Online shopping affects on the impulse buy

Omnichannel Commerce

The impulse buy is not a new concept to retailers. However, for eCommerce retailers, a typical impulse purchase in-store does not always translate to an impulse action during online shopping.

The Internet allows consumers to conduct research more effectively before they buy. If they are online shopping, they can easily look up reviews, compare prices, turn to social media for suggestions and take other similar actions to inform their purchase decisions. Even if they are in brick-and-mortar stores, they can still use mobile devices to accomplish many of these tasks. This means people are more informed before they buy, which can affect the sales of specific items.

Online grocery shopping has drastically reduced the amount of impulse buys from people purchasing food items.

For some retailers, online shopping affects purchase trends more than others. A recent study conducted by eDigitalResearch noted how online grocery shopping has drastically reduced the amount of impulse buys from people purchasing food items. A traditional grocery store floor plan is laid out to lead shoppers further into the store for basic necessities, with the hopes of wooing them into making an unplanned purchase. Candy bars and bottles of soda at the register are the best examples of an impulse buy, offering hungry consumers an inexpensive snack as they finish shopping. However, eDigital Research found that online grocery shopping reduces a shoppers tendency to make an impulse buy. In fact, 29 percent of respondents make fewer impulse buys when online grocery shopping compared to shopping in-store.

Although this study may not hold true across the board with every merchant, it raises a point all retailers should consider: How does online shopping impact a typical impulse buy? Retailers may want to reconsider the way they position and promote impulse buy items on their websites if they want to increase their sales.

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