The ultimate goal of any ecommerce site is to sell product. Everything that is done to an ecommerce site in terms of enhancement is in one way or another about increasing sales. Sometimes the connection is not obvious to see, but it is still there and typically take one of two forms – increasing traffic or increasing the conversion of current traffic from shoppers to buyers. These two items are not mutually exclusive and both methods are needed for an ecommerce venture to be successful.

Increasing overall website traffic is a topic that Six Demon Studio has covered multiple times in our blog series. Marketing efforts such as search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media and a host of other methods would all fall in this category.

However, merely increasing the number of visitors to your ecommerce site isn’t enough. Even if your site has ten thousand visitors per day it won’t do any good unless those users are turning into buyers. Thankfully, ecommerce is an impulse buyer’s paradise according to research by

Their research shows that roughly fifty percent of users place an order on the first visit to the website. Your site’s mileage may vary but the overall data still holds that impulse or urgency buying increases shopping cart conversion. Lets look at specific ways to accomplish these tactics.

Merchandising is something anyone who’s ever worked in a brick and mortar store should be familiar with. The most obvious place for merchandising tactics is right at the checkout line. While you’re standing in line with your can goods, vegetables, an other assorted goodness what is staring you right in the eyes? Magazines, candy bars, batteries and all those other quick sale items that one does not typically make a trip into the store alone.

The same principal applies to ecommerce. The shopping cart is the perfect place to suggest impulse items. These suggested items could be static – think, “do you want fries with that?” – or they could be dynamically served suggested impulse items based upon what items the customer has in their cart.

Free Shipping
Thanks to the ecommerce juggernaut, Amazon, free shipping is become expecting by shoppers rather than an added perk. Numerous studies have shown that shipping costs are one of the largest roadblocks to converting shoppers into buyers. However, it isn’t always feasible to have free shipping on an entire catalog of products twenty-four seven.

A good trade off is to offer free shipping as a limited time promotion. This not only removes one of the primary barriers preventing shoppers from becoming buyers but also creates a sense of urgency in the shopper. They MUST by this item now else they might not get another chance at this promotion.

Stock Status
Stock status seems like an odd place to convert impulse buyers but it is. If your inventory management is accurate, you may want to consider showing the number of items left in inventory instead of just the regular in-stock or out of stock notices. Changing the styling on the stock status when it gets to a certain point can also create a sense of urgency and help nudge impulse buyers into action. Everyone has seen it done before, “Only 5 left, order soon!” In addition to the change in wording, a graphical change could also take place to make the call to action stand out even more on the page than the standard stock status.

Limited Time Offers
Limited time offers will also spurt impulse and urgency purchases when executed correctly. These limited time offers need to have a very clear time frame of the sale and be a small window of opportunity. Using strong call-outs that might even include a countdown clock, a forty-eight hour sale can create a strong sense of urgency in a user and trigger that impulse buyer response. The idea is to make the user think to them “I must buy this item now or I might not get another chance at this deal”.

There is a downside to limited time offers however. If a site runs the same offer on a regular schedule somewhat close together, then that sense of urgency is diminished because users will know that they will have an opportunity to purchase the sale item again. This can also have the side effect of training a site’s customer base to wait for the inevitable sale. For example, if a site runs a forty-eight hour 25% off coupon promotion for one of the minor holidays, that would create urgency to buy. If that same site runs a forty-eight hour 25% coupon promotion for every minor holiday the that has the opposite effect of training the customer base to wait for those sales.

The issue of having a trained customer base can also be difficult to explain or understand. What happens is that the people behind running the site see huge spikes in shopping cart conversions during their minor holiday sales. This data gives them the impression that their sales are a huge success when they’re actually doing more harm than good in terms of the big pictures. Sure having huge spikes in sales is a good thing, but for long-term success the overall sales average needs to increase.

These four areas are just a small look into methods of creating impulse and urgency purchases. If you would like to know more or discuss how Six Demon Studio can help implement these or other methods into your ecommerce site please contact us.

Roger (36 Posts)

In addition to being a cigar enthusiast, Roger is an accomplished graphic designer & marketer with extensive experience dealing with ecommerce and online marketing.