The 8 types of shopper – and what they want from e-commerce

Consultants at CoreMedia – the digital experience specialist that works with leading retail organisations including stores such as Homebase and Office Depot – has determined Eight Types of Shopper, and detailed what they really want from a retailer’s online store through the e-commerce channel.

“Shoppers have always had different personalities. They are motivated to buy for all kinds of reasons, and their shopping strategies can be radically different. In order to stay competitive in an increasingly challenging online ecosystem, marketers need to understand exactly what’s driving the behaviour of the shoppers who frequent their online stores,” said CoreMedia’s global product marketing director, Doug Heise. “From our experience of working with leading retailers, we have put together profile of eight distinct types of shopper – and detailed what retailers need to be doing in order to make their e-commerce strategies work for each of them.”

  1. The determined shopper: This shopper knows exactly what she wants and will stop at nothing to get the best price and the fastest shipping. Help her find what she wants efficiently with easy-to-use search and clear navigation. Reduce the number of steps required to get from discovery to purchase. But don’t forget to show her other related products that might encourage her to purchase additional items.
  2. The indecisive shopper: This shopper has a general idea of what they need but may be overwhelmed by too many options. Make it easier for them by curating the products as well as the online experiences that surround them. Help with smart filters and provide expert buying guides so they can quickly find the right products to fit their needs.
  3. The informed shopper: Unlike the indecisive shopper, some people can’t get enough information. The informed shopper won’t buy until she has explored all of her options. She wants to do her research and needs access to as much information as possible. Provide her with detailed product specs, sizing information, ratings and reviews, video guides — anything that can help her buy from you and not someone else.
  4. The reluctant shopper: This kind of shopper would rather be doing anything than buying a gift online. Help him out by making the online shopping experience entertaining and immersive. This kind of shopper is more likely to respond to something that is closer to the in-store experience. Use rich media like video, photos and diagrams. Turn the whole experience into a game with challenges, quizzes and contests. Provide lots of opportunities to interact with the brand and products – as well as with other shoppers.
  5. The practical shopper: Some people see shopping in strictly pragmatic terms and are not easily swayed by an emotional sales pitch. The practical shopper is only interested in buying useful products. She likes to buy products that meet very particular needs and solve specific problems. Help her do this with “how-to” videos, reviews and searchable product details. Context is everything for this shopper. Show her how it works. Authenticity and relevance are critical.
  6. The emotional shopper: This shopper is the opposite of the practical shopper: the sort of person who doesn’t know what he wants until he sees it. The emotional shopper thinks that gifts should be fun, not practical. He is looking to be inspired – so give him what he wants in the form of rich visuals, engaging magazine-like content, and thematic microsites that blend product details with editorial content. But always make it easy to buy when the inspiration strikes. Use targeting and personalisation to make the experience relevant and intimate.
  7. The social shopper: Social shoppers are acutely interested in what their friends and peers are buying. She is the sort of person who does most of her browsing on Pinterest and Instagram. This kind of shopper distrusts brands and spends as little time as possible on the brand site or web store. Help her out by bringing authentic social experiences into your online store. Embed real-time social data and provide plenty of opportunities for shoppers to engage in conversations around your products. Hire key social media influencers to curate content for your brand and stimulate interest across multiple social networks.
  8. The brand-driven shopper: This kind of shopper is one of the most valuable kinds you can have – the die-hard fan of your brand or products. Reward him for his loyalty with special offers or exclusive content. Enlist his help across social networks. The key to building a strong relationship with the brand-driven shopper is to focus as much on the pre- and post-purchases stages as on the purchase itself. Loyal shoppers like this are priceless – make sure they feel the love.

Doug Heise adds: “Retailers should bear in mind that very few shoppers are exclusively one personality type. You should spend time learning about the personality types that dominate your online customer base – use surveys, track shopper behaviour and test out various shopping offers. The key is to test, evaluate and optimise based on what works. And remember that mastering the shopper’s personality test is the key to success in an increasingly competitive world.”

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