By Gregg Salkovitch
In 1914, Edward John Noble came up with a clever idea. His product, Life Savers, was a struggling brand; but he believed if it was placed in front of a drug-store cash register, it could sell well at a nickel. Noble saw this as prime real estate in the retail world. The location was ideal—where there is change, there are nickels! His small company grew rapidly because he recognized a need for an inexpensive item customers could easily add to their shopping cart without much thought. In other words, he saw a place for impulse items in small businesses.
Last month, I went to an electronics store to purchase a CD player. After 15 minutes of looking at various brands, I found one I liked for $79.99. While waiting in line at the register, I saw a pack of blank CDs in a compact display for $7.99. As someone who likes to mix his own CDs, I added these to my order without hesitation.
The store had an entire aisle containing several brands of CDs. Why did I purchase them at the counter instead? Three reasons: First, they were visible. I hadn’t considered purchasing blank CDs; but since they were conveniently located at the register, I thought, “I could really use these.” Second, it was easy. I was in line and only had to pick them up. Finally, they were inexpensive. An additional $8 was not a major purchase.
The objective with impulse items is to boost sales volume on products customers want more than they need. The characteristics of most impulse buys are low price, marginal need, self-service and small size. These were the exact characteristics of the CDs I purchased. As a result, the store increased my sale by 10 percent.
Like drug and electronics stores, your self-storage facility should offer impulse items. Locks are a necessary item and sell well at most facilities. A customer who stores with you is likely to buy a lock from you. Therefore, locks do not qualify as an impulse product. Choose instead a product that might get lost in your retail display and has a reasonable price point, for example, carton markers or cutters, and moving labels. These products are lowcost, and many customers will buy them without wavering. They are ideal precisely because they do not call attention to the fact they are being purchased.
Sixty percent to 70 percent of consumers make whimsical buying decisions while in a retail store. This is why it is essential for you to display impulse items. Boxes and locks are easy sales—many customers who walk into your retail-sales area are ready to buy them. Put impulse items in front of them so you can build on those sales. Your customers want these items; they just do not know they need them!
Gregg Salkovitch is an account manager at Supply Side, which distributes packaging as well as moving and storage supplies. The company has developed merchandising programs for many leading companies, including Storage USA, the U.S. Postal Service, Kinko’s and Mail Boxes Etc. For more information, call 800.305.6110 or 216.738.1200; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.