Confession: I much prefer shopping in-store than online. To me, it’s about the entire retail experience — from greeting the salesperson to perusing the racks to scooping up that last-minute checkout line product. (Why yes, I do need a set of hangers/pedicure travel kit/protein bar, come to think of it.) Some of my best buys have been products I happened to stumble upon when shopping for something else — a merchandising strategy that Target has mastered. You lose that element of discovery when you shop online, limited to a lame “you might also like” reel across the bottom of your screen.

Despite the continued growth of e-commerce, consider these stats:

It’s in our nature to see, then buy — precisely the reason why every grocery store puts the milk and eggs in the back corner of the store but the trashy celebrity magazines are right in your face at the checkout line.

Traditional in-store visual merchandising relies on thought-out floor plans and engaging displays to pique the shopper’s attention, hoping they’ll discover products as they make their way through the store. It engages the senses, planning out the entire shopping experience from spatial feel to smell to sound — and that’s before we even introduce products for sale. The methods are tried and true when it comes to brick-and-mortar, but visual merchandising online is a whole different animal.

Leading brands are putting the same attention to detail and shopping experience into their sites and other digital marketing channels like social media. The objectives are clear: Increase those unplanned, spur-of-the-moment purchases online. Aside from obvious features (easy-to-navigate, mobile-friendly, pretty), brands need to incorporate visually-pleasing categories and collections on site, creating that window-shopping experience online. In fact, 87% of impulse buys online are made from users browsing website categories, not via search engines, Business Insider reports. Loop in features like one-click purchasing (Amazon Prime), free shipping on orders over a certain price (gotta get to $50!), and same-day delivery, and you’ve got the perfect cocktail for an impulsivity dopamine rush.

Not to be ignored is the element of discoverability in online shopping. Much like walking the aisles of Whole Foods looking for a dozen eggs and leaving with $75 of organic groceries, brands that favorably place products in front of consumers increase the probability of impulse buys. Why should brands care about great visual merchandising online? Benefits include engagement and time spent on brand’s site, an increase in average order values, and cold, hard conversions. Score!

Great visual merchandising, free shipping benefits, one-click shopping and visually-pleasing, discoverable categories are major key when it comes to bridging the “impulse buy” gap between ecomm and real-world shopping.

Want to increase impulse buys online? Partner with Curalate to activate the inspirational lifestyle content that fans, partners and influencers are sharing on social everyday. Display it all in a shoppable on site gallery, in email newsletters or on product detail pages to help consumers see how your products look on real people

Curious about how Curalate can help your business? Contact sales now.