The Power of Impulse Merchandising

June 1, 2017
With the right displays and products, the average locksmith shop can realize an unplanned impulse purchase by 30 to 50 percent of their walk-in customers.

Impulse buying is a science. Even if it were possible to explain it all in one sitting, there wouldn’t be enough pages in this issue of Locksmith Ledger to do it. However, some basic precepts will help you better understand the what, why, where, and how of impulse merchandising. In addition, several impulse merchandisers/manufacturers are able and willing to help you put the ‘Power of Impulse’ to work in your locksmith shop. All you have to do is call and ask for assistance.

 “I’m always happy to assist locksmiths. A good first step would be to visit the Lucky Line Website ( and familiarize yourself with our Retail Solutions and our New Products/Promotions pages,” says Jan Howard, vice president marketing with Lucky Line of San Diego, CA. “Then we can discuss what you are looking for.”

The power of impulse merchandising translates into dollars, which holds significant promise of increasing your financial bottom line over time. If it weren’t so, would so many retail stores devote so much time, effort, money, and valuable in-store space doing it?

The Science of Impulse Buying

What’s the difference between “Impulse selling” and “impulse buying?” Answer: Perspective.

Take a few minutes to reflect on your own experience in retail stores such as drug stores, jewelry, supermarkets, convenient stores, hardware stores, and electronic equipment retailers. These companies spend tremendous amounts of money to capture the attention of consumers at key locations on the sales floor. The name of the game here is visibility, in addition to meaningful, informative displays and attractive packaging.

 “When it comes to merchandising, everything is in presentation, especially when talking about impulse sales.  Every customer interaction is an opportunity to gain a client and increase business, not just for a single sale but for the long term,” says Adam Duberstein, vice president of business development with PRO-LOK of Orange, CA.

For example, when one of your valuable patrons comes to your shop for a key, he or she stands at your counter waiting for your return. Another regular brings three locksets from his small- to mid-size business for you to rekey, which he does on a regular basis. It’s important that you, as a shop owner or manager, make use of the patron’s idle time by keeping him/her busy looking at a zillion and one impulse items that surround them.

So, the question before us is, where do we begin?

How to Leverage Impulse Buying

If you’re interested in implementing the ‘power of impulse’ in your own store, the first thing you should do is gain an understanding of the sales dynamics involved and the effect that having a merchandising program will have on your core services. Included in this is the size of business you have, the number of clients that actually visit your shop, what your biggest selling products are, and where your shop is located.

For example, according to Paco Underhill, author of ‘Why We buy: The Science of Shopping,’ “Two-thirds of the shopping that goes on in malls is impulse buying. Actually two-thirds of the entire economy is impulse buying.”

Underhill’s example involves an environment where sales kiosks and carts often realize more money in impulse sales than regular rented spaces. So, if you’re located in a mall, you might consider adding a cart full of impulse items. A kiosk might be even better because you can add a key machine to the mix.

There’s another benefit of having impulse items with attractive, compelling displays. Many times customers have questions about some of the products on display. Engaging the client about them will often lead to bigger sales as well as a long-term relationship based on an underlying belief in your ability to help them, not to mention the credibility you may have gained by working with them. This helps to assure that the customer returns time after time. Another example might be questions that a customer asks about an electronic access control keypad counter display. You give him all the benefits and features. Now, besides the keys you sold him, he decides to purchase a number of electronic keypad locks and you get to install them.

Displays Aren’t Cheap, but Sometimes Free

It costs someone good money to put wall, counter, floor, and ceiling hanging displays in a locksmith shop. One thing is for sure, merchandisers have done their homework and they’re prepared to bear the burden of that cost if locksmiths are willing to put their money where their counters are.

Several impulse merchandisers are willing to assist by converting your counter, floor, and wall areas into showcases brimming with exciting impulse items. If you run a sizable shop, many of them have representatives in the field who can assist you in creating a design with the right mix of products based on your typical walk-in customer. Through the magic of the World Wide Web, you can browse the floor, counter, and many wall displays that each manufacturer has to offer.

“We have POS options, whether it be for counter, floor, or wall. We also consider a multitude of store sizes for our displays, from a small kiosk to a large retail store. Our wire displays are designed and manufactured to be permanent store displays, and to have appeal to the consumer, all of which is based on many years of research,” says Lucky Line’s Howard.

The cost of these beautiful displays in most cases is not as much as you might think simply because the merchandising companies who offer them really want you to have them in your shop. These displays are marketed directly to locksmiths and merchandisers do everything they can to provide them at a fraction of their actual cost. In many cases the displays are provided at no cost when the volume of impulse items meets a minimum level. ;

 “When it comes to point-of-sale items and displays, we have many different types of display available for keys, and accessories. Some which will hold as few as 24 keys, up to 84 hook displays,” says Cameron Bradbeer, national sales manager, Klassy Keys, St.  Petersburg, FL, “All of the displays are available for purchase, but majority of the time customers get them for free with a minimum purchase of so many keys. Having the keys next to where the customer stands is the best way to upsell the customer to a painted key. While they wait they normally spin the display around and see something which perks their interest.”

As part of the Ilco Personali-Keys® line, officially licensed Realtree® designs key blanks are now available. Realtree is the most popular camouflage brand in the outdoor sporting market and will make the keys baring these designs a popular choice among consumers. An attractive carded key display and a shelf talker are available to promote this line of keys in the retail environment. More Info:

What kind of impulse items should you carry? That question will be at the forefront of your conversations with the impulse product merchandiser of your choice. Give each of them a call and check out their websites.