Turning Shoppers Into Buyers

Trends That Influence In-Store Buying Decisions

Your primary goal as a marketing leader is to ensure your message reaches the consumer at the most optimal time of influence. Companies that adopt path-to-purchase trends have changed the way customers act in-store. All marketing departments must acknowledge and address them if they want to stay industry-relevant in the long run.

Your marketing team should include creative, well-rounded individuals who have track records of successful, strategic and out-of-the-box campaigns. The following list includes the latest trends and ideas for how you can use them in your marketing strategy.

Permanent Display

This headphone display lets shoppers listen before they buy.

Leverage the Senses

Don’t let your display go unnoticed. Focus on your goals & objectives and create stopping power that distracts shoppers to stop and learn about your product by interacting with it, whether they were intending to purchase or not. The key to sparking interaction is to incorporate the five senses. Use as many of the five senses as you can on your displays. The more a shopper can use his or her sensory system to experience your product, the more likely a purchase will follow. Offer a sample product to hold, feel, smell, move, lift, listen to, or sit on.

Make it fun. According to Packaging Digest, a hip new way to taste Beringer wine before you select a bottle is currently testing in Kroger stores.

As stated by Packaging Digest, wine “taste stations” are located at shelf-level and anyone can grab a tasting strip to sample the flavor (the strips are non-alcoholic.) Additionally, they say Beringer’s goal was to “providing an easy, unobtrusive way to try wines at the point of purchase, Beringer hopes to attract new consumers to the category.”

Temporary Display

This unique display lets shoppers sample the Burt’s Bees product line, reassuring a confident decision to buy.

Display the Product

A part of building on the sensory experience is making your product the star. Instead of only using big words and illustrations, build the product right into the display. If it’s a good product that you’re proud of, it will do all the heavy-lifting when shoppers decide.

Cole & Mason saw the opportunity to encourage action with shoppers with a characteristically hum-drum product. Their salt and pepper grinders recently got a display makeover at Bed, Bath & Beyond stores. The brand launched a brilliant marketing campaign intended to interrupt the shopping experience, and it involves putting the grinders – full of salt and pepper – on the display and encouraging customers to take a “twist drive.” Cole & Mason saw a lift in interaction that resulted in impulse purchases.

In-Store Category Experts

Aside from in-store team members who point customers in the direction of the light bulb aisle, have you ever thought of employing associates whose main duty is to help a customer in a specific category? Target strategically positions “beauty concierges” in its health & beauty aisles who are there to assist (not bombard) shoppers who have questions or need suggestions about what mascara to buy. You will see a lift in sales simply by employing knowledgeable specialists trained to inform and educate shoppers.


A trend in retail environments is a store-within-a-store, or dedicated zones that encourage engagement and drive traffic to the store, in turn driving purchases in the rest of the store.

A store-within-a-store is a portion of the sales floor set apart from the rest, which features dedicated merchant product. Merchants offer product knowledge experts, large branded displays and specific checkout areas.

Best Buy has recently succeeded with this tactic by partnering with Apple, Samsung, Sony and HP, to name a few. It’s a win-win for both parties. Outside brands increase brand exposure and limit operational expenses. And Best Buy profits by doling out dedicated space for these brands using store space in an efficient way.

giftcard station

This gift card station saves guests from making multiple trips.

Improve the Shopping Experience

Shopper Marketing reports on Walgreens’ new sun care installment. It completely changes the game of any sort of shopping when deciding between different brands and different types of the same product. They’ve mixed interaction with information and a stirred in a positive vibe for consumers shopping the category.

In the Shopper Marketing report, Michael Mele, director of new business development at Mechtronics, explains that the reinvented space is meant to change the way people shop, taking a mundane product and connecting it to shoppers emotionally. Strive to make this your goal when designing a display or reinventing a category.

Save Customers’ Time

A final trend includes accommodating consumers’ on-demand needs. Chipotle and Jamba Juice are both brands that use “order-ahead” technology, allowing patrons to place their order digitally and have it prepared for them when they arrive. Great Clips hair salon encourages salon-goers to “check-in” ahead of time so they can sit down in the barber chair immediately. Show your customers you are thoughtful of their time and want to provide the services they need, when they need it. Strawberry banana smoothies to go, no waiting.

Apply the Trends

Take these trending tricks and apply them to your own marketing strategy where it makes sense. Don’t force it. Examine your goals and objectives and know how you want to be seen by your ideal customer. Stay tuned for more trends from Imagine! coming soon.