Clientbook Blog
May 30, 2024

Should retailers encourage impulse buying?

You see an item in a store or online retail website, fall in love, and need to buy it right away. People who love to shop understand the power of impulsive purchases. They undoubtedly have a long list of favorite unplanned purchases, and maybe some they regretted after the fact.

As a retailer, you know that every impulse purchase can play a huge role in making more sales and boosting customer satisfaction. However, not every quick decision leads to pure bliss. There is a risk that comes with encouraging these types of in-store or online purchases. Learning to balance the good and bad can lead to even more lucrative results over time.

In this article, we'll cover what impulse spending is, what motivates impulsive behavior, and how retailers with physical stores can capitalize on consumers' urgent desires for a positive influence on both sales and creating exciting experiences customers just can't miss.  

What is impulse buying?

The simplest definition of this shopping phenomenon involves spontaneous buying of products or services without prior planning or consideration. A shopper sees something, wants it, and buys it without giving it much thought. Consumer psychology fuels impulse buying tendencies.

Impulse buying affects people at all levels of income and throughout diverse demographics. People with higher levels of disposable funding tend to give into impulses more easily. For luxury brand retailers, this can add up to more sales and profit. However, it's important to understand that things can backfire.

Should companies encourage impulse buys? A huge part of answering this question is first understanding why shoppers do it in the first place. What are they looking for?

Why do consumers impulse buy?

The majority of retail product impulse buys are the result of emotional desire-based factors. They include situational stimuli that promote a positive psychological outcome. There’s a good reason why many people engage in retail therapy.

Let's go over a few common drivers of impulsive spending.

Instant gratification

A large part of impulse buying deals with the brain’s natural dopamine response. A shopper scores a great deal or purchases a quality item, and they feel happy. Instant gratification fuels excitement, pleasure, or stress relief depending on the individual and the product they buy. This can either be an individual’s desires or a response to a clever bit of marketing. In physical stores, they may get a rush from spotting the perfect item in a window display or scoring the best deal—a gratifying feeling shoppers want to repeat again and again.

Perceived value

The ideas of scarcity and urgency when it comes to purchasing anything from jewelry to new furniture can also lead directly to impulse buys. These are qualities that retailers can introduce into their marketing campaigns in order to encourage faster sales. Even luxury product buyers enjoy getting a good deal. Acting quickly gives them a sense of winning or satisfaction at making a smart choice.

Social influence 

Trends and product popularity fuel impulse buying in a big way. A shopper learns about a quality item on social media or through a recommendation from a trusted friend, influencer, or brand advocate, and they want to buy the same thing. FOMO, or the fear of missing out, creates these trends. And following them often contributes to an individual's perceived social worth. Others prefer to become trendsetters themselves and want to snatch up a great item before others learn about it.

A large part of today’s impulse buying habits stem from the amazing convenience of online shopping. It takes a lot less effort to make a purchase these days. This simple fact can boost an ecommerce shop’s success, but also contributes to the disadvantages that may come with impulsive shopping.

Effective ways to encourage more fast sales

When you understand what consumers get from impulse buying behavior, it becomes much easier to encourage it responsibly. Leveraging the psychology and cultural factors behind the practice includes optimizing the customer experience in a variety of ways, making great offers, and boosting social influence. 

Let's dig into each one in more detail.

Creating urgency through scarcity

Limited time offers are your best bet for triggering this psychological factor when it comes to impulse buys. Send out SMS or email notifications to the opt-in list about time-sensitive offers and sales. “Act Now!” is a powerful motivator for people who don't like to be left out of the loop and those who value trends. Clearly communicate the details and the final date when the sale ends.

These types of marketing strategies also give you a wealth of data about shoppers’ browsing and buying practices. With the help of Clientbook’s predictive AI tool, you can use this information to fuel future successful campaigns.

Personalized recommendations: Cross and upselling

If a customer buys a pair of diamond earrings, they may want a necklace to wear with them. Cross-selling is the practice of pushing a similar or lower priced product toward buyers who already expressed interest in that type of merchandise. Someone who buys a couch would appreciate a great deal on a matching chair or decorator accessories.

Upselling boosts profits more. This involves pushing a higher-priced product that provides additional value or emotional satisfaction. If a customer buys a shirt rated highly by their favorite influencer, it's the perfect opportunity to suggest a dress or coat worn by another.

Power up social proof and influence

Every ecommerce brand owner understands the power of social media marketing by now, especially when it comes to impulsive shopping. Beyond PPC (pay-per-click) ads and basic brand posting, this method capitalizes on the ‘social’ side of things. Influencers can help if they are respected in your industry or niche, but customer-created content is just as powerful. Encourage reviews and ratings, mentions and links back to favorite products, and cross-reference these and purchase notifications directly on the website.

Clientbook supports smart impulse buying boosts

You need effective and responsible ways to get shoppers back into your store or revisit your ecommerce website as often as possible. Clientbook offers a wealth of features that boost your customer management and experience methods. No matter what product lines you offer or audiences you serve, it takes meaningful interactions, a personalized touch, and irresistible marketing messages to fuel brand success and growth. Explore the options, schedule a demo, and get ready to change your retail results.

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