For retailers, impulse buys occupy a uniquely profitable place in the product mix. These items are things customers certainly had no idea they were going to purchase – in fact, they may have not even known that the impulse buy item even existed – but as soon as they saw it, they had to have it. This obviously has a positive impact on the retailer’s bottom line, and some stores have built their entire brand’s appeal with the richness of their impulse buy selections.
Technology has put the impulse buy in peril. The first reason is probably something you’ve seen yourself. Customers look at their phone as they’re moving through your store. This means they simply don’t see the impulse buy items you have on offer: their attention is on Facebook or Snapchat or Instagram instead. Impulse buy items that aren’t seen are impulse items that don’t get purchased.
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The newest challenge to impulse buys is the way people shop online. As your customers take advantage of ecommerce opportunities, their shopping experience has been streamlined. They know they want a blue sweater, for example, and so visit your website, order the sweater and leave – without ever once being exposed to the adorable yellow purse they would have seen and fallen in love with had they shopped for that same sweater in person.
Technology eventually develops a solution for every problem it creates. Here are some tools you can use to put those impulse buy items back in front of your customers:
Suggested Product Algorithms:
While recommendation engines often show products based on purchasing patterns of the customer base as a whole, they can be tweaked to include items that provoke the impulse buy response.
Deal of the Day:
Spotlight items you’d like to see move as impulse purchases as a Deal of the Day. Make sure you have prominent links to your Deal of the Day on your homepage as well as on product pages and shopping cart pages.
Instagram and Pinterest are powerful tools for spurring impulse buys. Make sure you’re including these items strategically in your content calendar – remember, people won’t buy what they never see.
Just once, try sending out an eblast populated entirely with fun impulse buy items. Track open rates as well as conversions. Retailers we’ve used this strategy with have had such great results they’ve run the campaign repeatedly: just make sure not to use it too often, otherwise the novelty is gone.