Lauren Wagner, supervisor, category management for Do it Best, has a simple definition for the term “impulse item:” “something you don’t know you need until you see it.”
Falling into this category is a wide variety of products, most of them relatively small, in expensive and easy to throw in with an order at the checkout counter. Examples include super glue, painter’s tape, night light bulbs—even ice cream—items that can be marketed on counter displays, dump bins, endcaps and clip strips. Major hardware co-ops and wholesalers have stepped up their impulse item programs in recent years, trying to capitalize on these last-minute sales.
“We’re really trying to bring the point across to members that this is an area they need to focus on,” Wagner said. “The margins are good—50 percent or better on clip strips—and there’s quite a good turnover rate.”
Do it Best also offers “Problem Solver” planograms for each of the four seasons, including garden gloves and glass cleaner for spring; bleach pens and mosquito repellent for summer; chore gloves and lawn and leaf bags for fall; and extension cords and storm window kits for winter. The co-op also put together a series of planograms that represent the co-op’s best $1 programs, including “best of” hand tools, “best of” paint accessories and “best of” winter car care. Do it Best encourages members to market these not only as $1 items but as “10 for $10.”
“Like one sees in the grocery industry, this multiple price point really does encourage shoppers to buy in multiples of 10,” Wagner said.
Orgill also recently “reenergized” its impulse item program, according to Brett Hammers, vp-marketing. The product catalog contains more than 500 skus of clip strip, dump bin and endcap merchandise and bucket displays to help the store capture impulse sales at the product display and the point of purchase.
“We’re selling water, Gatorade, candy and other products, and we’ve expanded the program to include several drop-ship programs,” Hammers said at the company’s fall market in Chicago last month. “The nice thing is you can get in to it easily. It’s more driven by customer demand than anything.”
True Value offers more than 200 planograms with more than 800 impulse items under its Visual Merchandising program, including batteries, candy, magazines, light bulbs, tape and flashlights. According to Rick Su