Strategies to encourage impulse online shopping

impulse online shopping

Consumer behavior has changed a lot during the pandemic. Before, to induce impulse shopping your store required an enticing display window, an engaging salesperson, or some racks with products on sale. Convincing someone to buy a product in the heat of the moment depended on a personal touch.

Nowadays, people spend the whole day at home and do their shopping on their computers, tablets, and smartphones. One would think that purchases would be better planned with so much time to search the ideal product and all the information available from descriptions, reviews, and manuals. However, a poll ordered by Slickdeals shows an 18% increase of impulse shopping on online purchases in March 2020 (compared to January 2020).

Remember that many people are frustrated at home and buying something that is not an essential item can serve as therapy, helping them to feel better. So, how do you engage these potential buyers to complete impulse online shopping at a time of a high unemployment rate and in an unstable economy?


Create a sense of urgency

Nobody can predict how long it will take for the economy get back to normal, or at least to a state where the consumer confidence index is higher, people have a steady income and are not afraid to spend. The online environment provides multiple tools for small businesses to contact customers directly and provide the deal “that they cannot miss”.

Instagram Stories is a great way to market a fire sale for potential customers. Users of the platform are already used to the idea that a story disappears after 24 hours, so seeing a tempting sale that ends tomorrow will encourage many people to click on the link and make a purchase.

Another great marketing idea for small businesses is creating a newsletter with new content from your blog and new product launches. When people create a routine to open these emails to see their content, a special code that can be used for a 25% discount if used until tomorrow is extremely effective and generates high conversion rates for online shopping.


Make engaging videos

If restaurants and bars are scrambling to survive this pandemic, fast food chains experienced increased sales as people focus on a contactless experience via drive thru or delivery. Shake Shack saw deliveries rise (with lower margin due to delivery app fees), but most of their stores don’t have a drive thru. So, they needed to get creative to keep connected to customers and their key social media marketing strategy was creating a cooking-along series, with videos posted on their social network channels on how to cook some of their favorite items on the menu.

This emotional connection of video content made with your customers in mind is something hard to match. And as a small business that is part of a local community you have many options. If you have a clothing store, you can do a fashion show on Zoom with products on sale this weekend so people can relate on putting some nice clothes at home even during a quarantine. Sporting goods stores can do exercise videos for people to follow along at home and promote apparel through special codes at the end of the video for people to use at checkout in the online store.

One of the greatest hits of this year is Live Instagram or YouTube videos with conversations between different people from a specific segment. You can do the same with social media influencers or with consumers of your store, reinforcing even more the sense of community and having expert advice to induce purchases.


Leverage the charity trend

Everyone understands we are going through difficult times. In addition to the health concerns, the national unemployment rate is staggering, with 40% of people who made less than $40k losing their jobs. So, the lives of those at the end of the economic spectrum just got harder.

This has increased tremendously the number of fundraisings and online charity events, as people in better conditions want to help others to ensure we all get through the other side of this crisis.

Your small business can get involved in helping the local community and gaining loyal customers at the same time. If you are a restaurant, create an online promotion where for each combo that the customer orders for delivery, you will deliver another meal to a local shelter.

The same applies for clothing stores that can donate clean clothes to homeless for every purchase made by customers in the next 48 hours. It is a way to attract consumers who don’t know the best way to make a donation to feel better about helping those in need and boost impulse shopping for your store.


The Number: 18%

The Action: The keyword is engagement. Use your social media channels to post engaging content that will lead your consumers on the online shopping journey in a way that they will feel the urgency to click through the checkout page and complete the purchase.


Check out more social media marketing strategies in our blog.


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