How to get shoppers to make unexpected purchases in your store

Conventional wisdom tells us that retailers are in the “supply and demand” business.  They exist to fulfill demand.  That’s true to a point, but many retailers translate the word “demand” as “need” and that’s not quite where their focus should be.

The primary focus in any retail enterprise should be “desire.” People will always buy what they need, but more often than not, they’re going to buy something they want, or desire.  The trick is to anticipate that desire to compel a purchase.

Getting shoppers to make unexpected purchases in your store is where the real retail magic happens.  In this post,  we’re going to look at some savvy ways of speaking to shopper desire over shopper need.

The element of delight

There are three distinct types of shopper.  The first wants the expedition to terminate as quickly as possible.  As though blinkered, this shopper is on a mission.  The second may be reasonably focused, but doesn’t mind the odd “off road” encounter with an unplanned purchase.  The third (and most important for this purpose) enjoys finding an element of delight in the consumer experience.
It’s that third type of shopper who’s looking for a surprise and most likely to make an impulsive, desired purchase. They find themselves surprised by new discoveries that speak to their desires.  They want to be delighted by encounters with items they “just have to have”.

Transcending the mundane

The mundane, utilitarian approach to retail is rapidly fading into history.  People increasingly demand that their consumer journeys contain an element of experiential interest.  How to get shoppers to make unexpected purchases in your store means your challenge is to overcome the mundane.

Thinking outside the traditional retail box is a matter of breaking time worn molds.  While it may seem that placing all the shirts together in one place, grouped by size makes sense, but where’s the element of delight in that?

There is none!

Switch it up.  Group items differently, creating opportunities for shoppers to see that shirt with those pants, or that skirt.  The shirt purchase may turn into a pants/skirt purchase, too.
Upping your display game is an important way to get shoppers to make unexpected purchases.  Surprising displays that go beyond the seasonal, draw attention to items you want your customers to know about.  Only your imagination limits the lengths to which your creativity can go.

Interactive features

Invite your customers to have a whole new experience of your store with demonstrations, workshops on how products are used (tools, craft supplies, cameras), or fashion shows.  Hold a guerilla fashion show, with staff acting as models, walking around the store and talking about what they’re wearing, as customers browse.

Offer something extra and memorable that introduces that element of delight which drives unexpected purchases. is a Point of Purchase display leader, offering retailers like you premium POP supports that help you up your display game.  Contact us to discover a world of high quality POP display products.

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