It is no secret that impulse purchases take the credit for a big chunk of online sales reports these days. With the vast improvement in marketing tactics and technology, these drive impulse buying from online consumers.
What do impulse buying mean?
Impulse buy means an unplanned purchase made due to several factors such as convenience, ease, and enticement.
It’s one of those evenings when you are chilling on your couch and scrolling on Facebook. A video ad showed up on your feed about a tool being demonstrated. And then you thought, it will make your DIY projects easier. You saw that it was on a limited time sale for $19.99. So you went ahead and bought it. There goes your twenty bucks, just like that!
Who is impulse buying?
Impulse purchases account for billions in e-commerce revenue each year. Most of these are from the younger generations. As a matter of fact, 49% of US impulse buying in 2018 came from the age group of 18-24 years old.
The data presented above plainly suggests that demographics play a role in impulse buying. More study even concluded that there is a significant correlation between demographics and impulse purchases.
The younger generation is more susceptible to impulse buying due to:
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- fewer insights about saving
- fewer commitments
- more attached to technology
What motivates people to make impulse buying?
As an e-commerce business owner, it’s important for you to understand the motivational factors behind impulse purchases. Why do people buy these things that they don’t really need?
People have this delusion that they are better than anybody else by owning something. So, they buy things that they think will make them better than anybody else. Such as buying a branded lipstick even if you have 50 other more in your drawer just because you think it will make you look better than your neighbour who also wears makeup all the time.
A huge deal of impulse purchases is made because “it was on sale”. Discounts entice people to buy right off the bat in fear of missing on the sale price. Free shipping privilege is also one of the triggering factors to drive impulse buying.
One thing that makes people go crazy about buying something they don’t need is because it includes a free item if they buy “right now”.
The simple but powerful reason why people buy is that they live by the saying, “Shop ’til you drop.”
Impulse buying triggers
- Item characteristics
- Product presentation
- Bulimic shopping
- Marketing relevance
How can you activate these triggers?
In order for your customers to stop scrolling and click on your ad, you need to captivate their attention and emotion. How do you do this? By fine-tuning your targeting and creatives.
High ad relevance is a result of good targeting. Paired with good creatives, it puts a lot of weight towards impulse purchases. When you present a product that is highly relevant to the audience, it surely drives them to drop what they’re doing and make the purchase.
Formula: Impulse buying = present the product as a need + alluring creatives + time-sensitive offer.
10 ways to drive impulse buying
Here are the easy but sometimes disregarded strategies that you need to start implementing to drive impulse buying on your online store.
1. Offer product samples AKA trial offer
Not all customers are created equal. Some buy things without a second thought while others need proof. This is why offering samples work like a charm. Have them try a smaller size of the product. However, do not forget to capture their email address as you will be sending a coupon code for them to use once they decide to buy the regular size.
2. Lessen options
Too many options for a single product can make a customer pause and think to choose. That isn’t what we aim to drive impulse buying. By offering “straight-to-the-point” options, there’s less risk of a customer being overwhelmed and clicking away from your website.
3. Draw customer’s attention
There’s a couple of things that you can do to capture a customer’s attention on the product that you like them to buy.
- Place a banner with contrasting colors at the top of your website.
- If possible, include a timer of the offer on the banner.
- Include a “call to action” button such as “Grab Now”.
- Set the colour of the discounted price on the product page to a common “discount colour”. (Ex: green, red, yellow)
Tip: If you are on Shopify, Smart Bar is awesome for scheduling promotions.
4. Guide them with a path
When we hear of a funnel, it may sound as intimidating especially for newbies in the e-commerce world. I believe that this has been caused by many gurus exaggerating funnel systems. On top of that, funnelling software and platforms are on the pricey side. Which makes people think, “WTH? Is it really worth it?”
I say, forget about those fancy funnels for now. You can create your own version by just understanding how funnelling works. Basically, it means creating a path for your customers to follow which will eventually lead them to buy your offer.
Let’s put it this way.
Like horse owners, they put blinkers on the horses’ eyes to prevent them from seeing the rear or sides. It makes them focus on what’s in front of them.
Funnels work the same way with horse’s blinders/blinkers. You want your customers to focus on the offer and prevent them from possible distractions, so you will set up a guide for them to follow.
Here’s a simple graphic:
Tip: Do not underestimate the power of “Call-to-action” links and buttons.
5. Put the “impulse buy” products on the homepage
One of the main components of impulse buying is the price point. Nobody would buy impulsively on a product that costs $1,000. Unless you are Bill Gates’ son, you would probably need therapy if you buy a $1000 item impulsively.
What does that mean to you as the store owner? Place the average price items (less than $30) in front of your store so people will see them right away. Additionally, do not forget to include a call to action button that links to the product page.
6. Recommend low-priced items within best-sellers
There are certainly a product or products in your store that people need. These best-seller products are a good avenue for your other “impulse buy” products to be recommended.
It can easily be done by creating a collection of these products and link them as “related” or “frequently bought together” products under your best-seller product description.
7. Upsell lower-priced items
Upselling and bundling items together is one way to drive impulse buying. It also increases your average order value. When you upsell a discounted item that compliments the other, customers feel the need to grab the opportunity rather than buying it alone at a higher price.
8. Optimize your website
Even if your campaign and advertisement are tempting and your click-through-rate is up through the roof but your website sucks, nobody will buy your offer.
Signs that your website sucks:
- really slow load speed (check it here with Google)
- not mobile-optimized (sign up with Google Search Console to verify mobile usability)
- colour scheme hurts people’s eyes (see this guide)
- full of pop-ups and all the other annoying things
- looks very spammy (compare your website with a professional one)
- poor quality of images
- prices do not match the value of the product (unless you are Tiffany and Co, don’t do this)
9. Time limit
Phrases like “Flash Sale”, “Today Only”, “Until Tomorrow Only” creates a panic mode to your customers, hence drive impulse buying effectively.
This strategy works like a charm, however, if overdone does not look good on your brand. Use it sparingly to avoid exhausting your audience and looking like you are desperate for sales.
Related Topic: How To Build A Trustworthy Brand Online?
10. Use emotions
Enforcing emotions in your marketing strategy is one way of driving impulse purchases. By using emotional advantage, customers will develop a sense of needing the product as an attachment to themselves or a life event.
This strategy works better with specific targeting, on a specific product (ex: personalized jewelry for someone who recently lost a pet).
Related Topic: How To Start An Online Jewelry Store
To encourage impulse purchases in your online store, you need to have a game plan. A plan that will utilize two or more of the strategies listed above. Ultimately, drive repeat impulse buying by making your customers’ buying experience as smooth as it can be.
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