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8 shopper profiles and how to market to them

Maximize your marketing profits by understanding your customer base.

How well do you know your customers? Industries are constantly evolving, and so are your customers. Each shopper has unique motivations for making a purchase, but they all generally fall into large categories based on similarities in their shopping habits. We’ve put together information on the eight most common types of shoppers: Bargain Hunters, Browsers, Showrooming, Impulse Buyers, Mission-Driven, Indecisive, Educated, and Loyal customers.

Using these shopper profiles to identify the types of shoppers your customers are. This will help you tailor your business’s shopping experience to their specific needs. And it, in turn, will increase sales. 

Let’s take a look at our eight shopper profiles and how they can provide insights into how your customers shop and what drives them to make a purchase.

A shopper profile is a description of a category of shoppers based on purchasing behaviors and motivations. Your business’s shopper profile represents your target customers. Shopper profiles are used to improve customers’ shopping experiences by optimizing your store environment or website (if you’re looking at an online shopper profile), which will ultimately lead to an increase in sales.

To create shopper profiles, start by conducting market research to gain shopper insights. Customer profiles based on survey research provide you with data directly from your customers, which is the best way to learn more about them. You’ll be using consumer segmentation to group your customers based on common demographics, interests, purchasing patterns, and customer experiences. 

We can help you get started with our Shopper Insights Survey Template, which includes questions focused on shopping behaviors. Our templates are fully customizable so that you can add demographic and other questions specific to your business category. You can also change the colors and fonts and add graphics or images to make your survey more engaging for your target customers.

Let’s take a look at the characteristics, needs, and ways to appeal to eight common types of shoppers that you may encounter in your business.

The Bargain Hunter, also called a discount shopper, is looking for a deal. Most businesses encounter these intrepid shoppers. They are armed with discount and promo codes, coupons, and store sale flyers, and they are ready to make a purchase—if it’s a bargain. No coupons, sales, or promotions? These shoppers aren’t buying unless the price is right and they feel like they’re saving money.

The Bargain Hunter needs deals. They need to feel like they’re saving money if they make a purchase. These shoppers love rewards systems that offer savings and discounts, so consider this in your overall pricing strategy.

Our Bargain Hunters are not usually loyal to a specific brand or shopping for a particular item. Price is the most important motivator for making a purchase, so these shoppers will wait, shop around, and compare prices. 

Some strategies for appealing to Bargain Hunters include:

  • Host sales on a predictable basis. Some retailers host clearance events for specific hours on particular days of the week (e.g., every Sunday from 1:00–4:00 pm).
  • Use promotional (promo) pricing strategies. This includes bundling items, offering gifts with purchase, buy-one-get-one (BOGO) pricing, and discounts.
  • Use anchor pricing. Show the manufacturer’s suggested product price next to your price to show that your pricing is great—even without a deal.
  • Throw clearance sales to clear out year-end or seasonal inventory. Market these sales widely to make sales and make room for new inventory.
  • Offer flash sales that are time-limited. Host these on a day or days and times that are generally not busy. Present discounts on the shoppers’ entire purchase to attract Bargain Hunters.
  • Create points or rewards programs that yield automatic discounts, cash, and coupons.

These strategies should help you increase sales with Bargain Hunters.

Meet the Browser, also known as wandering customers. They’re the shoppers who are meandering through the store with no purchase intent. When asked if they need assistance, they’re “just looking.” They may have just happened upon your business and were curious about what you had to offer.

Browsers are often motivated by a connection or an experience. They may be on vacation and decide to buy a souvenir as a remembrance of the trip, or they might stumble upon an item that reminds them of someone in their life. This type of shopper is often seen wandering in bookstores or gift shops.

Since Browsers are walking through your store, the key is to make them feel comfortable “just looking” until they find something that appeals to them.

You can appeal to the Browser by:

  • Creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Say hello, welcome them in, let them know of any specials you’re running, and let them know you’re there if they need anything or have questions. Browsers won’t stick around if they feel you’re being pushy.
  • Provide a comfortable environment. Lighting, cleanliness, appearance, and even music will all affect how long a Browser stays in your store—and hopefully makes a purchase.
  • Design an effective store layout. Place your popular and most lucrative items at the front of the store in an eye-catching display.
  • Create product stories. Use signage and clever displays to give your items unique stories. The stories can be used to highlight how they fit a particular need or lifestyle.
  • Ensure you’re set up for self-sufficient shopping. Check that everything is properly labeled, posters address frequently asked questions, and that Browsers can find answers to their questions on their own.

Showrooming Shoppers go to brick-and-mortar stores to view and test products before purchasing online. This type of shopper is frequently seen looking at appliances, furniture, mattresses, or other large and expensive items.

These customers like to use the in-store experience to get a feel for the product, scout out its price, and reassure themselves that they are making the right decision. Showrooming can present problems for small businesses because the customers won’t make the purchase from them, even after examining the product and asking questions about it in the store.

Showrooming Shoppers are looking for a hands-on experience with a product they are planning to buy online. They need to see, touch, and examine the product to make sure they know exactly what they’ll be getting when they buy it online to save time and money.

The Showrooming Shopper is looking for peace of mind, so you need to streamline their purchase.

