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Chance Encounters

Impulse buyers are a boon to business. Find out who they are and how to reel them in.

This story appears in the February 2004 issue of Start Up.

The enlarged pupils, eager smile, hand practically thrustingcash into yours-if only it were this easy to spot impulsive buyers.Nothing's sweeter than watching potential customers make abeeline toward your display; it's even more heavenly when theyquickly and almost effortlessly opt to buy. Kiosks, more than anyother type of retail business, benefit from impulse shoppers. Howcan you attract them?

The first thing a start-up entrepreneur should know is whatitems make the best impulse buys. These are items "that peoplecan see being usable in their lives," says Jeffrey Stamp,co-author of Meaningful Marketing (Brain Brew Books),and vice president of R&D at Eureka! Ranch, aninnovation think tank in Cincinnati. For example, personalizeditems are typically a good choice as a last-minute impulse purchasein the mind of the consumer.

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