9 Types of Online Shoppers Every Ecommerce Entrepreneur Should Know
  • By: Ricky Hayes October 13, 2020

9 Key Types of Online Shoppers Every Ecommerce Entrepreneur Should Know

Everyone has a reason why they buy something online. The reasons are generally based on two things. First is how fast they make decisions. Second is whether they decide logically or emotionally. These factors overlap from day to day and product to product. So the same online shoppers may fall into different categories when it comes to different products or brands.

The speed with which a shopper makes a decision to buy from your store is called their pace. Some online shoppers choose to buy a product very quickly. Others are more deliberate or slow with their decision to buy.

Online shoppers also use a certain bias when deciding to buy. They may just land on a product they like so much that they just buy it. Right there and then. That’s an emotional bias.

Other shoppers will do a little research before buying. That’s logical bias.

What happens when you mix speed and bias in the decision making process? Well, you get four key types of online shoppers types. Spontaneous, competitive, humanistic and methodical shoppers.

To strike the perfect balance between catering to pace and bias, you need to manage the smoothness of navigating through your site. You’ll also have to refine page copy, images, and any other elements that communicate to the shopper.

A versatile theme like Debutify has settings to help you control the timing and voice of various page elements, from headings to pop-ups, chat prompts, etc. Download Debutify, the highest-converting free Shopify theme and produce a shopping experience that fits the pace and bias of various customers.

Let’s look at each type of online shoppers in more detail:

  1. Competitive Shoppers
Competitive Shoppers

People who want to be among the first to get a product are called competitive buyers. They’re the type to take hype seriously, with some logic in the decision. They’re the FOMO crowd.

You can still subdivide this group into determined shoppers and those who are loyal to a brand. Both subgroups will buy quickly with the hype. The difference is from whom.

  1. Determined Buyers

This is the shopper who knows exactly what they want to buy. And they want it fast. The FOMO is fading fast too. So any step that slows that purchase down may lead your customer to the competition.

A quick checkout that’s easy to use will bag you a good number of determined shoppers. Exclude unnecessary information from the forms. Ask only for the necessary details like card number, CVC, contact and shipping address.

With this type, it can be helpful to lean on scarcity and urgency. Let them know how there are only 5 units of that new celebrity perfume or makeup line left in stock. Always remind them about a soon-to-expire offer attached to a product.

A countdown timer on the relevant page may do the job. Send them emails about restocking and new listings as soon as possible. Where available, notify them slightly before, with a link to pre-order the product.

Take an in-your-face approach with CTAs, leaning more towards those closer to the sell. “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now”, especially the latter should be your go-to CTAs.

Put the lengthy product descriptions to the side and stick to summaries including the crucial selling point. Use phrases like “with an all-new fingerprint lock”, “featuring an improved media viewer”.

Basically, emphasize that fresh feature that the masses are raving about. Your product images can also include slides of angles focusing on these details.

Things like mobile device thinness, number of cameras, buttonless fronts etc. should be pinpointed. Incorporate the tone of the ad campaigns used by manufacturers in your copy when speaking to this type.

An example is “out of with the old”, “best picks/fits for this summer”, “step into the future” etc. Especially for category page headings/titles.

  1. Loyal To The Brand

Brand loyalty is a great way for shoppers with a fast pace to know what they are dealing with on every purchase. Maybe the product pages are easy to navigate. Or the customer care is the best.

Loyal online shoppers are great because they purchase multiple times. They even purchase different product ranges from the same brand because it makes sense.

These shoppers are great for User Generated Content (UGC) and reliable product reviews. Getting loyal customers depends on strong branding and great customer service.

Repeat those positives that you know the customers have come to associate with your brand. If it is fast shipping, use a phrase like “get this new pair at your doorstep quickly with our same-day shipping”.

Or “let your lamps reach safely, our signature damage-proof packaging never fails”. Preferably something shorter, that puts your stand-out selling point side-by-side with the product.

