5 Ways to Encourage Impulse Purchases with Online Marketing, Part 1Bobette Kyle
July 23, 2008 — 1,272 views
I was at one of those big show events and walked past a demonstration booth. I even knew it was coming. About 50% of the people walking out were carrying two bright yellow cylinder-things. As we walked toward the convention center, I told my husband, "There's one of those guys with a microphone in there, doing a demonstration. He gets people so excited they think they have to buy those things. They over-pay then never use them." I said this a bit smugly. I know of such things, so I wouldn't succumb. Yeah, right. This guy was good. So good, I came away with five ideas for increasing sales from impulse purchases and ideas on how they might be applied online. Next time you evaluate short-term sales and online marketing strategies, think about and apply these five impulse purchase lessons... Online Impulse Purchase Lesson #1: Demonstrate an impressive, relevant feature. If the product is chocolate, sold at a retail checkout stand, you have no need for this one. Human nature takes over. When you are selling unrecognizable cylinder things - or sold on the Internet - people need some encouragement. You would never know it to look at them, but these things were super absorbent shammies. They can suck 8 - 10 ounces of soda out of your carpet in nothing flat AND it makes for an impressive demonstration. When the demonstrator mentioned they could dry a sweater in three hours, I was hooked. Never mind we have about two spills a year in my house and I don't own any "lay flat to dry" sweaters. This ability to get people to "live in the moment" is one key to a successful impulse purchase demonstration. The salesperson has a lot to do with it, of course. Repetition of an incredible, attractive feature, however, is key as well. Think of any infomercial or "Billy Mays" product. There is always an "AMAZING!" feature - cooks in minutes, instantly removes stains, easily pulls dings from your car, etc. This technique doesn't have to be only live or on television to work. Who in the U.S. hasn't walked past a display playing a recorded product demonstration. Take this concept and extend it online by inserting a streaming, play-on-demand video or audio clip* next to key products on your site. You could also include the clip (or a link to a demo page) in your newsletter. * For more information on streaming media, read "Turn Benefits into Sales with Streaming Media" here: http://www.websitemarketingplan.com/online/SalesStreaming.htm #2: Try to "time it right." Quite coincidentally, one of those semiannual spills in my house happened the day before I bumped into the yellow cylinder guy. I was thinking "If I'd had these yesterday, right now we wouldn't have books stacked in the middle of the living room floor." Quite by accident, he had related to something that was top-of-mind for me. Fortunately, you do not have to rely on coincidence. At any one time, there are usually six or eight generally popular "themes" you could tie into. Better yet, your target audience is likely to have it's own unique interests. On the Internet, you can "time it right" by associating complementary products or services. If someone is researching monitors, for example, perhaps they need an ink cartridge for their printer. Showing or highlighting ink cartridges on the screen along with the monitors may incite an impulse purchase. Better yet - and this is impossible unless you have order histories or detailed profiles - show them the exact cartridge they need. Make sure to read the next issue of the newsletter to catch part 2 of this article! About the Author Bobette Kyle draws upon 12 years of Marketing/Executive experience, Marketing MBA, and online marketing research in her writing. Bobette is proprietor of the Web Site Marketing Plan Network, http://www.WebSiteMarketingPlan.com , and author of the marketing plan and Web promotion book "How Much For Just the Spider? Strategic Website Marketing For Small Budget Business," http://www.websitemarketingplan.com/MarketingBook/TOC.htm .