Intent and Impulse are perhaps the two major driving forces when it comes to customer behaviour in an eCommerce environment. Understanding and capitalizing on both of these behaviours is significant to persuade and eventually sell your products.

However, if you run an eCommerce site, you would probably be aware by now that leveraging a customer’s intent and impulse in a resourceful manner is a challenging task. The psychology behind both of them is entirely different and the sales funnel in place for both of them differs too.

To make the most out of both type of customer behaviours:
• You would need to understand the eCommerce categories which belong to these behaviours.
• You must be efficient in capitalizing on a customer’s intent and stimulating their impulse up to the level of irresistibility.
• You should know how to trigger impulsiveness in a customer with intent.

Dive into all of these and much more below, so that you can tweak small things in your eCommerce platform to create a big impact.

Intent-driven eCommerce categories
Products that fall into the intent driven categories are often researched and analysed well by the customer before purchasing it. Usually, brand promotions, product quality and product price drive the core intention of a customer. Let’s have a look at few of the most popular intent-driven product categories in an eCommerce store.

1. Electronic appliances
The major reason why electronic appliances are mostly intent-driven purchases is because they cater to a utility and are probably costlier than other product categories. Also, these products aren’t purchased frequently and thus the customers ensure that they are making the right purchasing decision. They carry out a lot of research, do comparison and read reviews before making the final decision. So, electronics is one of the biggest intent-driven eCommerce product category.

2. Books, Movies and Music
Choice of purchasing entertainment products such as books, movies and music are deliberate decisions which are usually influenced by the desirable creators, themes and likeliness of the customers. Thus, this category is heavily intent-driven and rarely purchased on impulse. The customer already knows what she intends to purchase as the entertainment choices are deeply ingrained into personality traits.

Snapdeal is a great example of how electronic items and entertainment products like books and movies must be showcased in an eCommerce store. They have made the right arrangements to effectively capitalize on captured consumer intent for both these categories.

An electronic product’s price, its quality and the brand it belongs to is clearly highlighted in their product pages. Same is the case with books and movies as the major deciding factors are portrayed brilliantly to drive the initial intent. This helps consumers in easily choosing the intended product. Also, they leverage user data heavily to customize their offers and deals which appeals largely to people who have a higher intention of buying a particular product.

Usually, brand promotions, product quality and product price drive the core intention of a customer.

Impulse-driven eCommerce categories
Certain category of products trigger impulse-driven action from customers. Products from the following categories seem irresistible to customers and mostly belong to highly reputed brands. Impulse buying action occurs in environments that facilitate serendipity. You must consider this while catering to impulsive buyers. Let’s see the major impulse-driven categories in eCommerce stores.

1. Food items
E-Commerce sites have started selling packaged food items and they are among the most irresistible products. You can complement the food items with some really drool worthy high definition pictures to lure customers into impulse buying. This is the sweet spot for every customer where they don’t think twice before making a purchase. Chocolates, candies, sweets and other similar products are mostly purchased on impulse, be it online or offline.

For example, Grubhub makes it extremely easy to order the delicious food items displayed in their app. The ordering, payment and the checkout process is so smooth that one wouldn’t hesitate to go ahead. Even their push notifications are always meant to tease your hunger and evoke you to order food instantly. This is surely the best way to stimulate an eager customer’s impulse.

2. Fashion apparels
Although buying fashion apparels can be a decision of intent but majorly it is driven by impulse for most people. Since the products in this category are purchased by judging the looks, the consumer behaviour drastically changes and people are more likely to buy such products on impulse. E-Commerce stores have facilitated a multi-faceted view of fashion apparels to make them look more appealing. This trigger the emotion of lust and desire which then leads to impulse buying.

Asos is one of the best sites to explore and buy fashion apparels in London. They are targeting the youth population (millennials) and since they are more prone to impulse buying, Asos is stimulating them to make an instant purchase through various techniques. You will find pictures of young men and women in fashionable clothes and accessories, which attracts customers and eventually makes them impulsive to buy products from Asos.

Although buying fashion apparels can be a decision of intent but majorly it is driven by impulse for most people.

Capitalize on genuine intent of customers with well planned techniques
Converting a sale out of customer’s intent is all about leveraging essential data to target potential customers. When you have useful data regarding the customer’s activities, you can provide personalized offers or deals to them for capitalizing on their pre-existing intent.

Important data required to capitalize on intent-driven customers:

Website analytics data, off-site web activity (cookies), social media data and content consumption data among others.


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Intent can be capitalized largely by using push marketing techniques. In today’s online world, that would mean retargeting customers through frequent reminders, using mass online channels like social media to create a good brand presence in the minds of your potential customers and finally, persuading them enough to buy your products.

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Even the call to actions would need to be carefully crafted and placed for heavily intent-driven products.

Stimulate the impulsiveness of customers with an irresistible approach
It is comparatively simpler to convince impulsive buyers into buying a certain product. You just need to ensure that the buying process is super smooth and incredibly well built to facilitate a good user experience.

Important aspects of stimulating the impulse of a customer:
• Featuring and showcasing the products in an irresistible manner.
• Reaffirming the customer’s belief that these products are as good as they seem to be.

Tapping the emotions and feelings of the customer is the key to making an instant sell. It can be done by creating an exceptionally well written copy for the product and providing it enough exposure by displaying high quality pictures or videos.

Creating a sense of urgency in the final call to action is the best way to stimulate the impulsiveness of an eager customer.

How to generate impulsiveness in a customer of intent?
Although both intent and impulse are peculiar, oddly distinctive buying behaviours, they both can be used together to create an effective sales funnel for eCommerce websites. Intent takes a lot of patience and build up but impulse, by definition happens immediately. Thus, if you have a lot of customers with an intention to buy any particular product, create lucrative offers or deals so that it will facilitate impulse behaviour. This will be a data-driven activity and will work wonders if you do it right.

Having a loyal band of customers will go a long way in generating impulsiveness as they would already have a purchasing intention for your products.

CaratLane can be considered as a superb example for how this can be brought into action. We used persona-mapping techniques to understand their customers better and sort out which customers have the highest intention of purchasing. Then through various techniques including remarketing and social media influence, we were able to trigger impulse buying and create instant conversions.

Creating a sense of urgency in the final call to action is the best way to stimulate the impulsiveness of an eager customer.

The key lies in understanding each aspect of the customer behaviour and making the most out of it. Give both of them their due importance and channel your efforts into how you can convert these behaviours into sales. Identify and target the product categories of intent and impulse with the right techniques and your sales shall peak north. Now that you also know how to turn the captured intent into impulse, create effective strategies around it to attract your loyal customers into impulsive buying.

Intent and Impulse will always be a debating topic between online retailers. If you plan for both and act according to the customer’s behaviour, your eCommerce store shall definitely be successful in reaching the expected targets.