  1. Practical Shoppers

These are shoppers who want a product that solves multiple problems or one problem really well. When they make a purchase, they want to get it right the first time. This means they may take a long time to make a decision.

Control of the situation is very important to these shoppers. Great product descriptions will give as much detail in an easy to read format. Pictures are definitely worth a thousand words for practical shoppers.

Since practical shoppers are slow to make decisions, product suggestions that explain how different products work together can increase purchase value. The suggestions have to make sense or else they will go elsewhere.

Accessible product reviews are useful to practical shoppers. They help them figure out what other people thought of your product. Send samples to review communities like Honest Society to get a larger number of participants.

Get ratings from authorities like TrustPilot. If you can try to move from a mere mention to a link/full profile on review sites like Yelp. Some of these shoppers dwell on them instead of always searching and heading directly to stores.

With Debutify’s Sales Pop and Trust Badges add-ons, you can display social proof in a more trustworthy and presentable manner. Get yourself the free Debutify theme to make the most of customer reviews and ratings.

  1. Looking for a Discount

This is a type of practical online shoppers who visits stores frequently, looking for great deals. They appreciate a good coupon code and discount sale.

Give context on your product pages. An example is an old cancelled price next to a new slashed price. These are the kinds of things practical shoppers look out for.

Work with social media marketers who link to products with special discounts and promotions to attract the discount shopper. Within the online store, discounts on related products sold as bundles also attract this type of shopper.

Mix suggestions of what other shoppers of a particular product looked at to make the discount shopper stay longer in your store. This increases the chances of them buying something.

Use product benefits to make a cross-sell stick. An example is a mixer that can handle cake dough, ice cream and more. It may use different detachable parts for each function.

Create combos with names connected to different functions. For instance, use a sentence like “10% off for the knead, mix, whisk and flat beater kit”. These cross-sells can work for power tools, gadgets and other multi-component appliances.

Check our guide on “How To Use Discounts And Promotions To Boost Sales In Your Ecommerce Store” to use Discounts and promotions in a better way and boost sales for your e-commerce store.

  1. Wandering/Reluctant Shoppers

The wandering shopper is the one who doesn’t really want something at that time. Maybe they do but they are just looking around. You know the type, right? They may make up their mind as they go through a store’s product range.

Such shoppers need to have a good experience on your store. A logical flow to product categories is step one to attracting them.

Next is to have search functionality that can be easily filtered for different product features like price range, design and so on. Predictive search and type ahead features can also help to keep them engaged.

Remember these are logical shoppers who don’t want to be rushed but also like suggestions. You can also sprinkle in a bit of anchor text requesting them to take action. Something like “view more phones” or “see other colors”.

Anything that subtly implies they haven’t seen the best of what you have to offer. Set timed pop-up CTAs that appear when they seem to pay more attention to a particular page. This delay in leaving may mean they are feeling compelled to buy.

Let these CTAs highlight features like changing cart details or order information like shipping addresses. You can also slip in relevant snippets of your friendly return policy.

This may help nudge the shopper closer to a purchase if they know that they can undo some actions or have them fixed in other ways. “Buy now and enjoy flexible shipping”, “Get a different size or color with no extra cost for returning”.

These are all details that speak to a practical person. They reduce the time spent worrying on whether clothing or shoes will fit, or if they can change delivery locations.

Even things like splitting shipments in regard to destinations, number of products and desired duration become less of a bother.

  1. Spontaneous Shoppers

This is a type of shopper who will buy something in a very short time after visiting your site. It all depends on how well they feel engaged. They are an emotional type shopper with a fast decision time.

The product must provide a connection to the shopper very quickly before they move on. Engaging posts on the store and in social media are a good way to get spontaneous shoppers interested.

A good way to have engaging posts in your store is to have a short story about a product in the description. Three to four lines talking about the emotional value of a product help to get such shoppers interested.

Differentiate between impulse products and other products. You’re more likely to buy a wristband or Swiss Army knife instantly as opposed to a fridge.

Other factors like product uses and price can help guide you in determining what qualifies as an impulse product.

