Here is an example. I arrived back in Nova Scotia in 1986 with two degrees from well recognized universities and was unable to get a job in my field, teaching, so I started looking around. I applied for a job as marketing manager for the maple syrup producers association of Cumberland County.
I was qualified because of my marketing and sales experience and my education. I went to the interview and when I was asked for my ideas to market this product I started by saying since your product is an impulse buy on the part of the consumer.
Well you would have thought I had farted in the room from the look on everyone's face. I spent the next half hour listening why maple products were a food and not an impulse item.
Long story short, I didn't get the job, but I notice they are now marketing it as an impulse item and are using some of the things I suggested they do.
So what is an impulse item? My marketing courses say it is something that you buy that you would not normally put on a list to buy.
It is something you buy that you did not intend to buy when you went shopping.
An impulse seller has to shove his product into your face and induce you to buy it. That is why impulse items are at eye level, at the end of aisles, or have some other way to get you off the street and into their premises.
If any of you have read my previous columns on our resident craft beer brewery, Triders, in Amherst, I was astounded when they hid themselves in our industrial mall.
Point of fact. I was talking with someone who was telling me about going to Tatamagouche and seeing their craft brewery on the main street.
“I went in,” he said, "I wanted to see how it was brewed," He also stated that he had spent at least $150 visiting some of the novelty shops that were on the same street.
“I had no intention of spending that much money," he said.
That my friends is impulse buying. He went on to say he was staying with a friend in Halifax and decided to bring a house warming gift. He was amazed to discover that Triders beer is being sold in a Nova Scotia liquor store, so he bought a six pack and pointed out to his friend that it was being brewed in his home town.
I was curious now, so I asked, "since you enjoyed your visit to the Tattmagouche brewery, have you visited the Trider Brewery in Amherst, to see how it compared?” He hesitated, then said “truthfully, I have no idea where it is located."
It took me a considerable time to locate this brewery, so I knew where he was coming from. That my friend is how not to sell an impulse product. If I was a shop selling an impulse item, I would be on the phone and trying to encourage that brewery or another of its kind to locate in the downtown. Don't bother trying to tell me that beer is not an impulse item. It is and craft brewers are selling a specialty item making it more of an impulse product.
Walter Jones column appears weekly in the Amherst News