Amazon reported its biggest shopping day ever last month when it sold more than 100 million goods in 36 hours on Prime Day.
Take a moment to really think about what that means. Amazon shattered its own sales record on a day named for its Amazon Prime membership just two months after it jacked up the price of that membership by 18%.
That’s a pretty spectacular testament to how much consumers love Amazon — or it may be proof of how frustrated consumers are with their local brick-and-mortar retailers and how much they’re willing to pay to avoid them.
Whichever outlook you subscribe to, there’s no denying that Amazon and other e-commerce retailers are vital to product manufacturers. And competitors are picking up on this momentum: Target reported its most successful shopping day this year with its own sale that took place on — you guessed it, Prime Day. Amazon’s shopping holiday has gotten so huge it even propels competitors to break sales records.
Consumers Bought Way More Than They Selected
The highest selling items on Prime Day were fairly predictable. Amazon shoppers bought Instant Pots and 23andMe DNA tests. Target says its shoppers “took home” Dyson vacuums and Google Home smart devices. These represent products consumers have been considering for some time but finally pulled the trigger because there was a sale enticing them to convert.
But these aren’t the only items consumers bought. Amazon reported sales spikes on items such as light bulbs and laundry detergent. An explanation for many of those sales is that online shoppers often put items in their carts when they think of them, but don’t necessarily convert on those carts right way. A survey conducted by SmartCommerce found that more than 90% of consumers store items in a cart to buy later. These items can sit for days, or even weeks, before the purchase is made.
This behavior is typical for consumer packaged goods, but not for larger purchases like home items or electronics. These bigger-ticket items drive much of the traffic during promotions like Prime Day, and when consumers drop that awesomely priced Instant Pot into their carts and check out right away, they’re also converting on the laundry detergent they stored previously in the very same cart.
Corralling Carting Behavior
Think of carting like a digital version of a shopping list. As consumers think of products they’re interested in, they add them to their online carts the same way they might have added them to a list a few years ago. This is great for manufacturers of CPG brands because adding an item to a cart isn’t a commitment to purchase. Consumers aren’t actually buying the item — at least not yet.
This makes carting behavior vital for brands that rely heavily on impulse purchases to understand. Once a consumer becomes interested in a product, it must be as simple for them to add it to a cart as it is to write it down or they’re likely to forget about it. Maybe even forever.
The best way to encourage carting is to make it as easy as possible by creating actions that are lightweight and easy, so when consumers view any digital assets that draw their interest, adding the item to a cart is as simple as clicking on it. Consumers shouldn’t be pressured to “check out now.” They are much more likely to cart an item if there is no commitment to buy right away — and most shoppers don’t remove items once they’ve been added to the cart.
It’s also possible to create a portfolio of items that can be easily carted in a single click. These bundled purchases can be based on a variety of themes, from ingredients for a specific recipe to cleaning kits or back-to-school needs. This enable shoppers to add multiple, complementary products to a cart using a single click instead of searching for numerous products to fulfill a single purpose.
While massive sales events like Prime Day are likely never going to be the driving force for CPG or impulse purchases, think of them as akin to Black Friday. Shoppers come to the store for the “doorbusters,” but they often leave with much more.
Carting makes this even easier because those items are already there waiting for purchase. CPGs can take advantage of these massive promotional events by spending the weeks before them making marketing pushes that encourage carting — knowing that conversions will be right around the corner.
This article originally appeared in Consumer Goods Technology.