By Taylor Smithfield
You know the drill. You’re only supposed to grab a gallon of milk, a pack of toilet paper and a jar of salsa from the grocery store. You mentally map out the quickest route to these items to avoid backtracking, but the second you walk into the store your senses are bombarded. Beckoning displays, colorful signs and tempting smells immediately join forces to subvert your mission. “Milk, toilet paper, salsa. Milk, toilet paper, salsa,” you chant under your breath marching down an aisle.
Naturally, the merchandising gods love to place milk, one of the most common purchases, at the back of the grocery store in order to test your fortitude. You white-knuckle your shopping cart into the dairy section only to remember you’re also out of sour cream, eggs and the special coconut-soy-almond-hazelnut-GMO-free milk your wife loves. Into the cart they go.
Limping out of the store, back to safety, you feel like waving the white plastic bag of defeat, once again. While this experience may be rough on your wallet and your pride, the mega-chain grocery giant fully appreciates your predictability. (After all, no one forced you to grab that box of frozen taquitos, and you do like frozen taquitos.)
If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you’re familiar with the psychology behind the impulse buy. While many retailers have been struggling to keep up with the e-commerce push, they’ll find comfort in knowing impulse buying is still most common in physical stores. In fact, a CreditCards.com poll revealed 79 percent of shoppers give into the occasional spontaneous purchase in-store rather than online.
Because you have more control over the customer’s experience in-store (layout, line-of-sight, end-caps, point-of-sale displays, bargain bins, etc.), you have more sway over their purchase habits. Not to mention, grabbing a physical product within arms’ reach satisfies their need for immediate gratification (and the inner voice encouraging them to treat themselves). This is one area the internet has nothing on your brick-and-mortar!
Impulse buying is just one aspect of shopping psychology, however, as there are many ways to create an engaging and appealing in-store experience. Your gun store layout should naturally accommodate the majority of your buyers’ preferences but also be fluid enough to adjust as you see fit, so you’re never locked in to anything hurting your sales.
Straight From The Source
Online gun enthusiast forums can be a great source of knowledge, if you’re willing to read through several threads of conversation. Gun owners are passionate about their shopping experience, and are willing to drive greater distances for better experiences. Here is a collection of their top and most common preferences.
When asked about the most important aspects of their shopping experience, many commented on a gun store’s atmosphere.
While it’s difficult to strike a balance between accessibility and security, many commenters expressed their desire for fewer barriers between them and the product.
Unsurprisingly, inspired by the guntry club phenomenon of late (and general trends to turn retail spaces into “experiences”) customers agreed they’d like to be more social while shopping.
Naturally, there was plenty of humor to go around.
If you’d like to learn how to improve your customer’s experience, it might be time to set out a comment box (with an incentive such as a raffle or a coupon). Since customers are often in a hurry, you can invite them to message you at a later time on Facebook or via email. Regularly monitor your online reviews and think about getting involved on a forum where you can anonymously poll gun owners. And remember: your brick-and-mortar has some advantages over e-commerce, so capitalize on them!