Products whose durability, authenticity and ability to provide vast functionality are very important may less likely be impulse products.

With this in mind, position them where they are most visible. Have the purchase-related CTAs nearby, with urgency-infused copy to support it. “Hurry now while…”, “Scoop up the latest…” and that sort of thing.

Here’s how to encourage impulse buying on your Shopify store.

  1. Social Media Made Me Do It
Social Media Made Me Do It

This is a type of spontaneous shopper who comes to your online store through social media links. That’s where the influence of trust in friends and family is very strong.

Social media posts with stunning pictures and ‘how to’ videos help this spontaneous shopper to jump right into your store.

The fastest way to get them is to embed obvious links back to your store from different posts on your social media pages. The flip side is to also have social media previews of your product right in your store.

Campaigns that apply discounts if a product is shared on social media will get people buying spontaneously.

Additionally, run campaigns where buyers get to share pictures with their products. Winners can get discount codes redeemable on their next purchase.

With the coming of Instagram shopping and buyable pins on Pinterest, you can approach these buyers differently. Turn your social media posts into sales points.

Post pictures with tags that lead to buy pages when clicked/tapped. With prices and “Buy It” buttons available right next to the picture, you can make the sale right on the social platform.

Here’s more on how to sell products on your Shopify store through business accounts on social networks like Pinterest, and if your target audience is Instagram.

Live video streams with prior announcement can also speak well to this type of shopper. Good informative content and a clear, well-infused CTA will do the trick.

To drive traffic from social media to your store and then use it to draw in more traffic in a loop, you need a theme that offers attractive social media buttons.

Download Debutify, the highest-converting free Shopify theme to display social media buttons that keep this traffic train moving and get more conversions.

  1. Humanistic Shoppers

A shopper who takes a longer time to make a buying decision from an emotional point of view is the humanistic type. This emotional connection to decision making is good for brands with strong and unique identities.

A humanistic shopper will take their time researching the brand that makes their preferred product. There are a number of things you can do satisfy their curiosity.  Your site should have a founder story.

Social media should have employee stories and customer re-engagement. These make the brand more human and have an emotional connection to the shopper.

Testimonials and reviews on the product description will allow the humanistic shopper to read the experiences of other shoppers. A lot of good reviews will increase confidence. A few bad reviews are also good. Why?

They help to show that the reviews in general are authentic because you can’t please everyone. Involve such shoppers in surveys and polls connect them to your brand and get them to buy over time.

With some luck, they may even become loyal to the brand.

Your “About Us” page, mission statement and vision may come in handy here. Make sure they are easy to access, clear and appealing. Offer personalized customer support during their browsing journey.

Highlight your activities relating to corporate social responsibility. Attach donation drives and other charity programs to purchases. You can get apps from the Shopify store to help you manage these programs properly.

Emphasize your use of sustainable methods (whether in packaging, shipping or other processes). Remind them of the safety and standards certifications of your products.

In Conclusion

It is better to try to attend to the shopper type than to change their nature. If a shopper is biased against spending a large amount of money on a single product online, point them towards the cheaper ones.

If they clearly take long to make a decision, try not to rush them. Work on establishing a relationship with them. Don’t craft an impulse buying technique and direct it at a practical and reluctant shopper.

It would be a little bit weird to try and sell whistles to someone looking for a TV or home theatre system just because they are cheap. You’re better off showing them some more portable stereo systems, maybe even projectors.

The job they are required for could come down to device specifications. Loudness, wattage, etc. If the alternatives do the job, you might get a sale. Rely on thorough customer research to determine the scope of behavior for each type.

That way, you can limit your expectations, like thinking that a discount hunter will just jump on a pricey product because of FOMO. To do this properly, get a theme that integrates well with analytics tools to study your traffic.

Things like Google Analytics annotations are easier to handle when you’re making design changes using Debutify. Download Debutify today – it’s completely free – to stay on top of store changes that get you more conversions from different types of shoppers.

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