How to Capitalize on Impulse Buying - Pandemic Edition

May 21, 2020




A tried-and-true marketing tactic, impulse purchasing is a strategy retailers have relied on for decades. Merchants have strategically placed inexpensive goodies around checkout lanes since the 1950s, and those last minute add-ons really add up!


How do you capitalize on this lucrative consumer habit when shoppers are staying home or shopping online in the midst of a pandemic?


The science of consumerism plays out differently online than it does in store, but many of the same tactics that promote spur of the moment add-ons in your store can be adapted to work in other areas.


10 Ways to Boost Impulse Buying Now


  1. Consumers can’t be enticed by what they can’t see. Think of your website, Facebook page, and email as unique individual storefronts. Don’t shy away from the opportunity to sell products directly to your customers through these channels using dropshipping, curbside pickup, or even home delivery.

  2. Host a Facebook Live event. Promote a collection, a category (such as “T-shirts for the whole family” or “Drinkware”), or highlight an upcoming event, such as Father’s Day, with a variety of products appropriate for the occasion.  Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide to Facebook Live is a good place to start.

  3. There’s an app for that. Whether you host a website through Shopify or another platform, there are a variety of apps available to help you boost sales. recommends these  9 free sales-boosting apps for Shopify.

  4. Encourage purchases by association. If you’re promoting a specific T-shirt design on Facebook, in an email, or on your website, what else might the customer be interested in? Is there a fun pair of socks you might suggest? A coordinating mug? Maybe a reusable tote bag in similar colors, or even with the same design? Promote complimentary items together, and shoppers who thought they only wanted a new T-shirt will happily add a keychain, lip balm, and funky pair of socks to their cart. Think across categories and brands.

  5. Price point matters. When you grab a pack of gum or candy bar at the register, you probably don’t worry much about the price — it’s not an expensive item. When playing the impulse shopping game online, think about what price point your target customer will be comfortable with for add-on merchandise. Is that $2.99? $5.99? $9.99? Don’t shy away from offering lower-priced items as add-ons on all of your sales channels. If you’re capturing sales on Facebook and every shopper added a $1.99 pack of gum or a $2.99 lip balm to their purchase, those little add-ons would start to add up to something bigger.

  6. Make it fun! Technology continues to drive every one of us to want instant gratification; if you can fill that need with fun, interesting, and unique impulse items — shoppers will buy. An example of this is the Gift With Purchase. If you can get someone at $40 to bump their purchase up to $50 in order to get that free gift, you’ve just tapped into a great way to increase your average order value by inviting your customer to impulsively spend an extra $10.

  7. Don’t ignore the guys. According to a July 2019  CNBC survey, nearly 90% of both men and women sometimes make impulse purchases, and nearly 1/4 of men said they shelled out more than $100 the last time they made an impulse buy, compared to just 16% of women. When you are promoting purchase add-ons, don’t be afraid to speak directly to your intended audience. “Guys, are you taking the family camping this summer? Check out our full collection of camp inspired apparel and gear!” A theme like this will resonate on all channels, and can be tailored to appeal to men, women, singles, and families.

  8. Promote impulse buys across all channels.Once you determine which products or strategy are a good bet for increasing impulse buys for your unique business, plan to implement this strategy on all available channels. If your physical store is open, create an attractive display near the register, or wherever it makes the most sense, to highlight the products you are featuring. Post pictures on Facebook, or capture a short video reviewing some of the products. Send an email to your entire list sharing information and inviting them to engage with you on social media. If you are calling customers to check in, mention the upsell product you are focused on.

  9. Give ‘em a reason to click. One of the biggest ways to get customers to buy is to encourage them to pick an item up; doing this almost instantly builds a feeling of ownership, and the shopper is much more likely to purchase an item they have touched. Until teleportation becomes a thing, this isn’t possible with online shopping - but enticing shoppers to click to explore a product can have a diminished, but similar, effect. If you share a product on Facebook, as an example, share as many quality images as you can. Show the product from all angles. Show the product as a static image, and on a model. Make it easy on your website for customers to click an image to make it larger, for a better view. The more interaction shoppers have with a product, online or otherwise, the closer they get to making a purchase.

Another way to beat the touch-free barrier of online shopping is to be as descriptive as you can be about the tactile facets of a product: this ringspun cotton T-shirt is “super soft to the touch.” These breathable cotton blend socks “have just the right amount of stretch to be super comfy.” This Hooded T-shirt is lightweight and great for layering — you’ll love the way it feels over a tank top, or with another T-shirt layered on top for cooler days. Paint a picture with words to increase the likelihood of a purchase.

  1. Always ask, “What else?” When you are making inventory decisions, planning a sale, or developing a social media calendar, don’t stop with the expected list of products to promote. Train yourself, and your team, to look at a group of products and ask, “What else could draw the customers eye when they pick up this product?” If you sell T-shirts, offer ball caps. If you promote fun notebooks, offer designer pens. If you sell drinkware, add reusable straws to the mix. If fishing/camping/hiking are popular where you live and work, consider easy giftables under $10 to suggest alongside apparel and higher ticket items.


We encourage you to try these tips, and to check in with your Kerusso® Customer Care Partner or Field Rep for more great ideas.

If you’re ready to ponder the possibilities of impulse buying right now, then explore our 2020 Collection of products. It’s our biggest collection EVER, and we have plenty of items like Hats, Socks, Keychains, Jewelry, Drinkware and more to entice your customers to add more to their cart and increase your average order value.



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