Bauer Business Focus

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Jackie Kacen | February 4, 2011

Published on February 3, 2011

UH Bauer marketing professor Jackie Kacen focuses her research on consumer behavior, particularly impulse buying.

On Bauer Business Focus – A conversation on impulse buying with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

You’re making a quick pit stop at the grocery store to get a handful of items you need for tonight’s dinner, but as you make your way to the check-out line, you realize you’ve multiplied your intended purchases by…well, a lot.

Sound familiar?

UH Bauer marketing professor Jackie Kacen specializes in impulse buying and consumer moods, and notes that in certain product categories, impulse buying accounts for almost 80 percent of purchases.

Kacen visited Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss her latest research project, which focuses on “spontaneous selection,” and the factors that contribute to those last-minute items shoppers add to their grocery store carts.

Some shoppers are more prone to impulse buying, Kacen said, because they’re simply more sensitive to what’s going on around them and may make emotional connections to certain products. “Products that have an emotional appeal are more likely to be chosen than things that have a utilitarian purpose,” she added.

Retailers also depend on impulse buys for additional profit and feature displays designed to promote a last-minute selection. “There are displays on front caps, end caps and in unique locations,” Kacen said. “So, you may not be looking for bananas and chocolate syrup in the cookie aisle, but if you put all those things together in a display, you suddenly have an interesting possibility for dessert.”

Kacen’s tip for avoiding impulse buying? “Write a list, and stick to that list,” she said. “Don’t be persuaded by what’s going on in the store.”

Click here for the full interview.

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