Trying To Engage Impulse Buyers? Forget It

Would you rather a potential customer engage with your brand online (watch a viral video, like a page, play a game, etc.) or toss your product into her cart? Way too many marketers select the first option. It’s counterintuitive, isn’t it? The whole point of marketing in the first place is to drive sales, but marketers have become accustomed to believe that asking for a purchase too soon is some kind of cardinal sin.

While this makes sense for some sectors–if you’re a car maker, you probably wouldn’t ask for a down payment on every digital ad–it’s an unnecessary and damaging burden for low-involvement categories, such as CPGs. Consumers are busy. They have jobs, kids, and other responsibilities, and they’re not going to spend their time thinking about your deodorant, floor cleaner, or laundry detergent. Attempting to engage them to do something is frustrating for them and wasteful for you.

What you actually want is the sale, which makes low barriers to trial/purchase in impulse categories a massive benefit. The path to winning isn’t through fighting for mindshare; it’s capturing just enough of it to drive a window of interest and then presenting a purchase loop that is short and easy enough to turn that intent into a conversion quickly.

Bridging intent to conversion simplifies the entire marketing process. Without having to manage a complex funnel of educating, inspiring, and reminding, marketers can focus on placing messages in the places they are most likely to drive intent.

With consumer habits rapidly evolving, now is the time to rethink your e-commerce strategy and avoid these sales-killing mistakes:

• Don’t make consumers search for a website: This is a fundamental difference between low-involvement and high-involvement brands. When consumers see a low-involvement ad and think it’s a great idea, don’t make them search for how to purchase it. They won’t. And forget about landing pages and cross-selling.

• Don’t add unnecessary clicks: Every second a consumer spends converting places you at risk of losing him. Miring consumers in multiple clicks or making them enter too much data stands in the way of intent and conversion. If it takes longer than five seconds to complete a conversion, your sale is in jeopardy.

• Don’t force a check out or unfamiliar retailer: Consumers buy CPG products on a regular cadence. While the goal is to let them fulfill when they choose, do not force them to check out immediately, and do not direct them to retailers with whom they are unfamiliar and are unlikely to have accounts. Most consumers aren’t going to order a shipment of just a tube of toothpaste or create an account at some retailer they’ve never heard of just so they can try it.

The biggest hurdle standing in the way of CPG success is their own old-school views on conversion. Not offering a conversion opportunity at the top of the funnel because you don’t want to appear pushy could be a mistake that drives consumers away. No matter if it’s an online video, social media post, banner ad, or recipe shared online, every digital touch point should provide a fast and easy path to conversion.

This article originally appeared in CMO.

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