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How to Increase Online Impulse Purchases: Part 2

The following is part two of a two-part feature by Keith Anderson, VP of Strategy & Insights, Profitero. Part one is available here

4. Buy buttons

Buy buttons are designed for “distributed commerce” – the idea of enabling a frictionless purchase anywhere a brand is encountered in both digital and physical environments. Buy buttons in digital environments include shoppable ads or on social media like Twitter and Pinterest.

Buy buttons have some maturing to do. Shoppers haven’t had time to become familiar with the dynamic of buying through a buy button, and there are so many different approaches to buy buttons that as a result, they haven’t become widely adopted. People don’t fully get it…yet.

Longer term, though, it’s going to happen. Look for there to be standardization and more shopper education.

5. Coupons sent to mobile phones in-aisle or en route

Timely delivery of coupons and offers can increase the number of impulse opportunities, not only at checkout, but in every area of the store. Here’s what Bonin Bough, chief media and ecommerce officer at Mondelez International had to say in Harvard Business Review’s blog:

“By using location and behavior-based cues, savvy brands can reach consumers when and where it matters most. This could take the form of a mobile-based deal on gum mapped to a consumer’s daily commute (a time when people will most likely be chewing gum), or delivering a coupon for chocolate to a consumer’s phone while they’re in the checkout line, engrossed in their phone instead of looking at product displays.”

6. Amazon Dash buttons

Amazon’s Dash buttons are branded, physical buy buttons that can be placed in kitchens, laundry areas or any other place around the home or office where someone might be prompted to replenish a depleted product supply—like snacks and confection items in the breakroom at work, or detergent for the washing machine in the basement.

So if you want to re-order those Ice Breakers or that Orbit gum for your office mates, use your Dash button. There are now about 30 brands participating in the program, with more expected to join.

This is a big idea, since it makes the purchase frictionless at the precise moment someone thinks about buying. If brands succeed in persuading shoppers to install a Dash button, they’ve won at a Recursive Moment of Truth – a single decision point that has the potential to drive loyalty and significant lifetime value.

These Recursive Moments of Truth also hold the potential for Amazon and other retailers to not only resupply consumers, but to actually anticipate their needs. As Peter Larsen, Amazon VP of devices, states, “You can see a scenario where, at 4 o’clock this afternoon, a lightbulb arrives at my door and I say, ‘Why is this here?’ And 30 minutes later our lightbulb goes out. And that’s because Amazon knows that your lightbulb was about to run out.”

7. Make impulse shoppers your prime target

An ecommerce retailer should be able to identify which shoppers habitually add items to their cart at the last minute, often when the customer is already at checkout. The site can then specifically target these impulse customers with prompts, while at the same time, foregoing the opportunity to provide prompts (and hence distractions) to non-impulsive shoppers.

Of course, the impulse buying landscape is undergoing rapid change. Retailers and brands continue to adapt, both offline and online, to sustain the impulse purchases so critical to the bottom line.

And there is precedence for overcoming these challenges. The emergence of “pay at the pump” in the gas and convenience channel put pressure on store operators and brands to lure shoppers into the store. The removal of tobacco in some chain drug outlets put pressure on the front-end. But with shopper insight and thoughtful strategy, these challenges have been overcome—as will be the challenge of impulse merchandising online.

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