Some ways to appeal to the Showrooming Shopper include:

  • Sell specialized or unique products. If shoppers can only purchase your merchandise from your store, they have no option to shop online. Consider selling custom objects or items from local suppliers.
  • Use a loyalty program to entice shoppers to buy from you and earn discounts or free items.
  • Offer customization options such as complimentary engraving, monograms, and other options on certain items.
  • Ensure you have a customer-friendly website. If shoppers are impressed with your items, store, and staff, they may decide to make their purchases later online—from you. It’s possible that your Showrooming Shopper will fit your online shopper profile.
  • Offer price matching. Price is a big part of the Showrooming Shopper’s decision-making. By offering to match an established lower price, they’ll feel confident they’re getting the best price by making a purchase from you.

We’ve all been Impulse Buyers at one time or another. Grabbing that candy bar in the checkout aisle or tossing those goodies in your cart—the ones you weren’t planning on buying—are examples of impulse buying. An impulse purchase is any unplanned purchase based on items that appeal to a shopper in the moment. These impulse buys are basically items that happen to catch their attention.

Because Impulse Buyers act on a whim, they’re difficult to predict. The in-store experience is important to them and plays a role in what they purchase, so merchandising and branding have to gain their attention. They need attentive staff, effective displays, and a pleasant shopping environment.

The best ways to appeal to Impulse Buyers are by ensuring your staff is helpful, using smart display placement, and streamlining the shopping process.

Some other ways to appeal to Impulse Buyers include:

  • Providing a product story to prompt an emotional connection for Impulse Buyers. This could include showcasing local artisans or products related to the community.
  • Make it easy to buy. Because they’re buying on impulse, you need to make checkout fast and easy for these shoppers. 
  • Place small, inexpensive items by the registers. Impulse Buyers commonly pick up items as they wait their turn or while being checked out. Fill the area with small trinkets, candy, or other items that can be grabbed and added to an order.

When you see a Mission-Driven Shopper, you’ll recognize them right away. Also known as “list shoppers” or “reluctant shoppers,” these folks are after what’s on their lists. They aren’t shopping for enjoyment but based on needs. The Mission-Driven Shopper just wants a fast, easy shopping experience that satisfies their prewritten list.

Your Mission-Driven Shoppers are there to get the job done. Whatever you can do to make the process more efficient is going to be appreciated.

Appeal to these shoppers with simplicity in everything from effective merchandising (so items are easy to find) to easing the checkout process is critical for their journey.

Things you can do to appeal to the Mission-Driven Shopper include:

  • Offer buy-online pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) services through an intuitive phone app.
  • Provide gift guides so the Mission-Driven Shoppers can make their lists, knowing what you have in-store.
  • Have a clear layout. Make your store simple to navigate. Don’t clutter up aisles with standalone displays that obstruct traffic. 

Something is stopping Indecisive Shoppers from making a purchase. Their reluctance or hesitance may be related to price, information overload, or lack of information. 

These shoppers need someone to assure them that they are making the right decision and boost their confidence in making purchases. They need patience, encouragement, and staff that understand your products well enough to give the Indecisive Shopper peace of mind.

Your attention is the best way to help an Indecisive Shopper. They need extra hand-holding and encouragement to reach a purchase decision.

You can appeal to the Indecisive Shopper by:

  • Asking questions to find out what the shopper is specifically looking for. 
  • Giving advice based on experience, customer reviews, sales numbers, or other solid information that will help them feel confident they’re making the right purchase decision.
  • Offering a flexible return policy will help these shoppers feel comfortable making the commitment to buy—knowing a product can be returned if it fails to meet their expectations.

Many of us are Educated Shoppers these days. Also known as “well-informed shoppers,” these folks research products online, read customer reviews, and gather pricing information before they purchase from your store. They may even check your website to ensure the item they’re interested in is in stock. The Educated Shopper knows what they want to buy before they come into the store, but they will still ask questions when they get there.

Your Educated Shopper has accumulated a lot of knowledge about products they’re interested in, but they need knowledgeable staff to be able to answer questions they couldn’t find online. They need to expand their product knowledge and experience products in person before they buy.

The primary key to reaching your Educated Shoppers is educated staff. When the shopper is in the store, they want to complement their knowledge with more details from you. 

Appeal to the Educated Shopper by:

  • Keeping website and store inventory up to date to minimize the chances of disappointment when the shopper comes into the store.
  • Providing a positive shopping experience with exemplary customer service, loyalty programs, effective store layouts, and interesting displays.
  •  Ensuring your staff is knowledgeable about the products you carry is critical. They should be able to answer questions that can’t be answered online.

Do you have favorite customers? If you do, they’re likely the ones who come into your store frequently and are very friendly—you may even greet them warmly by name. Loyal Customers make regular purchases and are important due to their potential for profitability.

Your Loyal Customers enjoy being treated like VIPs. They love it when you greet them by name or set aside items you think would appeal to them based on their purchase history.

Loyal Customers are valuable to your business. Make them feel special with unique loyalty prizes and attention.

Other ways to appeal to Loyal Customers include:

  • Treating them like VIPS every day in addition to hosting VIP special events with unique prizes.
  • Incentivize them to come back and continue to be loyal with a loyalty program designed with levels for VIPs that include higher levels of rewards.
  • Start a referral program to encourage your Loyal Customers to recommend your business to family, friends, and colleagues.

Once you figure out what type of shoppers are most frequently making purchases in your store, you can tailor your marketing efforts to appeal to them. It all starts with consumer segmentation research to find out as much as you can about your customers. Our consumer segmentation product does all the work for you!

SurveyMonkey is also here to help you with our other comprehensive market research services. Get started today!

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