Most Product Purchases Aren’t Impulsive, So Why Sell Them That Way?

Considered purchase

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I walked into a store in California last year, and what seemed like thousands of mason jar candles were stacked on a glass fixture from the '80s.

It was right next to the register.

I could see the logic of putting the display there. Candles are impulse items. We probably don’t have to talk much about them. They could be grab-and-go items that increase sales.

The flaw in this thinking was the price point. These were $24.95.

That is not an impulse item.

Even though it is a small product, the price point made it a considered purchase and demonstrated what I want to draw a distinction for you about today in this post.
A considered purchase makes the customer stop and ask themself questions:

  • Is this a good value?
  • Do I really need this?
  • How does it work?
  • What happens if I get it home and it isn’t right?
  • Will this last?

Flooring, automobiles, window fashions, and furniture are obvious examples of considered purchases. These are all large purchases that people have to think about not only before going to the store but also incorporating new information they will receive in the store before they buy.

So, what made these candles a considered purchase?

Right off a casual glance, the merchandising said commodity. Once you saw the price tag, you had questions. What is the scent? What are they made of? What am I getting for $25? What are the differences between these items?

A customer who has questions doesn’t buy…they move on. This is why there were so many candles left sitting on the shelf.

Now if those candles had a sign that said, “$6.95 - Perfect for that brief blackout after a storm. Get several for peace of mind,” the customer knows what they are getting, the use for the product, and can see the benefits of the purchase in their mind’s eye. They didn’t have to think about it.

The purchase was a no-brainer, and it was easy for the customer, who hadn’t even considered candles, to grab the impulse buy just in case.

Let’s say you decide you want to be in the candle business.

Well, your merchandising has to reflect that premium pricing of $24.95. You have to ensure the buyer knows what scents are available. You must ensure it doesn’t look like a sea of products no one wants. You probably could have one lit so people are drawn to the scent (but that can open another challenge).

Let’s say you give your employees all the product knowledge you can about these candles. They are made from soy. They are sourced from non-GMO beans. The glass is made from recycled refuse. The packaging is entirely recyclable. You can bring them back when they are spent and get a discount on a new one.

So now you have an employee who goes over to someone looking at the candles and shares some of these facts because you made candles top of mind for that employee.

Here’s the thing...

When it comes to training, the difference between a considered purchase and an impulse purchase is nil. It can take the same amount of work to train your crew to sell a $24.95 candle as it does your $2,495 flooring.

What does that time spent training a salesperson on selling the candle get you? Could your training time be invested for a greater ROI, like selling the flooring?

Of course, it could. But here’s where this goes off the tracks.

Many employees sell the considered purchase like it were an impulse.

It’s on sale for 30% off!

If you have any questions, let me know.

You get the idea.

A considered purchase takes more time.

You need to understand why that customer is shopping with you today.

What is going on in their lives to make them come to your store and give you a chance to show and sell them something?

Where else have they been? What else have they tried? What would the best outcome be if they purchased something today?

The considered purchase requires more advanced training to engage the shopper, understand their aspirations, and respect their days or weeks of thinking about, researching, and planning.

The considered purchase requires a different mindset; the features are not obvious, and the benefits are even less.

The considered purchase happens with an engaged associate, one who ideally uses the product – think an associate at a golf store who not only plays but outfits the best at the local course – and can impart to the customer positive emotions from their connection because they understand crossing over the line to better products.

That associate can relate to and give confidence to the shopper to make that purchase.

Considered purchases are more risky for consumers, as something they don’t know could lead them to buy the wrong item. But they also hold more risk for retailers because if the salesperson doesn’t understand how to proceed with a considered purchase, they will likely let it slip out of their hands.

Get your money’s worth from your time. Train your salespeople in a presentation process that understands and can sell your best merchandise as the considered purchases they are.

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