Impulse Buying and Effective Advertising

Pmladmin Published on April 05, 2023

“If you can’t stop thinking about it, buy it!”

Warren Buffet

Any unplanned purchase is considered an act of impulsive buying. Most customers end up making a purchase based on their irrational thinking or actual intent of buying after entering supermarkets, grocery stores, malls, boutiques, and the like. It happens when a customer does a last-minute shopping far from anything on their list.  

What is an example of impulse buying?

Impulse buying is exactly walking through a shopping center to visit one store. Still, another store catches your attention because of its eye-catching displays and promos simply because it’s your favorite market. 

The most common impulse purchases are books, toys, food, drinks, dresses, shirts, vehicles, technologies, shoes, and household items. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, the most impulse expenses are hand sanitizers, hand soaps, dish detergents, cleaning supplies, toilet papers, video game consoles, headphones, books, shoes, school supplies, and any treatment you’ve had your eye on for a while. 

Since online shops are a trend nowadays, adding something to your online cart without having second thoughts about it is an impulsive buying too. 

Psychology of Impulsive Buying

Have you ever had the feeling of carrying out something you shouldn’t, but you can’t help yourself? 

It appears after a shopping experience, and you are urged to buy, which is usually spontaneous without hesitation. Assume impulse buying as the power of temptation. It is a hurried and immediate product acquisition without any pre-shopping purpose. What can be the scientific explanation behind it? 

  • Self-control

Our ability to override our one’s thoughts, emotions, or automatic behaviors and not act on them is called Self-control. There are three significant elements of self-control: a clear shopping goal in mind, tracking behavior and spending through a monitored process, and self-regulatory resources and energy to control one’s behavior.

Impulse buying is a battle between desire and self-control. People resist impulses that tempt them to do stuff like going back to sleep, eating snack foods and impulse buying.

  • Past Experiences

You may believe that buying a pair of shoes will provide emotional gratification and reduce your sad feelings. Norms also play a role in the psychology of impulse buying. Arousal reflects a specific goal and motives, which are the internal sources of impulse buying. 

  • Emotions

The shopper’s emotional state is one of the most significant factors that trigger impulse buying. Facial expressions and feelings like anger, fear, delight, excitement, and other emotions show positive and negative effects on a person’s buying behavior. Pleasure and joy are the endpoints of making impulsive purchases through happiness. Also, shoppers vent their negative feelings of fatigue, upset, and stress by paying for their unintended items. 

What are the several perspectives on Impulsive Buying? 

Impulse buying has been studied from several perspectives, which are the Cognitive currents from the Theory of Social Judgment, Rational Processes, Persuasive Communication, and Emotional Resources. Marketers try to take advantage of these behaviors to gain potential customers and boost sales. Impulsive behavior is triggered by an irresistible force to buy and an inability to evaluate its consequences, despite being aware of the adverse effects of buying.

What Drives Impulse Shoppers?

Increase sales with impulse purchases. The more shoppers enjoy their experience in your store, the more positive feelings they have toward impulse buying. A well-decorated, pleasant, and ambient store, along with attractive surroundings and background music, can keep shoppers around and buy more with less effort. As you can see, taking advantage of impulse sales is critical for a retailer.

Create innovation and increase sales by choosing the right strategy for your store. You can excite your customers and make them remember with these few ideas. These are the advertising tricks that trigger Impulse Buying:

Instant gratification

Instantaneous gratification is the attraction and the resulting preference for a future advantage that acquires a small reward but better immediate help.

The best example of instant gratification is hitting the snooze button and instantly gratifying themselves with nine minutes of not having to get up. Doing so can make you very tolerant of addictions, enviousness, anger, and impulsive behavior that can lead to increased pressure, stress, and overwhelm. 

Why are people so into instant gratification?

Humans always want things now rather than later—self-denial results in psychological discomfort. Gratification is the satisfying emotional response of happiness as a response preventing the completion of social needs such as cooperation, socializing, social acceptance, and mutual praise. Shopping suggests a blow of dopamine that shoppers dream of for instant gratification. It carries a sensation that vendors take advantage of in their accounts that motivates people to believe.

When you see something you must have, the rational part of your brain attempts to justify it–this is because your brain struggles between short-term rewards and long-term goals. 

Product placement

Embedded marketing is another term for product placement, and it is a modern merchandising technique for brands to reach their target audiences without using traditional advertising. Display impulse products near high-demand items and placing lower-priced impulse buys near checkout is a great product placement strategy.

Why does Product placement matter, and How to achieve it? 

Large brands can pay large sums of money for their brand to be placed in movies. The product placement cost can be high, but the payout can be even higher for the brand. How does product placement work? Doing product placement can boost brand recognition and increase profits. This method is presented in a way that will generate positive feelings toward the advertised brand. Digital editing technology has been utilized to introduce and change product placements in post-production. Enabling the audience to develop a stronger connection with the brand more naturally is effective compared to marketing it directly. 

