Each shopper has a unique set of motivations and reasons for buying their product of interest, when they buy it, and from where.
Whether in-store or online, retailers can categorize shoppers and tailor the shopping experience to meet their specific needs.
Somebody who’s in a hurry and knows precisely what they want probably doesn’t want to spend time researching other options. They just want to select and checkout.
Likewise, a shopper who loves a good bargain might appreciate being prompted to fill out their personal details so that they can be sent discount codes or details of your latest promotions.
But what about other types of shoppers, who have their own products of interest in mind, and who are at different stages of their customer journey?
If you haven’t optimized your store or created the right sort of content, you could be missing out on converting these shoppers, who each have different profiles. In this post, we explain who these types of shoppers are and how you can convert them.
The mission-focussed shopper — know exactly what they want, and they want it now
Shopping out of necessity, they prefer not to be inconvenienced when buying from your online store or at your brick-and-mortar.
Other names for these shoppers are “needs-based” or “product-focussed”, and they know exactly what they need to solve their problem.
Whatever that need is — a new android charging cable, groceries, or a new pair of shoes for an upcoming event — they need to do it now, so that they can get back to doing other things.
How to help mission-focussed shoppers
Give them what they want, and don’t frustrate them too much with things they probably won’t be interested in. Make it convenient and easy for them to checkout from your online store, quick and painless to buy in-store, or easy to arrange a curbside pick up. This translates to:
- Reducing your online checkout experience to as few steps as possible — either with guest checkout or conveniently placed and personalized CTAs that highlight their previous purchases.
- Offering multiple ways to fulfill their order, such as buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) — shoppers might not be on this mission because they want to be; they want to buy and get back to their other, more important things. So, make it convenient and hassle-free.
- Giving them clear and concise product descriptions or titles, with detailed images so that there’s no room for any doubts about what they’re buying or what features the item may be lacking.
The browsers — not sure of what they want, and enjoy “having a look”
The browsers or wandering shoppers — who don’t have a specific product in mind — will make up around half of the traffic to your online store.
While they’re unlikely to purchase during their first interaction with your brand, it’ll pay dividends in the later steps of their customer journey if you can pique their interest with inspirational content.
You can inspire them with your brand’s story, visuals, or user-generated content. Have a checkout option on whatever channel they’re discovering, and make everything as convenient as possible.
How to market to “just browsing” shoppers
- Make it possible to shop from anywhere and try to personalize the experience. That means making your content shoppable and offering complementary products at the right moment.
- Market on channels where shoppers can discover your brand, especially on social media like Instagram and Pinterest. Make your Instagram content shoppable by tagging products, and mark up your Pinterest posts with product pins.
- Use visual commerce to make the browsing experience enjoyable, and eliminate any barriers or doubts by aiding it with stunning visuals, product configurators, or videos.
- Use online product catalogs to showcase your brand’s story and to provide an easy browsing experience. You can also gather data on what they look at in the catalog and retarget them with the right content.
- Show them your latest trends, products, or looks so that they get inspired by your content and will bear you in mind for when they’re ready to purchase.
Researchers — have an idea of what they want, but they’re unlikely to buy until they’ve weighed up all of their options
Researchers (sometimes called “armchair analysts”) like to read product reviews, look at what others are saying, learn about product features, and look at prices in different stores before they can reach the next phase in their journey.
They’re not going to buy until they’re sure that their choice is as well-informed as possible; this presents itself with an opportunity for you to have a presence during their research, so you become more trustworthy when they’re ready to buy.
How to market to researchers
- Align part of your content strategy to these shoppers; publish review articles, or make product videos on YouTube that show how the product solves their problems. Then, put links in this content to your other content or product pages.
- Offer the best customer experience by providing excellent service across all channels, creating a seamless shopping journey. Engage with them, answer their questions, or respond to comments.
- Offer things that other stores aren’t; make your product descriptions and visuals better than theirs, provide free delivery or a better product guarantee. And make sure they know about this.
The showroomer — likes to look at products in-store first but buy them online if the price is lower
These shoppers have a good idea of what they want and might have a specific product in mind, but they want to check it out in-store first to see if it’s right for them.
They know that if they go online, the product might be cheaper than buying it from a store. But for brick-and-mortar retailers who cannot compete on price, there are other reasons why the showroomer might be persuaded to shop from your physical store.
You should emphasize the value of buying at your brick-and-mortar. If customers shop in-store, they get the product immediately and don’t have to wait for it.
How to market to showroomers
- Have an unmatched omnichannel presence — online and offline — that rivals your competitors; this means offering the same customer experience wherever they’re browsing from and giving them incentives to buy from your physical store or buy online after they’ve visited you.
- Recommend your loyalty program, and reward them with points for shopping with you at your physical store, where they perhaps get discounts on future purchases. This also gives them another incentive to keep coming back to you and not shop elsewhere.
- Offer purchase options exclusive to your physical store; this way, they get something unique, which they can’t get at your competitors’ stores. This could be exclusive product customizations, free complimentary gifts, or private-label products.
Bargain hunters — love a good deal and getting value for their money
We all love a good deal, but especially for these consumers, who might be serial bargain hunters, it’s all about getting value for their money, and where they buy from isn’t so important to them.
Bargain hunters may not be looking for a specific product, and they’ll be willing to check out different stores and retailers, compare prices, or wait for an item to come on sale.
But also sometimes, these shoppers might be willing to spend more if they can make bigger overall savings on the value of their shopping cart.
How to market to bargain hunters
- Set dates for your online and offline sales — and make sure that your customers know about it by emailing them or giving them an in-store flyer.
- Give them clear incentives to increase their average order value online, perhaps by offering them a percentage-based discount after their cart reaches a certain value or offering them discounts for multiple purchases.
- Increase your presence on discount platforms like Groupon, where browsers hunt for the latest deals and promotions. By giving them a coupon, you increase your brand loyalty and chance of repeat orders.
- Organize flash sales, where you offer substantial discounts or promotions for a very short time only. These can be useful for selling off last season’s items and building up a following around your brand. Make sure that you build hype around the date, perhaps by emailing out to people on your subscriber’s list.
Impulse shoppers — love making emotional purchases, and they love browsing
Impulse shoppers, sometimes called “emotional shoppers”, make unplanned shopping trips to the store or their favorite retailer’s online shop. A classic example would be a shopper on the high street needing some “retail therapy”.
There’s an emotional attachment to the experience, and they want to have fun while they’re out shopping. They’re less concerned about price and are sometimes obsessed with having the latest product.
How to market to impulse shoppers
- Make it easy for them to shop — that means providing the optimal UX, making your product info easy to digest, and creating a hassle-free checkout experience. In-store, this could mean equipping your staff with mobile transaction devices so that customers don’t have to queue.
- Provide an emotional and enjoyable experience by telling the product or brand story, what makes it unique or special, and recommend complementary products.
- Give them the chance to subscribe to your email newsletter so that they can stay informed and be part of your retargeting efforts. Put clear call-to-actions (CTAs) in footers or sidebars, and make it easy for them to stay in the loop.
It’s important to realize that you won’t always be able to pigeonhole every shopper into these categories, and some might be in between or have characteristics from several different types.
With this in mind, you cast a wider net when you optimize your eCommerce store or brick-and-mortar for capturing shoppers who are at the top of the -, middle of the- and bottom of the funnel — and put your brand in a better position to convert shoppers with different profiles.
With the latest marketing techniques, like omnichannel experiences and visual commerce, your brand is better aligned to achieve this and be a lot more than a store geared towards completing a transaction.