Optimizing Your Ecommerce Site for Impulse Sales

Social media has enabled people to keep up to minute on their favorite products and services. Real time marketing has given brands the power to connect with their current and potential customers. Adding these two ideas together can create a very powerful combination, and it’s one that all small business owners with an online presence should be taking advantage of — give your customers the opportunity to make an impulse buy.

Whether it’s for an upcoming birthday, anniversary, or holiday, knowing when to post can bring a tremendous advantage to your business. Let’s explore how we can utilize some best practices for enabling and optimizing for impulse shopping on your ecommerce site.

The Numbers

According to a study from Evergage, 88% of digital marketers find that real time marketing is absolutely critical to their campaigns. OK, so what is real time marketing you ask? According to the same report, it’s “personalizing content or creative in response to customer interactions” in a short amount of time. How short of a time span? Some consider it to be under a minute, although it can reasonably take place when an event is still highly topical.

The tangible benefits include an 81% increase in customer engagement and a 59% increase in conversion rates across the board, according to the Evergage study. These metrics are fantastic starting points, but you may be wondering how merchants are actually implementing something with their own products. Let’s go through some examples.

Use Google Analytics

Right now Google is beta testing “real-time traffic analysis” so you can monitor activity that happens on your site or app right when it is happening. As an example, merchants who are using this tool can see how many people are interacting with their site, which pages they are interacting with, how long they are there, and if any goals/conversions have been met. Knowing this information can help you understand exactly what your customers are doing and how you can sell to them. Here are the ways you can use real-time:

  • monitor whether new and changed content on your site is being viewed
  • understand usage of your mobile app through event tracking
  • see whether a one-day promotion is driving traffic to your site or app, and which pages these users are viewing
  • monitor the immediate effects on traffic from a blog/social network post or tweet
  • verify that the tracking code is working on your site or app
  • monitor goal completions as you test changes to your site


Google Analytics’ real-time visitors beta is a great way to see if certain products or landing pages are popular. Additionally, you can analyze the referral sources of an influx of traffic and target content to those pages. You can even use your ecommerce system to do a special discount for visitors from that site and re-target visitors that came from the referring pages.

Ramp Up Your Social Media Efforts

The majority of merchants seeing success ramp up their social media efforts. Doing this is a terrific way to engage with customers and get real time feedback. People respond to content that is relevant, smart, and makes use of pertinent cultural trends. And merchants who keep an eye out for these trends and act on them can see success quickly.

A recent example of using trends as a basis for communicating with customers is when the Seattle Seahawks player Kam Chancellor made the comment that he was “The Dark Knight” on ESPN. Within one day, merchants had quickly jumped at the chance to work with this trend and go directly to their customers with custom gear for sale. https://vine.co/v/OpL6aFav3Yx

Use Hashtags

0303-HashtagsAnother way of taking advantage of this is to use #hashtags. The concept behind hashtags can be foreign to people who haven’t used them, but are easy to explain. Hashtags allow the grouping of similar messages that can be easily searched.

An example of this would be Facebook’s “trending” feed. The first thing to do is to monitor whatever trends could be relevant to the products that you sell. Next, in the copy you will be using for your post, insert the relevant hashtag used by the trend. This makes your post easier to find by people in search of your wares.

Adding this simple step increases your chances of making your products easier to find to potential and existing customers.

Eye Tracking

This article has already gone over how to find what new content to share and when to share it, but what about a deeper dive into the details by knowing where to place it on your website and what platforms are showing the biggest benefit.

First of all, as of December 2014, ecommerce sites have 288% higher conversion rates on desktop than on smartphones. This is a phenomenal number in an age where 58% of American adults own a smartphone. The best way to apply those numbers is to know where your customers are looking on your site.

Eyetracking visualizations show that users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe. Merchants designing their site to go along with that pattern and placing the content where the eyes naturally go will see more success in connecting with customers.

0303-eye_trackingReal-time marketing allows your customers to share their own stories using social media. When you are monitoring your customers’ interaction with your social media marketing campaign, you can tailor each and every post or tweet to specific customer needs. Doing this can lead a greater amount of impulse buys and a better connection with anyone who interacts with you.

Joe Rodriguez is a Marketing Manager for Shoppost.

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