Holiday shopping trends for retailers

5 Tactics to Sell Out of Stocking Stuffers and Increase Impulse Buys

by • November 21, 2017 • Small Business MarketingComments Off on 5 Tactics to Sell Out of Stocking Stuffers and Increase Impulse Buys3754

The holiday shopper is an emotional creature. It is easy for shoppers to get whisked away with seasonal merriment when they’re fluttering from store to store, running off eggnog lattes and gingerbread men. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported that almost three out of four customers made impulse purchases over the holiday season last year. Keeping this in mind, a customer picking up “a little extra something” while shopping for seasonal gifts is not the exception but instead the norm.


To further support this festive reality, feast your eyes on this quick list of seasonal impulse buying stats:

  • According to the National Retail Federation, 66 percent of Millennials and 71 percent of Gen Z said they made impulse purchases when holiday shopping.
  • Finder recently reported that Millennials spend an average of 82 dollars a pop on in-person impulse purchases.
  • Forbes found that the average holiday shopper will spend 140.99 dollars on themselves this holiday season.

These aren’t the type of sales numbers you’ll want your business to miss out on, so aim to please when it comes to enticing shoppers to buy from your store. But don’t worry if you’re feeling a little tapped on the impulse marketing strategy front. Just steal the following 5 tactics to put your impulse selling game way ahead of the competition!

Tactic #1: Appeal to their Senses

Holiday customers have a long list of seasonal gifts to buy and a limited amount of time to get them, so they can quickly become oblivious to standard visual advertising. To shake them out of their haze, think along the lines of sensory marketing. This means appealing to their senses, instead of just cluttering up your sales floor with more distracting visuals.

Tickle your customers’ noses by infusing the air with holiday fragrances such as mistletoe, candy cane and pine. In addition, build display cases that invite customers to have a tactile experience by filling your shelves with items they can touch, smell, and/or try on. And don’t forget about taste. This is the perfect season to offer complimentary eggnog, hot chocolate or cider along with some sweet bites such as candy or cookies. Santa isn’t the only one who appreciates cookies this time of year, after all!

Tactic #2: Increase the Perceived Value of Existing Products

The Harvard Business Review reports that your customers’ perception of your prices versus the benefit of a product (its perceived value) is just as important as the price of the product itself. To boost the perception of value in your store, you can use niche tactics which are specific to discounted/marked down products to increase perceived value of your impulse buys. These tactics include using signage with the color red, ending prices in .99, or including a “Compare To” section on price tags.

If your store is more on the upscale side, however, you’ll want to draw attention to the aspects of each product that boost your customer’s perception of its value. This means including alluring details about the product itself — such as highlighting specific ingredients or including information about where and how the product was made.

Tactic #3: Incentivize FOMO with One-Time-Only Promotions 

Selling impulse shopping items is a fast — and festive — business. One-time-only promotions induce consumers into a fear-of-missing-out mentality that pushes them to buy. According to Finder, 55 percent of Millennials made an impulse purchase because they were worried the retailer would run out of stock or that a specific promotion would end – so go ahead and implement a marketing strategy into your holiday sales that delivers a “for a limited time only” message.

Encourage FOMO by notifying your social media followers of in-person only holiday sales. Print up coupons that end with the last days of the holiday season and consider offering one-week-only discounts on your sales receipts. The main takeaway? Make sure your customers know what you’re offering – whether it’s a deal, promotion or event – won’t last forever.

Tactic #4: Give Away “Freebies” to Drive Repeat Sales

Remember the sensory experience from Tactic #1?  While the expense of providing a platter of cookies or a few product samples remains minimal, there are major benefits to giving things away for free. Make no mistake, there is a science to freebies. Just ask Shopify, which reports that free samples can increase sales by up to 2,000 percent.

In addition to offering free, tasteful treats such as hot cider or holiday cookies this holiday season, don’t hold back on free samples, as well. They give customers the opportunity to have a firsthand, tactile experience with your products in the comfort of their own homes.

Tactic #5: Make Room for Research and Reviews

The modern holiday shopper enjoys product details and reviews, so give them something to find when they Google your store by encouraging happy customers to post reviews online. Reviews are made in a variety of places that include Yelp, Facebook and via marketplaces. Make sure your brand is visible among all these outlets

Seasonal shoppers make many of their spending decisions while drunk on sleep deprivation and jingles. So, as a retailer, it’s your job to metaphorically take their hand and lead them to your can’t-miss impulse products. Take the initiative this holiday season to ensure that your customers spend all of their holiday impulse shopping dollars in your store.


Take advantage of ASD Market Week’s 90+ free retail strategy sessions this March 11-14, 2018 in Las Vegas.


By Jasmine Glasheen, RetailMinded.com

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