Acting on Impulse

Ever walked into a mall and left with more than you intended to? Recent insight on impulse buying suggests you’re not alone; in fact the research might just help you spot your own warning signs. The research identifies a few common traits that typify “impulse buyers”: in particular, they tend to be more social and more self-conscious.

This suggests that priming people to be more image-conscious can make them spend more, a fact not lost on mall designers. It’s well known that mirrors make us feel more self-conscious so it’s not surprising that malls have so many mirrors in them; brands can play this game too with simple ploys like mirror-ed outdoor used to good effect.

But given the research also highlights increased sociability as a common trait, what about social media’s role in impulse buying? Interestingly, research shows that the heaviest social media users are also the most insecure, so it would surely be safe to assume social media would be a hotbed of impulse buying. Not so, according to Yahoo! Research that argues social media is enabling more informed decision making. Apparently we’re convinced we’re making more informed, less impulsive choices thanks to the wealth of trusted information at our finger tips. But recent developments such as Twitter’s product cards or Groupon Now suggest that impulse buying is actually alive and well in social media.

If impulse shoppers are more sociable and self-conscious, expect to see more retail marketing trying to play to this. Diesel’s social mirror was an early step in this direction. It looks a bit clunky by today’s standards but can be seen as the forbearer to apps like Pinxter that facilitate real time social feedback for in-store buying decisions.

To learn more about impulse buying, read the full article here

Date: October 24, 2013