Zappos and impulse purchases

How does an online retailer spur impulse purchases? After all, there is no physical store to design in ways that pry open pocketbooks. Amazon uses technology, primarily its one-click purchase button. Meanwhile, Zappos (a company that understands customer behavior as well as any) uses psychology. Namely, it offers free two-way shipping. Free one-way shipping is nice, but it usually costs money to return a product. Zappos eats that cost in order to promote more “maybe” purchases. After all, it’s easier to return than at a store. Thanks to a status quo bias, more “emotionally unready” customers likely keep their impulse dresses than return them.

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