There are several different types of shoppers, we all have our motivators and influencers that impact the final decision to make a purchase. I don’t like to shop…specifically I hate to shop in stores. I am good with online shopping and absolutely love the ease and convenience of Amazon Prime, you should see my front door during the holidays. One of my best friend’s is just like me and the rest think we are crazy because they’d rather browse through a department store or boutique then do just about anything. My boyfriend makes me laugh because although he can probably afford to not bargain shop, he will look for a deal or a bargain sometimes and other times he is an impulse buyer who sees something he wants for himself or for us and he just buys it no matter what the cost. My mom loves to shop both online and off and is always buying something for someone, my kids are very spoiled. Most retailers and marketers realize there are at least six different types of shoppers and the challenge is how to reach them and persuade them to make a purchase while also realizing different marketing works on different types of shoppers. In the increasingly digital world we live in, it is imperative that businesses have an omni-channel approach to their marketing and sales. So, what kind of shopper are you?
1. The Bargain Shopper
There is a reason Black Friday is so nuts, there are a lot of bargain shoppers and people like to think they are getting a good deal; the best deal possible. This person is constantly comparing pricing and hunting down a sale, they are the coupon shopper and often will buy things they maybe didn’t realize they needed or wanted only because of the amazing deal they think they found. Marketing to this group of shoppers is all about making them feel they are getting a good deal in the long run.
This shopper is also more likely to return something if they find it cheaper elsewhere which often drives some retailers to “break-up” with this kind of shopper. They understand that a bargain shopper is not loyal and often can manipulate the buying system because their returns often lead to the item being discounted even more.
There is nothing wrong with looking for the best deal and I’ve always wanted to be someone who took the time to look for discounts, shop around, use coupons, etc. It is time consuming but often can save you hundreds of dollars overtime.
2. The Informed Shopper
This person researches and reads the reviews on everything and in today’s world of digital media and online shopping there are endless opportunities to compare products, read reviews/customer’s comments and research, research, research. My sister definitely falls in this category and I probably do too just because I prefer to shop online, and the information is right there. It is becoming far more important for brands to have positive reviews and people engaging online with their brand then ever before. If you want this shopper to make a purchase your brand better compare favorably in every way, price matters, but more importantly the information they can gather about your brand (that “brand story” I am a big proponent of) is vital to this shopper’s decision making. This is where a brand’s overall marketing must be on point, from the creative and engaging content on their website, the story they tell on social sites, to positive reviews and well managed negative reviews as well as the transition and consistency between online and in store marketing. Omni-Channel marketing is critical to the informed shopper. Also, since this shopper does a lot of research when they walk into a store they already feel they are informed on the product they are looking to buy and don’t want to be educated on something else, so retailers ensuring they see the value in comparison to other stores is critical in influencing them to make a purchase. Letting them know about a better guarantee, superior customer service or a special offer with purchase helps influence their decision to purchase from one retailer over another.
3. The Impulsive Shopper
Today if you scroll through your social media sites you will be inundated with ad after ad trying to influence you to click on their site and make a purchase. The impulsive shopper is most influenced by these ads. They are also the people being targeted at the checkout line where many retailers place items that these buyers will grab just because they look like something they might like but had no intention of buying when they walked into the store. More and more shoppers today are impulsively buying online, because of the immediate access to the ability to make a purchase and often can receive the purchase the same or next day. However, brick and mortar stores see the value in marketing to this type of shopper too and spend a great deal of time perfecting displays and laying out their stores in a way that attracts impulsive shoppers to notice their products. 84% of shoppers have admitted to making impulsive purchases and impulse purchases represent almost half of all the money spent on e-commerce. Millennials are more likely to make impulsive purchases than any prior generation. Often this shopper regrets these purchases, especially if they are high ticketed items. Impulsive buyers are often single (they don’t have to explain their purchase to anyone) and they typically are social people who are concerned with keeping up with trends. Most impulsive purchases come from unplanned shopping trips, however many report spending over $100 more on planned trips because of additional impulsive purchases. Marketers both on and offline value this shopper more than most and go to great lengths to reach them with captivating ads, well designed landing pages, social sites that are engaging, and in store displays that are hard to pass by. As more people spend time on their social sites and as advertising is becoming more targeted and personal, I think impulsive buying will continue to grow.
4. The Loyal Customer
There are many reasons you might be loyal to a product or business. Often we are loyal because of proximity to our location (grocery store on the corner), we can find almost everything we need in one place (Target), we like the perks of their loyalty program (Nordstrom), we like their pricing, we feel good in their clothes, we know the owner, we love their chips and salsa (okay that’s just me), and the lists goes on, and then there is the really loyal customer. The really loyal customer would never dream of doing business with anyone else. They might overlook higher prices and even drive further then they need to because they absolutely believe in a business as a whole. This is a rare customer but definitely the one you want to be doing business with, and they are a business’s best and most cost-efficient marketer because they will tell everyone about their loyalty. As a business owner, realize the “really” loyal customer is your “free” marketing word of mouth, thank them and be loyal back. These are your regulars, make them feel valued and continue to remind them why they love shopping in your store or for your brand. Personalized and appreciative service go a long way with this type of shopper. Small businesses should focus on the loyal customer as their absolute favorite and most valued customer.
5. The Confused or Overwhelmed Shopper
These are often indecisive people who aren’t sure if they are ready to make a purchase or are so overwhelmed or confused by the options available, they cannot make a purchase. I think of myself shopping for a new laptop recently. I knew what I loved and needed but then when I walked into the store, I discovered there were even more options then I had researched. I walked out of that store without a laptop. One of the reasons for leaving without a purchase was I didn’t feel I had enough information to make such a high-priced decision.
This is the opposite of an informed shopper, they do want to be educated but they do not want the salesy pitch, they much prefer and trust an honest and informative customer service experience. Straightforward and informative marketing both on and offline appeal to this type of shopper. Lengthy or confusing marketing content will only confuse this person more.
6. The Customer with a Purpose
This person is on a mission to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. They know what they need and want and will not be stopping to do any impulsive buying. They value a simple and quick buying experience. We are all on a mission at some point and will visit a retailer that can quickly handle our needs without any extra selling or interruptions of that mission. I personally love the self-checkout line for this or the salesperson that takes the time to open another counter to help me get in and out quickly. Customer service serves these people best.
Everyone is a little different in how they shop and what influences their purchase making decisions. Many resemble several of these shoppers but identify with one more than others. Marketers spend a lot of time researching and trying to understand who their customers are and could be while retailers support those marketing efforts by catering to the needs of those customers. I find it interesting how different people spend their money and what value they place on where they shop, the products they buy and how they are influenced and persuaded, maybe that’s why I love marketing so much but hate shopping. I see that I am constantly and creatively being influenced by different marketing efforts, but it also overwhelms me at times.
So, what type of shopper are you and what type of marketing do you think drives you to make a purchase?