6 Tips How to Increase Sales with Impulse Purchases

6 Tips How to Increase Sales with Impulse Purchases

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If you are operating an e-commerce store, one of the best methods you can use to increase sales is by using impulse purchases. Also called impulse buys, these are spur-of-the moment purchases in which the customer did not really think through it.

I am sorry to burst your bubble, but this technique does not apply to high-ticket items or high-ticket dropshipping. Anything that costs a lot of money can rarely be an impulse buy, unless if your customer base is made of people who live in the Hollywood hills.

Today, we will cover the following topics:

  • What is an impulse purchase?
  • Does impulse purchase work?
  • How can I trigger impulse purchase?

Let us move forward and discuss each item to help you make more sales!

What is an impulse purchase?

An impulse purchase is something you buy because you felt like it. This is an emotional purchase that you never really thought through; most impulse purchases happen in grocery stores and in shopping malls. We all have a tendency to buy something we do not need.


Because we can afford it and we like the product.

shopping gift wrap 1

If the product is affordable, an impulse buy does not need serious thinking. A cute sock that costs
$5 means nothing to the consumer. What does this mean?

It means that there is little risk for the shopper even if the product turned out to be ugly. Even if the item is not durable and was made of poor quality, the $5 spent is negligible.

In some cases, this principle does not apply. You may have a product that is worth $49, such as a robot toy. In this case, the feeling of gifting this toy to someone far outweighs the cost. However, quality still matters, and you can expect a refund from the customer if the toy does not work.

To make an impulse purchases work, you need to know your target consumers. If you want people to buy items they do not really need—such as phone trinkets and little decors—you can opt for low-priced products.

But if your target market is people who are looking for quality, you have to focus your attention on items that make a person emotional—and then make sure you balance the price to something that is affordable.

Does impulse purchase work?

Yes, it does work.

According to CNBC, roughly 10% of all retail sales are online. In the United States, studies show that 44% of people above 18 years of age made an impulse buy online within a span of three months. For those who are between 28 to 37 years of age, 21% bought something online based on snap decisions.

Source: CNBC

In addition to that, only 22% of millennials and 23% of people from Gen X did not make this kind of purchase. What does this tell us?

From these two demographics, roughly 80% of people made an impulse buy online in their lifetime!

As you can see, shoppers now have access to online stores, and we all know that buying something gives a person some sense of gratification. Because online shops are only within our fingers’ reach, it is much easier to satisfy this craving.

If one can easily afford a product, nothing is going to stop this person from buying. And who are these people?

Most of these impulse buyers are young people. Unlike adults, these buyers do not have kids. They do not have any financial burden yet, and this makes them the best target market for impulse buys.

How can I trigger impulse purchase?

1. Create a story around the products

Impulse buys are emotional decisions, not mental. I understand that it is a challenge to create a short about each product, so you have to create one for each niche instead.

happy woman 1

If you are selling clothes, write a short snippet about a person—a real one—and how this clothing gave her self-confidence or how it boosted her self-esteem.

You see this approach all the time in TV commercials. If your product is in the health niche like something that improves posture, explain how it changed the life a person or user. Use real photos of real people.

If you are dropshipping, you can ask for these photos and stories from your supplier. If you produce your own product, you can take photos of yourself with the product, and then ask a copywriter to do the ad copy for you, which you can use in your product description pages or collection pages.

2. Place low-priced products everywhere

If you have ever been inside a convenience store, have you ever noticed how they place gums and lighters at the counter?

This is called product placement for impulse buys. You can buy gums for less than a buck, so you take one and add it to your purchase even if you do not need one. Same thing for breath mints.

This is difficult to do on an online store unless you can program your checkout pages. There are sophisticated websites out there where the customer would be presented more products during the checkout process.

In your case, you have to spread low-priced products in various collection pages. These low prices, if seen in contrast with your products that cost more, will look like a good deal. The more they see these products, the more likely that they would them to their shopping carts.

3. Use upsell and cross-sell apps

In Shopify and WooCommerce, you can install apps and plug-ins that would automatically bundle items together or offer related products to your consumer.

apps for life 1

We all have been to Amazon. Below the product page we are looking at is a suggestion, and you can do the same for your store. I wrote a blog post about the best upsell and cross-sell apps found on Shopify, and you may want to read it later on.

Here is my blog that you can open on a new browser: What Shopify Apps Can Improve Sales Conversion?

The beauty of these apps is that you can choose what products to upsell, and on which pages they would show. If you do not have store yet, I suggest that you give Shopify a try. You can build your store on this platform for free with the Shopify 14-day free trial.

The store will not go live unless you proceed with the monthly subscription, but you will not be charged money either provided that you cancel within the 14-day period.

4. Draw attention to the impulse buys

Use banners to attract consumers to your impulse buy items. In many physical stores, my general observation is that there are more blinking lights that surround impulse buy products than the others.

In some cases, there are huge tarpaulins and banners. Usually, I find these banners for products like flip flops. I know that I do not need a new pair, but the cost is negligible so I would buy one.

Online, you can do this with your hero banners. You can also draw attention to your impulse buy products by using a different photo.

If most of your products have white background, use a different one for your impulse buy items to get attention.

5. Use FOMO

FOMO means fear of missing out. A lot of retailers use this to take advantage of consumer psychology—if everybody has it, then I must, too.

sale chalkboard 1

The most common ways to use FOMO are:

  • Deadlines for discounts – discounts that only take effect for a few days; or a few hours in some cases
  • Limited offer to limited customer – the item is only available to the first 100 customers, or something like that
  • Supplies will not last – limited edition items, which customers will never get to buy again after the stocks have run out

FOMO is a powerful way to trigger impulse purchase. It leaves a person with no choice but to buy the item now or he will forever lose the chance to do so.

6. Offset the cost of shipping

The last method I can recommend to increase sales by triggering an impulse buy is to offset the cost of shipping. People love free shipping and would really see something of value out of it.

How do you do it?

Set a target purchase cost that a customer has to reach to avail of free shipping. For example, you can set $55 as the target cost.

If the customer us currently looking at a product worth $49, adding another $6 is negligible. He would think that $6 is paltry compared to the shipping cost that he would be able to save.

If you do this make sure that you have done the math and that you will not end up with losses. Calculate your profit margins very well and decide of this can work for your store.


Use these six tactics to increase your sales through impulse purchases. Rather than trying to push expensive items, push low-priced items because customers who see these do not have to think through adding the items to their shopping carts.

Small items that are frequently bought are going to eventually add up in revenue. If you succeed in this technique, you will find yourself making more money because you are reaching out far and wide.

This technique is a lot better than selling items worth more than $500—it will take some time to be able to convince people to make this purchase. Low-priced items have more customers. and you can make a profit through high sales volume.

WATCH: Impulse Buy Products

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