June 20, 2023

Maximize Impulse Buying: 4 Proven Ways To Score Sales During Livestreaming

Supercharge your livestreaming success! Master 4 techniques to inspire impulse purchases. Leverage Swirl's live video commerce for maximum sales and engagement.
4 Live Selling Tips To Convert More Customers
Discover 4 Powerful Techniques
Impulse buying is one of the largest revenue generators for retailers, with over 87% of US buyers making impulse buys. With live commerce being such a recent phenomenon, most brands focus on simply taking an event live, and not on capturing impulse purchases, but this can be a big source of easy income for a brand. Here’s how to tap into those emotional triggers and get customers clicking on multiple products.

Consider your recent trip to a grocery store. Did you strictly adhere to your grocery list, or did you end up picking up several items on impulse? Physical stores have perfected the art of triggering impulse buys by strategically placing new products at eye level, using signage and stickers to draw attention to bundles or special offers, and cross-selling items like chocolates with wine on Valentine's Day. Now, can you replicate these tactics in a livestream shopping video? 

Certainly! But before we delve into that, let's examine the factors that trigger impulse buying.

What Is Impulse Buying, And Why You Should Pay Attention

Impulse buying refers to unplanned purchases made spontaneously. It occurs as a result of emotional triggers, such as feeling down and believing that a new pair of sneakers will boost one's mood, concerns about looking older leading to the purchase of new skincare products, or the desire to buy something nice for a loved one without any specific reason. These impulsive purchases are challenging to anticipate or predict.

However, the numbers for impulse buying are revelatory. Did you know that more than 80% of young customers make impulse purchases online? In 2022, the average person in the US spent $314 per month on impulse purchases, up from $276 in 2021 and $183 in 2020. 

An example is a record-breaking live stream on Taobao Live that sold 15,000 lipsticks in 5 min during live streaming e-commerce. One of the customers said, “. . . I don’t understand why I wanted to purchase the product within the first 30s, and I was even worried that it was out of stock.” 

Live commerce triggers impulse buying by introducing a human element to the online shopping experience. When viewers witness a host demonstrating, enjoying, and recommending a product, it becomes easier for them to relate to it. As a result, they are more inclined to make impulsive purchases.

Clothing (35%) and food and groceries (30%) are the top two categories where the most impulse buying occurs. Other than that, household items (29%), shoes (28%), and consumer technology (27%) take the top spots for what people will spend on, on impulse.

Read more on: How businesses are using Livestreaming across industries

How To Encourage Impulse Shopping

Live commerce allows viewers to build an authentic connection with the brand and understand the products better. This primes the audience to buy on impulse, and with the following easy methods, your host can prompt viewers to add-to-cart, thereby boosting your sales and your ROI. 

1.  Offer Less Choice And More Detail

Retailers often believe that providing a wide range of choices makes it easier for shoppers to make decisions. However, during a live event, presenting too many options can actually cause shoppers to hesitate before making a purchase.

What Is Impulse Buying and How Do You Encourage It (2023)

Let's consider an example: Imagine a clothing brand that offers basic t-shirts in 20 different colors. Instead of showcasing all the color options during their live event, they choose to focus on just one basic color, such as black. With the help of a skilled host demonstrating various styling options for the black tee, potential buyers are more likely to be drawn towards choosing the black tee.

To optimize the live stream event, it is advisable for brands to curate a select few items and dedicate time to highlight the unique qualities and features of each product. 

2. Cross-sell Your Merchandise

In live commerce, customers may discover products they didn't know they wanted until they see them. Just like how physical stores strategically place high-demand, low-priced items near the checkout counters, you should feature related products at the bottom of the screen during your livestream shopping event.

cross sell products with live streaming

As the expert of your product range, take on the role of a guide during the live selling session. Anticipate the audience's needs and curate a selection of products that can inspire impulse buying. Showcase items that align with their interests and complement the product being demonstrated.

For example: If your host is talking about an expensive shirt, show a belt that goes perfectly with the shirt. 

3. Offer Extensive Demos Of Your Products

Highlighting the product's functionality and demonstrating its usage in your video boosts customer interest and motivates them to make a purchase.

Offer Extensive Demos on live video selling

Besides, when customers see a product for the first time, their buying behavior is based on functional and rational considerations. During a live commerce event by Maybelline, they invited a celebrity Angelbaby as their host. When the audience saw her putting on the new lipstick, they were immediately intimated and left comments like, “I want that color,” and “Her lipstick is so pretty.” And guess what? 

Maybelline sold 10,600 lipsticks, breaking its lip product sales record at ten times the daily average. Shoppers might have no specific shopping goal at the start of the session, but they’ll indulge in impulse buying if you give them a full product demo or showcase the final result.  

Also read: Should You Use an Influencer or Retail Staff/Expert For Your Live Streams?

4. Promote Special Discounts and Offers

Offering irresistible deals and promotions is an effective strategy to stimulate impulse buying. Many of us have experienced walking into a store intending to buy socks but ending up purchasing pants or shoes simply because they were on sale.

Promote Special Discounts and Offers with live video

To encourage customers to perceive value in your discounts, it is important to create a sense of urgency. This can be achieved by introducing limited-time deals and offers on impulse items. Additionally, promoting new product launches with special offers that align with the impulse-buy price range can further entice shoppers to make spontaneous purchases.


Push the right buttons to encourage more impulse buys during your livestream shopping event. Here are a few factors that you can take advantage of to stimulate their reaction: 

Provide value: People need to see that they are getting a good deal out of an offer. For instance, when you run offers like ‘Buy two, get two free,’ it can encourage shoppers to buy. 

Create urgency: Capitalize by creating FOMO (fear of missing out) by making a limited-time offer. For instance, using phrases like ‘Offer lasts till the stock lasts,’ or ‘Offer valid for next 2 hours,’ can entice them to make an impulse buy. 

Offer excitement: Sometimes, even having a new and appealing item in your live stream can urge people to buy. 

The only way to increase impulse buying is to survey your customers, analyze the types of products they buy, and see how they react.

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