Stationary retail appears to be predestined for the creation of buying impulses: On shop mannequins the customer is presented not only with individual products, but also entire styles of clothing. Friendly staff are at hand to advise the visitor, with fitting music and a pleasant fragrance creating an inviting ambience. Through these purchasing impulses the customer stays longer than planned and buys more than originally intended. These are the circumstances that online retail still dreams of. This is because it proves a difficult task to arouse customer needs. Not least because of the functional design of online shops.
A survey conducted by researchers at the Dialog Marketing Competence Center (DMCC) at the University of Kassel reveals that far fewer spontaneous sales take place in online retail than in stationary retail. Online customers compare beforehand on the Internet at 44.8 percent for prices and 46.8 percent for products. Whereas customers in stationary retail do so only at 15.7 percent or 28.1 percent respectively. This has resulted from the survey of over 300 eCommerce customers.
It should therefore be an objective of online retail to promote spontaneous purchases. In the first part of our article “Employing purchasing impulses”, we show how you, as an online retailer, can create confidence in the customer and thus make yourself interesting to online customers. We now offer you suggestions on how to create a welcoming atmosphere in your shop, which transforms online purchasing into a long-lasting pleasure.
Reach out to customers with emotional imagery
Shoppers do not always seek to merely meet their needs, but are much more in pursuit of inspiration. Storytelling allows you to place a product in a fashionable or emotional context. A happy couple looking together at an iPhone awakens other needs in the online shopper, like a smartphone displayed in isolation against a white background. Before creating your imagery, you should ask yourself what defines the USP, the Unique Selling Proposition, of the advertised product. The USP decides how the product will be presented. A sweatshirt does not represent clothing, but instead a lifestyle. A sofa serves not only for illumination, but also for an ambience.
Accept that stationary retail and online shopping are fundamentally different
In stationary retail, bargain bins with special offers should tempt the customer to further purchases. And some online shops are trying to adopt this principle. For example, by placing cross-selling offers just ahead of the checkout. This is only of limited success, according to Verena Menzel, Head of Design at the Triplesense Reply digital agency. Instead, shop owners should find the courage to query individual modules of their trade and possibly divest of some modules. “Modules with poor performance are ultimately no more than visual ballast – and thus more harmful than conducive to impulse purchases”, said Menzel. Retailers should muster the courage and test out new sales measures. Through targeted test series it is quick to see which module is successful and which falls into the category of visual ballast.
Purchasing impulses: Orientate your shop to your target group
Online shop owners should know exactly who visits their site. Different target groups have different requirements: In their survey Success factors in eCommerce – Germany’s top online stores Vol. 4, IFH-Cologne determined among other things the customer satisfaction of different age groups in online shopping. As a result, customers of 50+ place value on high service levels and product information. The 14 to 29-year-olds, on the other hand, find easy to use apps, purchase recommendations and mobile optimisation more important. Younger buyers want to find the product they are looking for quickly in an online store. While older users like to look around in the online shop. All users can surely not be catered to – but certainly those who belong to the target group should be.
Remind your customers of a longer purchase intent
Over 65 percent of spontaneous buyers online surveyed by the University of Kassel listed as a trigger the reminder of a purchase intention. You can offer your customers the option to save desired items. For example, by clicking on Wish List or Watch List. If you list one of these items with a distinct discount or a limited availability of the item on their next visit, this will increase their purchasing probability. You can also remind the customer of so-called fast-moving products: Printer cartridges are empty after a certain time and cosmetic products exhausted after a short period.
Contact your customers over the appropriate channel
If you reach customers with attractive offers via e-mails, this can trigger strong purchasing impulses. You can also pointedly increase your traffic on online portals. For retailers with niche offerings, it is worthwhile considering a presence on portals besides Amazon, Idealo and Billiger.de. In doing so, it is necessary to match the target group and the offerings of the respective portal with your own assortment. Find the ‘happy medium’ here, lessen divergence losses and increase traffic volumes. In the next step you should analyse the offerings of comparable retailers and conclude with which products and product categories you are targeting which sales portals. Use the blackbee Business Intelligence software to keep an eye on your competition and adapt your marketing channels accordingly.
Per se, changes in the design of online shops and content marketing emerge. Zalando, for example, presents its assortment in the context of clothing styles on its website or on Instagram. Whereas Ikea’s online presence can be viewed by visitors like a catalog. The design of online shops is changing. Take advantage of the current upheaval in online inspiration and become creative. Establish new purchasing impulses and increase your share of spontaneous purchases in your shop.
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