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Internet Marketing - Impulse Buyers May Be Lurking

Nov 28, 2007
There is an interesting paradox in Internet marketing. This paradox may be attributed to a gambling impule, but it is something that seems to be more firmly entrenched in established shopping habits of many consumers.

What is the paradox?

Everyday there are consumers that never meant to make a purchase that will do so on impulse. They may simply stumble into an online shop and see something they suddenly have to have without a premeditated decision to make the purchase.

The easy suggestion might be to have the consumer simply stay away from the Internet to avoid making a purchase they don't really need, but then that defeats the purpose of free enterprise, doesn't it?

Imagine a blog enthusiast visiting a blog about the airline industry. When reading an article on airlines he sees a link for peanuts as it discusses some of the snack foods that may be available in flight. That link takes him to another article that lists the various peanut companies used by the various airlines. The visitor randomly clicks on a link to one of the suppliers and ends up perusing the available nuts and ends up making a purchase of a gift box featuring dry roasted, toffee covered and mixed nuts. For some reason the culmination of clicks led him to a purchase he will likely enjoy, but it was not something he woke up thinking he needed.

He wasn't looking to by nuts. He hadn't even thought about buying nuts, yet something captured his attention (maybe he was hungry) and at the end of the day a mailing label with his name is affixed to a box of gourmet nuts and delivery to his home is just days away.

The same dynamic that is in play at the check out line of a grocery or discount store is also found online. Almost all consumers will make an occasional impulse purchase.

So how can you use Internet marketing to tap into those who may be interested in an impulse buy?

Make sure you have a well defined 'Specials" section where you have either clearance or sale priced items.

Make sure you feature a product on your home page that may immediately connect with a select group of impulse oriented site visitors. Also take into account items that may connect with a price conscious consumer.

Make sure you use well-displayed visuals. Sometimes a great picture is enough to tip the scales in favor of a purchase.
Make sure you use adjectives that aren't over-the-top, but are still expressive enough that visitors find they are interested in the product based on description alone.

Make sure the checkout process is as simplified as possible.

In many cases the impulse buy may be a low cost item, but that will not always be true. Big ticket items following an unexpected bonus or inheritance may also be in play so make sure your online items are well presented and described. It could be an impulse buyer is on your site right now.
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