Imagine standing in line at your favorite store when you spot it out of the corner of your eye: an irresistible display of goodies at the checkout counter. Maybe you see a quirky keychain, a luscious chocolate bar or a quippy magnet. Before you know it, you’ve added it to your purchase without a second thought. We’ve all been there, spending an average of $25 each week on impulse buys.

These little last-minute purchases, triggered by promotional messaging, bring in an estimated $4.2 billion annually for retailers. By 2030, the U.S. point-of-sale market could surpass $13 billion.

Brands that incorporate promo into their POS and gift with purchase strategies can enhance the customer experience, something that’s incredibly important to today’s consumers. In fact, 80% of consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.

When people get a perk like a promotional product when they buy something, it enhances the experience, making them feel like they’re getting more for their money. There’s also a psychological impact to getting a gift with purchase. Receiving a gift triggers positive emotions, which can foster goodwill and a positive association with the brand giving the item.

POS and GWP campaigns also allow brands to personalize their messaging. For example, companies could offer different types of gifts with purchase to loyal customers versus first-time customers. Rather than give everyone the same merch, companies can provide promos that resonate with different groups. Shoppers appreciate the personalization, with 91% saying they are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember and provide relevant offers.

To succeed with POS and GWP marketing, brands need to create a memorable experience right at the point of purchase, whether shoppers are clicking to buy or browsing at brick-and-mortar locations. Consumers are becoming more mindful about their spending habits, with 58% of respondents in a Slickdeals survey saying they would only make a spur-of-the-moment purchase if the item was on sale. This makes it even more important for brands to stand out and make an immediate impact at checkout.

By using promo, companies can tap into the psychology of getting something for free and leverage it to build long-term brand awareness. The customer journey doesn’t end at the checkout counter or payment screen – promotional items leave a lasting impression long after the transaction is done.

Why Do People Buy On A Whim?

Nearly all Americans (84%) have indulged in impulse buying at least once, and 90% of shoppers have made an impulse buy within the last three months.

Studies suggest that stress plays a role in impulse buying, with 67% of shoppers grabbing an unintended item when they’re feeling frazzled. Shoppers are also swayed by in-store displays, with 71% admitting that eye-catching displays prompt them to buy something.

The biggest reason for impulse buying? A good deal. Most impulse buying (88%) happens because of a sales promotion. When brands use promo in their POS strategy, they can capture attention and inspire deal-seekers to reach for their product first.

The Thrill Of The Spontaneous Purchase

When consumers buy something they hadn’t planned to purchase, it’s exciting. One study shows that 50% of women and 47% of men feel excitement when making an impulsive purchase. Companies can kick the experience up a notch by providing promo. Whether they incentivize shoppers to spend more to get a free gift or create a sense of urgency with a flash sale, promo adds to the exhilaration.

Boozy Buying

Some people get a little add-to-cart happy when they’ve had a drink or two. One study shows that 1 in 6 Americans shops while feeling tipsy. Last year, an estimated 45 million people racked up a whopping $14 billion in drunk purchases. The top shopping categories include shoes, clothes and accessories, followed by food.

On average, these drunk shoppers each spent $309 on impulse buys. Men are more likely than women to buy things while drunk, with 26% of men saying they’ve bought something under the influence in the last year, compared to 10% of women.

Whatever shoppers are browsing for, retailers can build on their buzz with limited-time-only promotions. For example, offer a free branded tote if they buy those shoes now or get a free beach towel if they book that getaway today.

Social Media Sways Shoppers

Nearly half of Americans (48%) have made an impulse purchase after seeing an item on social media, with younger consumers the most likely to impulsively spend. For example, 60% of Gen Z (people ages 18 to 26) say they have impulsively bought a product they saw on social medi,a compared to 42% of Gen Xers (people ages 43 to 58).

They’re also spending big on these spur-of-the-moment purchases. The average American spends over $750 on spontaneous purchases. How can brands capitalize on the allure of social media and impulse buying? They can use promo, from showcasing branded merch on social sites to collaborating with influencers to amplify reach.

Earn Customers’ Loyalty With Promo

To keep customers coming back, most retailers know the basics: Deliver a high-quality product and provide good value for the money. Another way to encourage repeat business? Loyalty programs. More than 1 in 4 consumers says they’re loyal to brands that offer loyalty programs and rewards, according to Salsify’s 2024 Consumer Research Report. Promo items given to reward purchases foster brand loyalty and incentivize customers to return.

Campaign Collateral

SnugZ - Lauper Dye-Sublimated Scrunchie

Include the satiny Lauper Dye-Sublimated Scrunchie as a bonus gift with beauty or skincare products. The full-color dye-sublimated process allows for any colors or designs.

SnugZ USA / PPAI 112982, Platinum

Gemline - KEEPCOOL Rio Quilted Expandable Cooler

Reward customers for referring friends and family by giving them the branded KEEPCOOL Rio Quilted Expandable Cooler when their referrals make a purchase. This minimalist tote is designed with an expandable bottom and reverse zippers to boost carrying capacity.

Gemline / PPAI 113948, Platinum

Pro Towels - slip clip beach towel clip

Surf shops and beach vendors can offer the Beach Towel Clip as a gift with purchase when shoppers buy a beach towel or lounge chair. It firmly secures a towel or bag to the back of a chair and keeps your client’s logo visible at the beach, on boats and beyond.

Pro Towels / PPAI 112755, Gold

Starline - Joseph Joseph Milltop Wood Pepper Mill

Entice shoppers at specialty kitchenware stores with the Joseph Joseph Milltop Wood Pepper Mill. Made from natural beech wood, it features an inverted design and a ceramic grinding mechanism, plus laser engraving.

Starline USA / PPAI 112719, Gold

Showdown Displays - UltraFit Curve Table Throw

From new product launches to in-store samples, a table cover like the UltraFit Curve Table Throw makes an impact in POS campaigns. Dye-sublimated artwork stands on the white background, and the two-way stretch fabric gives a clean, form-fitting look.

Showdown Displays / PPAI 254687, Platinum

HPG - Close the Deal Appreciation Kit

Commemorate special purchases with a thoughtful gift like the Close the Deal Appreciation Kit. It includes a box of lemon poppyseed cookies, a customizable wireless speaker, a customizable candle and a personalized notecard tucked inside a washable, branded tote.

HPG / PPAI 110772, Platinum

Spector & Co - Perfect Storm Tritan Tumbler

From juice bars to coffee shops, the Perfect Storm Tritan Tumbler makes a great POS item. This single-wall, impact-resistant, BPA-free tumbler features a leakproof threaded lid, a translucent matte rubberized finish and a Tritan straw.

Spector & Co. / PPAI 168328, Gold

Book Co - Golf Trivia game

Whether golfers are buying clubs, bags or apparel, add the Golf Trivia Game as a gift with purchase. Each branded pack contains 100 golf-themed questions.

The Book Company / PPAI 218850, Silver