How to influence impulse purchasing decisions with added value and urgency

An impulse buy feels like riding a roller coaster–it’s a rush. But unlike the rides at an amusement park, you get a prize at the end.

Whether you sell softwareinsurance, real estate or building services, you know what an impulse buy looks like. In fact, as a consumer yourself, if you’ve bought a new car spontaneously or picked up a pack of gum on your way out of a convenience store, there’s no denying that you’ve participated in an impulse buy. Unlike planned purchases, emotions play a huge part in a shopper’s rationale before making a spontaneous purchase.

Most of the time, consumers see a product that they want and feel a need to have it. But impulse buying comes in many different shapes. While these purchases are spontaneous and unplanned, there is more than one impulse purchase definition that’ll help you understand this way of shopping.

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Think that your customers’ impulse purchases boost your sales stats?  Sign up with Blitz today for a 30-day free trial of our lead management and sales automation software to turn more leads into customers with less work!

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The classic impulse purchase definition

The two most fundamental elements of an impulse purchase definition are these: it’s unplanned and it stems from a shoppers’ emotions.

A consumer purchases a product on-the-spot based on their feelings at that moment. It’s completely spontaneous and spur of the moment. They could see a product they like and want to scoop it up before it’s gone.

Typically speaking, reason doesn’t play a large part in an impulsive purchase. The need for a particular product comes from an emotional place inside the consumer. Some shoppers won’t emote their feelings, but their emotions internalize. For example, if a customer spontaneously purchases an expensive piece of jewelry, it could be because it reminds them of a piece a parent or grandparent once had.

This impulse purchase definition may seem pretty clear, but there are other avenues an impulse buyer goes through before closing a deal. For example, there are impulse shoppers who are strategic in their shopping approach. They’ll know when there is a sale, deal, or discount at one of their favorite stores, but won’t know what they’re going to purchase until they step into the store. In a way, this impulse purchase does involve lightweight planning.

Urgency is the key to impulse decisions

Another way a consumer conducts an impulse purchase is through seeing a brand new item for the first time. They haven’t seen or heard of the product before, which means they don’t have any prior knowledge about it. When there’s urgency added to the offer, a sale is more likely to happen on a new item than without.

This is generally how QVC and other home shopping networks work. They tell you they have “just 1000 left” while they’re telling you about the product. You either listen and purchase when QVC has said exactly what you want to hear (lose weight, look younger, etc.), or you lose out. There’s usually just a few minutes to make a decision, so there’s little time to spend researching and looking up reviews.

The same goes for buying a house. You see a house you love, and suddenly your real estate agent says another buyer popped up to sweep it out from under you. At the last minute, you’ve decided where you’ll live for the next ten to fifty years of your life and are getting pre-approved at 10pm by a mortgage broker, just so you can put in an offer before the other guy.

Without urgancy, a shopper will have a strong, fleeting desire to make a purchase, but could close the deal later. However, if it’s been some time after they experienced the emotions that go with an impulse buy, they may need to be reminded to go back and actually make the purchase. That’s where a good CRM (like Blitz) comes in handy for salespeople.

Why an impulse purchase is important to sales and how to close the deal

Sales reps need their customers to make impulse buys. It’s that simple. If every shopper strategically planned out everything they purchased, salespeople would probably never meet any of their goals and major retail companies wouldn’t be as large as they are today.

The gist of an impulse buy is that it’s a spontaneous, fleeting desire to purchase a product that a customer “needs.” For sales associates, closing a deal with a consumer that’s on the fence about the impulse purchase can be tricky. You don’t want to overwhelm them, but you want to make them feel a sense of urgency when completing their order.

First and foremost, you already know that they are interested in purchasing the product. They’ve shown interest in your product and are contemplating purchasing it.

If they’re not buying, it’s because they haven’t been convinced of the value yet, and there hasn’t been a time limit set.

Setting a time limit looks like this:

  • Available until 1pm or until we sell out
  • Put in your bid on this home before another couple does
  • First come, first serve
  • This price is only available for the next 24 hours

Finding the value in the offer looks like this:

  • Lose more weight with this diet product
  • Save your family from financial distress with this life insurance
  • Look cooler than all your friends with this jacket
  • Look younger in 10 days with this moisturizer

Combining both strategies of urgency and value by playing to emotions, is how great salespeople close deals and sales.

Remind them of what attracted to this product from the start. Is it a trendy accessory their favorite celebrity wears? Or is it a car that they had wanted since childhood but had to wait until now to purchase it? Place a sense of gentle urgency on your customer. If there’s a deal going on, tell them that they’ll need to close the deal before it’s too late.

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Think that your customers’ impulse purchases boost your sales stats?  Sign up with Blitz today for a 30-day free trial of our lead management and sales automation software to turn more leads into customers with less work!

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Have a different impulse purchase definition? Do you shop impulsively? Tells us about them in the comments!