June 23, 2022

Four top ways to score impulse buys during livestreaming

Learn four effective techniques for driving impulse purchases during livestreaming events, and discover how GoSwirl's live video commerce solutions can help you maximize your sales and engagement with
Swirl Live Shopping Blog

Four top ways to score impulse buys during livestream

Date: June 23, 2022

Four ways to trigger impulse buys during your live commerce event

Think of the last time you were at a grocery store – did you stick to your grocery list or did you throw in a lot of products that were just impulse buys? Physical stores have mastered the art of triggering impulse buys – placing new products at eye level, using signs and stickers to highlight bundles or special offers, cross-selling chocolates with wine on Valentine’s Day, the list goes on – but can you do it in a livestream shopping video?

Yes, absolutely! But first, let’s look at the triggers for impulse buying.

What is impulse buying, and why you should pay attention

Impulse buying is an unplanned purchase that happens in the spur of the moment. It is usually the result of an emotional trigger – “I’m feeling low and a new pair of sneakers will make me feel better”, “I’m worried about looking older so I’ll buy new skin products”, “I want to buy something nice for my mum, just like that” – and so is harder to 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 will spend $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 stream eCommerce induces impulse buying because it has added a human element to online shopping. It’s easier for a viewer to relate to a product when they see a host demonstrate it, enjoy using it, and recommend it.

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

Most retailers believe that offering choice makes it easy for a shopper to decide, but offering too many options in a live event may cause shoppers to pause before buying.

Consider this: A clothing brand has basic tees in 20 colours, but chooses only one basic colour for their live event. With a skilled host to demonstrate how to style a black tee for layering, buyers are more likely to choose the black tee.

Live Clothing Shopping

It is recommended that brands curate a few items for their live stream event, and spend time focusing on the qualities and features of the product.

2. Cross-sell your merchandise

Sometimes shoppers don’t know they want something until they see the product. Just like brick-and-mortar stores place high-demand, low-priced products near checkout counters, your livestream event should list related products at the bottom of the screen.

No one knows your product range better than you do, so act as a guide during the live selling session for your customers. Anticipate the audience’s needs and curate a guide that can encourage impulse buying. Display products that match their interests and work well with the product that is being demonstrated.

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

Swirl - Online Video Shopping

3. Offer extensive demos of your products

Talk about the functionality of a product in detail in your video. When you showcase a product and its usage, customers are more likely to feel the need to buy it.

Besides, when customers see a product for the first time, their buying behavior is based on functional and rational considerations. During a live stream 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?

Live Commerce Online Shopping


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

Presenting customers with offers that feel too good to miss is a great way to encourage impulse buying. How many of us have wandered into a store to buy a pair of socks, but emerged with a new pair of pants or shoes, just because they were on sale?

Live Commerce Online Shopping

Shoppers should think that they are getting value with your discounts. You can create limited-time deals and offers on impulse items to develop a sense of urgency. Or promote new launches with special offers that fit the impulse-buy price point.


In conclusion

Push the right buttons to encourage more impulse buys during your live stream. 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.

SWIRL is a full funnel live commerce solution that helps marketers attract, engage and convert more customers. Enable your website or app with the power of shoppable content to increase AOV, boost conversions and retain customers. If you’re looking for a live commerce solution and want to discuss options, get in touch.

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