Stimulating the Impulse Buy

Aug. 1, 2016
Locksmith retailers rely on store placement and catchy signage to motivate customers

Most research indicates that impulse purchases are certainly a prime revenue generator for brick and mortar retail shops. A recent survey conducted by Marketing Support, Inc. and Leo J. Shapiro and Associates says that close to one-third of all consumers make substantial impulse buys almost every week, with $30 being the average spent on that last-second buy.  And for Adam L. Duberstein, Vice President of Business Development at PRO-LOK, whetting the appetite of his customers is a prime objective.

“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,” confides Duberstein. “It is unrealistic for business owners and employees to personally interact with the customer 100 percent of the time.  The business should rely on the strategic placement of retail packaged products, display boards, and POS (point of sale) displays."

Duberstein says that for a sale to occur problem recognition also needs to be triggered because the customer has to recognize a past problem and want to solve it.  Properly merchandised retail space, service vehicles, or showrooms with stimulating, attention grabbing, and simple displays that identify a problem and offer solutions are easy ways to accomplish problem recognition. “Seeing is buying and if the customer is unable to see the product then they are unable to purchase the product.  Seeing the product gives the opportunity to solve the problem.” 

So how does a locksmith or any other retailer go about making sure he tickles the fancy of a potential impulse buyer? There are several ways, including signage and placement of merchandise. Using eye-catching signs that proclaim unique features or scream discount pricing are traditional methods. Experts say that making sure signage employs eye-popping colors like reds and yellows, which have been proven to draw attention, are ideal.

Strategic positioning of product is also important in stirring emotional purchases.  Placing an impulse product where customers are most likely to see it is a key factor for success. Retailers most often find that positioning impulse products at the checkout counters and where your best sellers are intensifies activity.

The folks at PRO-LOK are masters of unique promotion and packaging with their main and ancillary brands. Duberstein was willing to share some secrets to creating excitement for some of their impulse type products.

“PRO-LOK always begins with the end in mind.  Whether through product development, packaging design, POS displays, promotions, or marketing material, we always ask ourselves how the product is going to be sold and how the transaction is going to occur before the project begins.  This helps drive the project and give overall direction,” he says. “This is one of the reasons it was important to use the name ENTRY ARMOR when we purchased the manufacturing assets of a security hardware company many years ago. The ENTRY ARMOR name not only describes what the product line has to offer, but it conveys strength, quality, and durability.  The logo is aesthetically appealing while reinforcing the sense of strength and security that is expected by security professionals.”     

Duberstein also admits that having three brands, (PRO-LOK, ENTRY ARMOR, and KALIFORNIA KEY CHAINS) under their umbrella provides them with a lot of flexibility when it comes to product promotions.  It enables the company to cross promote brands to better serve their dealer network and end-user customer. 

“For example, we can run promotions on bulk key accessories, such as split key rings, with Blue Punch Key Machines since the keys made on the key machine will most likely need to go on a key ring.  Another example is providing hardware installation kits by grouping PRO-LOK Installation Template Solutions with ENTRY ARMOR Wrap Plates and Flat Plates to assist in the retrofit process,” Duberstein says.   

Jan Howard Merutka, Vice President of Marketing for Lucky Line offers some selling tips to locksmiths to help ensure moving inventory and attracting those impulse buyers. He says when it comes to moving inventory; there are several things to look for including:

  • Identifying your top selling items
  • When choosing which items to merchandise at checkout, they recommend impulse items that are more likely to lead to a sale
  • Strategically merchandise product for better sales results when assisting in customer resets.
  • Seasonal items like ice scrapers in winter or key floats for the summer make good impulse items because the weather creates a sense of urgency as to why the customer needs the item.

When looking to attract impulse buyers, the Lucky Line team will work with distributor sales teams on store resets to ensure that product is displayed properly and that the products offered are current.  With a simple image of a shop, Merutka says they can recommend any number of available options whether it is on a wall, counter or floor area. But she also says don’t forget the basics of good retail, even when planning your impulse-buy strategy.

Merutka suggests that a clean, well-organized and inviting store presence is important so that the store looks inviting and easy to shop. 

“People are inclined to shop longer and come back if they’ve had a pleasant shopping experience. A customer is likely to buy more items, the longer they stay in the store,” Merutka adds.  And don’t forget that a customer with a great shopping experience will be happy to post a favorable review for your shop on social media or online review sites.”

For Mike Winegar, Vice President of Sales for West Coast Corporation, the makers of the KEY-BAK line of products, hooking customers with tools they can use -- but might not necessarily need -- is a balancing act.

“Most everyone uses keys or swipe badges as part of their everyday life, whether professional or personal. Offering simple, yet effective solutions for keeping their keys/cards handy is something everyone can appreciate. However, not all key reels and products are alike;” says Winegar. “KEY-BAK is the original inventor of the retractable key reel and has been making high-quality products since 1948. What excites consumers the most is that our products are still made in the USA, are backed by a lifetime warranty, and are built to last over one million pulls. Anytime we highlight these three features, whether, through email campaigns, in-store signage, or mailers, customers do not hesitate to purchase. They feel the quality when they pick up the products and have confidence that their keys and/or ID cards will not become lost.”

Duberstein also stresses that the marketplace dictates what sells. Different parts of the country are particular to what they like.

“Every local market has its own character and product needs because of the unique makeup of commercial and residential customers for each retailer.  Staple impulse sales items include Latch protectors, patio door locks, window locks, door guards, door viewers, and other residential security door hardware items.  These products do well because the merchandising triggers problem recognition and offers an immediate solution,” he says.

Kalifornia Key Chain accessories are a lot of fun for his customers and the products allow the customers to express their personalities, explains Duberstein.  “The colorful, inviting packaging is attention grabbing.  Staple impulse sales items for these products include a variety of colorful key identifiers that also include happy face and sports caps, colorful wrist coils and c-clips, lighted key accessories, and sports balls.  The sports balls, such as baseballs, basketballs, footballs, etc. are great impulse items for recreational teams.  A must have for every retailer are hide-a-keys and rock hiders, split key rings, and key identification items, such as key tags and paper tags.”

Lucky Line’s Merutka concedes that its entire product line can be considered an impulse-buy, depending on where they are placed inside the retail store.

When it comes to trends in impulse products for the locksmith market, KEY-BAK’s Winegar figures the retailer influences trends by stimulating a customer’s interest.

“If the product is easy to access when a customer is checking out, they are more likely to purchase. Key accessories are not usually top of mind for most consumers, but they are something almost everyone needs and uses. Having a display of key reels, or tub of accessories, at the counter quickly and easily reminds them of something they have been meaning to purchase,” he concludes.