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Chance Encounters

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

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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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