A brand appearing in movies, TV shows, or other performances is paid for that privilege by the advertiser. The curvy glass of the Coca-Cola bottle does not show any label or logo, but it has the features of the product's distinctive color and packaging. This can be another subtle tactic to use. Selling the advertisers the entire storyline and using post-production technology is the better usage of product placements. 

  • Block Placement 

Product placement can also apply to actual retail shop space, not just too subtle posts in media. It includes placing related products close to each other. Arranging pens and pencils near notebooks will increase shoppers' possibility of buying the other products too. Big and known corporate brands will pay top dollar for large displays, space adjacent to the register, or a place at eye level on the shelves. Peak space on the retail floor and shelves enormously improves the probability that consumers will select their product over an identical item that isn't at eye level. 

  • Vertical placement

Vertical positioning is where you concentrate on a respective classification or kind of business that involves exhibiting items in a vertical display. You can position popular products closer to the shopper’s line of sight to draw them in. The Vertical placement lets shoppers scan commodities from top to bottom and explore the display.

  • Commercial placement

Product placement is a form of advertisement in which branded goods and services are featured in a presentation that targets a big audience. It directs to giving higher-value products a good shelf position than lower-value products.

Successful Deal-Hunting 

What about saving money in the long run? Some customers would instead take advantage of a deal than pay the total price. It doesn’t always mean spending an entire paycheck on fancy possessions. Consumers are cost conscious, which is why promotions tend to impact sales. The feeling of winning a shopping sale is far from the sense of addiction to alcohol, drugs, or even food. A great product is not enough to get consumers to drive a lot of sales. 

By using sales, business owners can create the right mood to incentivize consumers. Whether people realize it or not, there is a fact that sales and discounts increase sales by making the customer feel smart. You are “smart" when you can find the best deals. 

Each year, a retailer also offers two semi-annual sales. 

Bundling encourages people to buy at a lower price before inventory runs out.

The nature of Physical Stimuli

William Feather pointed out, “A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it.” In perceptual psychology, stimuli can trigger a physical or behavioral change that is registered by the senses and constitutes the basis for perception. 

Retail signage, ambiance, marketing activities, and window displays influence consumer behavior are the external factors driving impulse buys as physical stimuli. 

  • Create a path for customers to follow

What’s the overall atmosphere of your store? A pleasant atmosphere can stimulate consumers to shop around and do random shopping. Increased levels of optimistic sentiments lead to increased ranks of impulse buying.

  • In-store Music

Background music shows that the volume of the theme and the existence of aroma both have a notable impact on shoppers' sentiments and fulfillment levels. Studies reveal that a delicate background tune delays the shopping pace of buyers, making them spend more time in your shop to buy additional products. It provides a pleasant and exciting shopping ambiance. 

  • Use the right Language

Salespeople should communicate and offer product samples or demos.

Guidance and a pleasant shopping experience stimulate consumer spending. The typical method retailers use informing customers about how pleased other clients are with their acquisitions. They can also disclose information about the scarcity of a product, propose free samples or tests, and give money-back guarantees to motivate impulse buying. 


Please don't buy anything with a rebate unless you are willing to pay the total price for it and want that exact item. Refunds have many hidden terms and conditions that may mean you never get the discount. It is a potential retroactive discount that the seller has your money for the time you are waiting for. 

Claiming a rebate may be time-consuming. It needs a completed online or mail-in process and personal information you would rather not disclose. But before you collect your discount, it may require you to spend even more money and demand a lot of time and effort. 

Time Limits and Discounts on Bundles

Buy One, Get One!

50% Off On All Items!

Buy One, Get the Second Free! 

Buy and Earn Loyalty.


These are the most common promos and discounts you might see when shopping. Do you need the item? Are there any other options available? Promotions motivate shoppers to tour around your shop and encourage sales. It is done without harming the revenues or your basket values. Free stuff is an efficient motivator. You can consider making conditional offers to your advantage. The most traditional tip is to find products with higher margins in your requests to come out profitable. 

What are the online and offline comparative and the impact of social media on impulse buying behavior? 

Clothing, shoes, accessories, and other items in the fashion industry gained significant influence on social media. Exploring different social networks may affect an individual's behavior, particularly their buying behavior. These sites share a broad spectrum of moods and experiences that evaluate consumable services and products. 

This behavior leads consumers to share pictures of their purchases and offer recommendations to influence others. These actions can furthermore stimulate unplanned and impulse buying. Suggestions and opinions help build a favorable brand image and affect buying behaviors, encouraging impulse buying. After witnessing potential from social networking sites, the customer will research whether they will buy it at a physical store or online. Then, the customers will use the information from social media to have ideas that can be turned into purchase actions. 

Previous research added to this conclusion that recommendations and photographs with purchases posted on social media are the most influential factor in consumer behavior. Therefore, social media inspires purchases, and using it as a platform represents an external stimulus that motivates impulse buying. 

Do you think you are spending less? Well, these are the real cheat because you are spending more. Decide what items you need and if you need them. The discounted price must not be a little saving compared to the hassle of buying multiples.

Keep reading

More posts from our blog