Disclosure: As a matter of record this post was originally published at Green & White by the same author at integrate.
What are they and how do they sell
Impulse Products category is focused at stimulating the human sense/need of self-indulgence and thus generating a desired action as a result of matching the product with the hedonist need. Such purchase “convulsions” have very little to do with any mental or rationalized decision making process.
Such impulse products are designed to satisfy and over-whelm the “bodily senses” of taste, smell, sound, sight & feel.
1. Taste: Chocolate, all confectionary items, beverages (Placed on cash counter)
2. Smell: Perfumes (Displayed right behind the cash counter)
3. Sound: Music, seductive human voices (Club music)
4. Sight: Decorative items, seductive images (An inviting female on the cover of a magazine)
5. Feel: Super luxury clothing, experiences like hotel suites, massage etc.
Effects of Impulse Marketing on the consumer
The impulse products thus thrive on “defeating” the mental process of “need rationalization”. The hedonistic senses over-whelm the thought process and take over the bodily actions; the results.
Impulse products thus must have a strict “Code of Ethics” regulated by a state run agency. Consumer Protection bodies as well as the civil society itself must demand controlled communication to safeguard the youth against turning into helpless, pathetic, mentally weak, marketing controlled zombies.
Where such products wreak havoc on an individual’s self-control and rational decision making it has monetary and social impacts aswell. Consumers are pushed into spending everytime they enter a store ranging anywhere between PKR. 5-50. The social impacts range from class sensitivity to open expressions of hate/racism/demeaning others.
Trend in Impulse Marketing
The trends are alarming. Atleast 20% of the advertising today is impulse products. Most horrifyingly targeted at the kids and youth segment. The success in selling numbers has encouraged import of the “Impulse Factor” (read the popularly quoted “X Factor”) into not-by-product-design discreet product range. This is visible in the communication in the shape of inviting females, unrealistic lifestyle impacts etc.
A lot of it has to do with activism in Consumer Protection by the brand, the regulators, the civil society reps and the consumer him/herself. Parents have a huge responsibility in training and restraining their kids, controlling their budgets, permitting pocket money at a learned stage, educational campuses regulating such products at the on-campus outlets etc.