Impulse Shopping

Impulse Shopping: Why Everyone is Doing It These Days

What Do You Do When Buyer’s Remorse Sets In?

Ever walked into a store and simply bought something on a whim? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. In fact, almost everyone will admit to making the occasional impulse purchase.

More than 4 in 5 Shoppers Admit Impulse Buys

A survey published by back in 2016 showed that 84% of all Americans admit to impulse shopping. The same survey returned a few other surprising figures that shed light on the scope of our impulse shopping habits. Among American consumers:

  • 54% have spent more than $100 on an impulse purchase.
  • 20% have spent more than $1,000 on a single impulse buy.
  • 77% made an impulse buy in the last three months.
  • 79% of impulse buys are made in-store, rather than online.
  • 27% of Millennials admit making impulse buys online.

Let’s be clear that impulse shopping is not necessarily a bad thing if it’s reasonable in nature. Similarly, encouraging impulse spending is nothing new, nor is it a bad approach to marketing.

For generations, physical retailers have attempted to create emotional responses in shoppers that will entice them to buy. Classic methods like putting candy and magazines next to the checkout line are designed to catch customers’ eyes and convince them to add to their purchase. BOGO sales play to our innate desire to get while the getting’s good.

When Impulse Shopping Goes Bad

Of course, many of these techniques translate to online shopping as well. Free shipping, special discounts, and limited-time offers can all help push customers over the line and complete a purchase about which they might be on the fence. The problem is increased impulse spending tends to go along with more returns, which can be an issue when shopping online.

Consumers can find the requirements—communicating with sellers, printing labels, boxing items and waiting for returns to be processed—too long or burdensome. They simply want their funds back, and are willing to take a shortcut if it means resolving the situation faster. This sometimes means requesting a chargeback from the bank without going through proper channels first—a process referred to as “friendly fraud.”

While it may seem like a quick and easy solution, the consequences of an undue chargeback are not to be taken lightly.

Watch Out—Friendly Fraud Can Cost You

By the time a chargeback dispute progresses to the point of requiring card network arbitration, the stakes are very high. Under the Mastercard Chargeback Guide, the customer at fault for that dispute will be responsible for paying:

  • A $250 administrative fee
  • A $150 filing fee
  • A $100 technical fee

Other card brands like Visa and American Express have similar rules in place regarding chargeback disputes. This is all in addition to the cost of the original item, meaning that a relatively small-ticket item can end up costing hundreds of dollars if a dispute makes it to this stage.

Not only that, but the chargeback process is long and complicated. It takes time to conduct the arbitration and representment processes, along with the constant back-and-forth between parties. Depending on the situation, a chargeback may take up to six months before it’s resolved.

What Should I Do About My Purchase?

If you make an impulse buy that you later regret—don’t panic!

Although sellers are not required to allow refunds, almost all modern businesses honor return requests as a show of good will toward their shoppers. Look for the business’s return policy on their website; in most cases, sellers try to make it as easy as possible to return items specifically in the interest of avoiding disputes.

If you are still unable to reach a solution working through the merchant’s customer service channels, call in eConsumer Services. We are the industry-recognized experts in resolving disputes between customers and merchants.

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