Paying for the Purchase

Factors influencing impulse purchases:

The rather limited amount of research on unplanned purchases indicates that there are several product, marketing and consumer characteristics which appear to be related to the process. Product characteristics that may influence greater impulse purchasing are those low in price, for which there is a marginal need, having short product life, small in size or light in weight and easy to store.

Marketing factors influencing impulse purchasing includes mass distribution in self service outlets with mass advertising and point of sale, materials and prominent display position, and store location. Few consumers demographic or socioeconomic characteristics have been shown to be related to the rate of impulse buying. However, the percentage of unplanned supermarket purchases appears to increase with (1) size of the grocery bills (2) number of products purchased , (3) major shopping list and (6) number of years married. Among department store shoppers age and race may influence the amount of impulse purchasing.

Marketing implications:

The unplanned nature of much purchasing behavior today places a greater burden on manufacturers and retailers . The extent to which a shopper buys on impulse and without written lists puts a strong emphasis on the various kinds of in-store merchandising and personal selling stimuli which the marketer may use.

Managers of retail outlets need to carefully understand the types and extent of occurrence of impulse purchases in order to better plan store layout, merchandise and display location and allocation and so on. Manufacturers also could benefit from an improved understanding of impulse purchasing by determining how much in-store product information may be necessary to provide on or with their products.

A national survey of consumers’ reports that cash and personal checks are the most widely used methods of payment regardless of the type or cost of items or the place of business. Although cash and checks predominate, our society is increasingly run on credit. The consumer’s access to numerous credit avenues such as the American Express Card Visa, and oil company and department store credit cards means that for a vast number of purchases , especially expensive durables a major decision involves the nature of payment to be used in the purchase. Such payment decisions may be very simple , reflexive decisions in which the consumer may instinctively pay cash or reach for her American Express card, for example. Other decisions to use credit may be classified as extended problem solving . For instance a consumer may shop around for the most favorable credit terms, thus considering numerous alternatives. Brand decisions may be strongly influenced on the basis of available financing. For example some auto companies have recently offered multiyear , low rate financing on their new cars in order to help shift buyers to their brands .

Marketing Implications

Marketers clearly must make the arrangements of payment as easy as possible Retailers have moved to ease the payment decision in numerous ways. For instance, making store checkouts easier facilitates the consumer’s payment process. The use of electronic scanners at the point of checkout combined with compatible credit cards should also make the payment decision process easier and quicker. Moreover, retailers generally offer numerous payment alternatives in order to meet consumers’ needs.

Banks have also joined the move to facilitate purchase payment decisions. Not only are numerous bank cards and loan plans available, but even after regular banking hours, electronic funds transfers may be effected in order to obtain the necessary credit or cash with which to pay for purchase. Because consumers from different social classes use bank credit cards for different purposes (upper classes use them for convenience while lower classes use them as installment credit) it may be helpful to incorporate appeals appropriate for each group in a bank’s or retailer’s advertising of its credit plans .Certainly retailers and financial institutions need to research their chosen, market segments to determine their desired financial alternatives, and if possible to offer and promote these alternatives.

Excerpts from Consumer Behavior