Types of online shoppers

Every day more and more people are taking the leap and starts buying online.

In my last article “In person shopping VS online shopping” I reviewed the differences between shopping in-person and shopping online, the motivation, the pros and cons and the social aspect.

Today I’d like to focus on the shoppers themselves, and to be more specific… online shoppers.
Even when it comes to shopping online, we all have different personality types, understanding those personas will help us understand how to best customize the shopping experience to each shopper, optimizing the overall usability of our website and increase online sales.

Customized shopping experience is allot more than greeting our users by name and sending promotional emails, taking the shopping experience to the next level is to understand the fact that different types of shoppers have different goals and shopping strategies.

There are 5 main types of shoppers that we must know:

The Power Shopper

People in this category are driven by a specific need and know exactly what they want.

The Power Shoppers are not looking to browse the store, when they enter the site they will look to see if they can spot the desired item right away. If not, they will continue to the next website (that is probably already open on the next browser tab).

They’ve done their previous research in the past and choose the best items suit their needs so they won't bother reading the product descriptions at all, a quick look at the product name and product image to confirm it's the right one will be enough to make them click.

As difficult as it can be to satisfy the power shoppers, they can quickly become Loyal customers if they are well taken care of and can often represent your greatest source of long-term growth.

The Need:
 Very specific, necessity, speed
 UX/UI Tips:

  • Speed is the name of the game, get the shoppers to the right product in the minimum amount of time.
  • Power shoppers will probably use the search option to find the desired item so make sure to make it visible, and consistent throughout the site, use autocomplete search if possible.
  • Keep your store navigation as simple as possible, Power shoppers will like to find their desired products in a few clicks.
  • Use clear product title and recognizable large images so they can confirm it’s the right product.
  • Power shoppers value their time so provide a fast and efficient checkout process, Easy access to previously purchased items will probably be a good idea as well.

The Researcher

The Researcher is browsing the web with the intention of collecting enough information about products and prices. 
 he’s got a specific goal in mind but not a specific product or brand.
 The search will last anything from a few days to several months, and will be done by visiting multiple websites like online stores, forums, and even social networks. To keep them on your site or make them come back for the final purchase, you must provide them with all the necessary information for example: product types, features, usage, pros over other products in the category etc…

Like the power shoppers, researchers are goal driven. The different between them is that power shoppers want to buy right now while the researchers are planning to make a purchase in the future (the purchase may happen today, tomorrow, next week, or in a few months)

Since the goal is to turn these shoppers into buyers creating trust is important, If researchers see that your site offers detailed product descriptions, great support, clear navigation and have good feedbacks, they’re more likely to complete a purchase on your site.

The Need:
 Gathering information 
 UX/UI Tips:

  • Detailed product description and helpful data will keep the researches on your site, and might even transform your site for information source for these type of users.
  • Related / Similar products will help the researches on their search since they don’t have a specific product in mind.
  • The Researcher tries to avoid making the wrong decision, Ratings and reviews will create trust and helping the final decision.
  • Product comparison is a very important tool for the researcher.
  • Allow the researches create a list of products (wish list / catalog ) or retain the products on his cart, he might come back for another look tomorrow.

The Browser

For many websites, this is the largest group in terms of traffic, while, at the same time, they make the smallest percentage of sales, but don’t mistake the browsers are an asset in terms of spreading the word.

The browsers don’t have a specific product or even a goal in mind and converting them into buyers will be a big challenge. They browsing the web with no intention to buy anything, so there is not allot you can do here, but keep in mind that although they may not represent the majority of your immediate sales, they will be your voice in the community.

Since Browsers are mostly looking to “kill some time” a good user experience might transform them into returning users,
 They might save the site to their bookmarks for when they get board again, and ever share links to your site if they found something that catch their eyes.

The Need:
 Killing time, Nothing in specific. 
 UX/UI Tips:

  • Visually appealing site will make those shoppers spend more time on the site.
  • Keeping them engaged will help you spread the word.
  • Allowing users skip the registration process will be a good idea.

The Hunter

The Hunters will spend a lot of time searching for the best deal on the web. Usually they will start their search on some of the comparison shopping sites. They are less loyal to a brand and are just looking for the lowest price. Some hunter will have stronger brand loyalty than other and will use social media to look for coupons and sales.

The Need:
 Finding the best price possible 
 UX/UI Tips:

  • Hunters are motivated by coupons, promotions, discount codes, free shipping and sales.
  • Make newsletter form appealing and visible, If those shoppers sign up for newsletters in order to receive a discount, be sure to send it right away. as they may count on using it for the purchase that they have waiting in the shopping cart.
  • List prices, discounts and savings — Cross out retail price and show discounted one, including amount saved.
  • Make sure it's easy to redeem discount coupons.
  • Define a discount based on a specific criteria — e.g. free shipping for customers who spend at least $70.

The Loyal shopper

Brand-Oriented shoppers are impulsive and irrational. They want to understand what it would feel like to own the product and don’t care much about rational considerations, such as price or practicality. They are driven by emotion and often, shoppers with this online personality will “play” with the item changing its features and colors.

Price is secondary to the loyal shoppers as they value quality over price, usually they will represent no more than 20% of the website‘s visitors but will make up to 50% of all sales. Naturally, we must communicate with these shopper on a regular basis.

The Need:
 Good costumer service, Quality, Easy navigation. 
 UX/UI Tips:

  • Nothing will make a Loyal customer feel happier than showing them how much you value their inputs.
  • Limit useless information and feed them with vibrant images to trigger emotional arousal.

Can we please them all?
When you know the types of shoppers, their shopping strategies and needs, you should put yourself in their position and see if you have all key approaches to satisfy their varied needs.
Share of shopper types can vary greatly from one store to another, but almost each store has these main 5 types of customers. Knowing their behavior patterns will help us identify their problems and two main factors for successful store is understanding who your customers are and solve their problems before they arise.