Capturing the Impulse Buyer – Keys to Creative Checkout Displays

If you’re not making the most of your checkout displays, you’re not harnessing the power of the impulsive buyer—and you’re sacrificing a lot of profit as a result. If you don’t believe us, examine these figures. According to CNBC:

  • The average U.S. consumer spends roughly $5,400 a year on impulse buys and unplanned purchases.
  • A survey of 2,000 consumers shows that they make at least three impulse purchases a week.
  • The top five areas of impulse purchases are: food (which represents around 71 percent of impulse purchasing), clothing, takeout and shoes.
  • Impulse purchases average around $450 a month.

The science behind impulse buying

Impulse buying is hard-wired in our brains. There are several reasons shoppers find it difficult to resist a good deal, especially when it’s presented as a creative checkout display. Psychologists believe the science behind impulse buying centers on these principles:

  • The love of shopping
  • Loss aversion (“I might feel bad if I miss out on this deal or if the product is unavailable when I want it.”)
  • Rules of thumb (Believing that buying in bulk and “three for the price of two” deals are always great bargain, even if they actually aren’t.)
  • Free extras (Getting something for free if you purchase an item always seems like a good idea.)

How can you leverage this consumer psychology to your advantage? One way is through an engaging, imaginative, customized POP display.

Three keys to creative checkout displays that will capture the impulse buyer

1. Use stair step designs to draw the consumer’s eye upward to the product.

These designs give the impression of motion and provide the perfect opportunity to showcase different varieties, flavors or colors of your product. For example, we created this display for Quest gum. Notice how the staggered layers of different colors gradually draw your eye to the top of the display and naturally move your train of thought to the price. Visually, we placed the orange and blue complementary colors together to provide both clarity and contrast.

creative checkout display units

2. Bend the laws of physics.

Well, of course you can’t break the laws of physics, but you can create an optical illusion. Imagine a paint bucket that seems to hover in midair while the paint “spills” onto your display. Our eyes are naturally drawn to something that appears unusual or extraordinary, and this can help ensure your product gets more than a passing glance.

3. Use strong geometric lines that complement the shape and style of your product.

We used a long, narrow, slightly waved shape to grab attention in this piece we did for Lenox Power Arc. The shape of the display mimics the name of the product and emphasizes its thin, silvery shape. Notice how the shape draws your attention to the “up to 2x life” wording.

creative counter top display units

Need some ideas? We’ve got you covered

A successful countertop display is more than a slogan or a statement—it has to appeal to the psychology behind those last-minute impulse buys. Our team has worked with thousands of business to help them build on their brand, producing measurable results. This dedication to professionalism and creativity has made us the leading expert in not only creating displays, but finding the most economical way to make and ship them.

So whether you have a specific vision or just a vague idea you scribbled on a napkin, let us take your concept to completion to enhance both your product and your bottom line.


Since 1977, McIntyre Manufacturing Group has created custom-designed displays with an uncompromised dedication to customer service. We utilize the latest technology and attention to detail to create the finest products with excellent craftsmanship. If you can dream it, we can create it. Contact us to see how we can bring your vision to life.