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3 reasons why mobile apps enhance impulse buying

E-commerce businesses are always looking for ways to increase the order value and frequency. Impulse buying is a somewhat-known phenomenon, but did you know that mobile commerce enhances the probability of impulse buying? When we zoom in on the phenomenon of Impulse buying itself, it will become really clear why this is. So, we’ve done that for you.

Here are 3 scientific explanations for impulse buying, the reasons why mobile apps enhance it and the ways you can capitalize on this (que evil laughter):

1. Decision Fatigue

After a long day, the last thing you want to do is think. Decision Fatigue (or ‘Ego Depletion’) is often directly related to stress levels, the amount of sleep someone has had, exercise and/or the time of day. So when this long day is over, your customers are tired from making decisions all day and have a decreased ‘willpower’ to withstand impulse buying.

It is no secret that a lot of folks spent their commute home on their phone. Imagine having had a rough day and you get a push notification about your favorite brand being on sale.

Could you resist the temptation of a sweet deal, which also garners a nice mental pick-me-up?

2. Emotional Shopping

Buying, in a lot of cases, is tied to emotions. When someone makes a purchase the ‘happiness-hormone’ dopamine is released, giving the person a nice boost in their mental state of mind. Stress, sadness and even periods of celebration are strong triggers for impulse buying. It is even speculated that a lack of sunlight can enhance the possibility of impulse buying.

Folks spent TONS of time on their phone. It offers an escape for when they are sad, entertainment for when they are bored and help for when they are stressed.

E-commerce merchants have done holiday promotions ever since money was invented, but did you ever consider that lots of folks don’t have anyone to spend holidays with? Maybe you can give them a smile, by offering them a nice promotion on something that will get them through these times with just a bit more spring in their step.

Apart from that, look at your product catalog. Which products are considered essential items and which ones are ‘nice-to-have’ i.e. not that necessary, but DO put a smile on someone's face.

See where we are going with this?

3. Loss aversion

A lot of impulse buying occurs, because folks are afraid of missing out on something good, or as the kids call it these days; FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It’s a bit of a given, but the old ‘ONE TIME ONLY’ and ‘LIMITED SUPPLY’ deals trigger a very ancient part of our brain that is always on the lookout to prevent hunger and death.

A bit primitive? Perhaps, but the naked truth is that essentially we are all still the same animal that lived in caves, we just traded in our clubs for spreadsheets.

So never give customers the idea that they can ‘wait for the next promotion’. Make sure that you shift promotions on certain products and don’t repeat discounts.
Keep them on their toes; this time around it is product category A that’s discounted, but the next time a discount for product category A rolls along, might be a very long time indeed. Even if you intend to discount the same category next time around, don’t give your customer the idea that you will and capitalize fully on the FOMO!

M-commerce utilizes the unique position of being in your customers hands and pockets. They are carrying you around with them everywhere they go, which creates massive opportunities, but also a responsibility. You have the opportunity to wield this knowledge for maximum profit, but ideally by enhancing your customers' day.

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