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August 9, 2017

How to Fire Up Sales with the Power of Impulse Merchandising

By Robbie Brown

Need more sales . . . a lot more? Then don’t be a passive merchandiser!

Just putting guns on the rack, ammo on shelves and accessories wherever you find the space will produce sales, but not up to the store’s potential.

There are many factors that influence consumers to purchase: need, price, pride of ownership or love of the sport can all motivate. But all these reasons pale in comparison when compared to the power of impulse merchandising.

What is “Impulse Merchandising”?

Impulse merchandising refers to highly effective methods of eliciting consumer purchases. All of this is accomplished through advertising, signage, displays and merchandising techniques that make the consumers want to purchase the items in question. There is a world of difference between sales made because a customer needs something versus sales driven by impulse merchandising. Similarly, retailers can stimulate sales by creating a sense of urgency as regards some merchandise. This is achieved through advertising and merchandising. Messages such as “Three Days Only! “While Quantities Last!” “Limit Two to a Customer!” and “Sale Ends Sunday!” all entice the consumer to make a purchase now versus later. There is also the urgency emotion of lost opportunity if the customer fails to purchase now rather than waiting.

How to Stimulate Impulse Buying


Most consumers have a strong fondness for a genuine bargain. So often we all make purchases not because we truly need the item, but because it’s such a good deal — and no one likes to buy “at full retail.” We all want a deal. Thus, the retailer who offers a recognizable, authentic or perceived bargain coupled with a sense of urgency and complemented with effective signage and presentation will score major sales results.

Visual Appeal

In other cases, just visual appeal can stimulate impulse purchases. Merchandise bulk stacked, placed in major traffic areas, piled high and embellished with good placement, presentation and signage will usually generate incremental sales. Add the component of perceived value, and the sales magic is even greater. Repetitive exposure of the same products at multiple places throughout the store is also an effective sales tool.


A part of impulse merchandising is the convenience factor. Customers will often purchase some high-use product simply because the retailer makes it convenient for them to do so. This is most evident at checkout areas, end caps and other major traffic areas. Such items as batteries, snacks, soft drinks, sun glasses, sun block, magazines, T-shirts, socks, hats and flashlights are all examples of convenient purchases.


Today’s most successful retailers are driving sales through creative product selections, value-driven offerings and the use of messages that suggest that the consumer’s life will be better, easier and more enjoyable if they buy certain merchandise now, while it’s still in stock. If you want to fire up your sales, take a long hard look at how, when and where you merchandise your inventory. Through effective use of product selection, pricing, signage and presentation you can augment your sales of major items along with a full complement of accessory sales. Also, work with your vendors to obtain some promotionally priced goods and point of sale presentation aids. In the end, you must separate your store from the pack and begin to stimulate sales as opposed to generating sales through chance and good luck.

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About the Author

Robbie Brown has an extensive background in retailing, wholesaling, distribution service industries and consulting.  He has been CEO of numerous companies in the shooting sports industry, including several retail chains and distribution companies. Brown consults for businesses of all sizes in both the merchandise and service industries, as well as for a variety of corporations, industry groups and trade associations. He is a frequent round-table moderator and speaker before industry trade shows, conventions and other corporate groups, and he has published more than 300 business-related articles in various trade magazines, delivered hundreds of speeches and served as a business advisor to many CEOs both inside and outside of the firearms industry.

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