Rousing recklessness - identifying ways to induce and manage impulse behavior in a thriving but traditional retail environment

Sangeeta Gupta, Ashok Nair and Anjali Puri
ACNielsen, India

Sucheta Govil
Frito-Lay, India


Impulse – the Paradox in Attempting to Predict and Manipulate it

As consumer, as retailer/marketer, and of course as that avid observer of consumer behavior – as researchers, we have seen impulse purchase happen often; consumers tell us again and again how they simply bought something (shoes, chips, a mobile handset, a footstool!) on a simple 'whim'!

While we may be familiar with the characteristics of impulse purchasing, what 'drives' impulse purchase and how can savvy marketers exploit this understanding? This paper studies the types of impulse behaviors that typically occur, and attempts to link them with the likely causes and triggers. This is an oft-explored subject; but the market we study here is India – a complex dynamo comprising over six million mom-and-pop stores, where only 4% of all products (FMCG) are sold via what is politely termed modern format stores. The objective is to yield actions to enable marketers to monitor retailing experiences in the traditional retail environment to catalyze such purchases. Shoppers across categories have been studied, with a special focus on the ready to eat category given the high degree of success enjoyed by Frito-Lay due to real innovation in this area.