concept can make the difference in your attitude about grocery shopping. If you always buy the same products then your trip to the store is probably a real chore. However, if you allow yourself to indulge in some impulse buying then it keeps your grocery trip a little more interesting. Try budgeting in a little 'splurge' money for trying out new products or buying something you normally pass on.

To avoid impulse buying from being a total waste of money, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How will I use it?

  • When will I use it?

  • Why am I buying it?

  • Is the price reasonable?

If you have sensible positive answers to those four questions, then chances are you just made a good impulse purchase so go enjoy it!

Have fun saving money while you shop!
Donna Montaldo

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