Grey Suit Retail has said it before and will say it again: No two shoppers are exactly the same. Whether it be the needs of an individual within a market, the market they are in to begin with, or any other factor, everyone is different in their role as a consumer. Even with digital business and e-commerce being as systematic and algorithmic as it may be, there is, surprisingly, still room for being to vary in the way in which they pursue being consumers. Fortunately, although we are unable to have a one-size-fits all approach in the understanding of consumers, we can, at least categorize them into types of consumers in order to increase our likelihood of appealing to them and, ultimately, satisfying their needs in a way that is efficient and effective.
Richard Stokes, an expert in internet marketing, has written on the topic of narrowing the vast array of consumers into smaller, more digestible subcategories for the sake of furthered buyer relation proficiency. His work, which has gained attention by likes of subscriptions such as Entrepreneur.com, details the general consumer and breaks the overarching matter into 6 categories or types of shopper. With the realization that there are distinguishable differences from consumer to consumer comes the fact of having to learn what digital practices will best address each type of shopper. Let’s explore each of these.
Basic Digital Consumer (Accounting for 29% of Consumers)
The Basic Digital Consumer is your most simplified type of consumer or shopper. Within the scope of digital purchasing, this group is bare minimalist. They are familiar and comfortable with online shopping, but will often buy primarily from brick-and-mortar stores unless dealt the circumstance under which they may have to buy online. On the chance that what is needed is not found in store, the search for and purchase of said item will then be redirected to online retailers. At 29% of shoppers, this consumer type accounts for the majority of shoppers, and for that reason, a digital selling platform must bear extra attention to this population when establishing what is most important in an e-commerce strategy.
It is apparent that the main objectives of this group rest in the ability to do a quick search, find what is needed, and complete the purchase at hand. With the easy-to-please nature of this group, they simply want to find a business whose website they can easily navigate to get to what they need and through which they can buy that product. Ensuring that your website is responsive, especially on a desktop or laptop setup, is key and having a shopping cart tool integrated into that website will be the base coverage you want incorporated into your digital business strategy. However, to cover your bases for all consumer types, you will want to not limit yourself to such a basic plan.
Retail Scouts (Accounting for 22% of Consumers)
While the previous category of BDC was geared towards only shopping when necessary, and furthermore, only shopping online when brick-and-mortars do not have what they seek, there are other groups that love shopping for the sake of shopping. These consumers are known as Retail Scouts. They shop for the things they want versus the things that they may specifically need and find justification in purchases based on how good of value that was achieved while making those purchases. The same necessary elements apply to this group as the aforementioned BDC, however, there are additional criteria to fulfill with the new complexities associated with this group.
On top of the need to find the things one needs by means of responsive website design and a shopping for sake of order completion, there must be a complementary feature geared towards appealing to the abstract desire and fulfillment of constant new desires as time progresses. To best appeal to these wants, the incorporation of email marketing practices will greatly aid any brand wishing to appeal to this type of consumer. With such a function, a business is able to send out promotional emails to shoppers, giving them the value they crave in their shopping experiences. Furthermore, email marketing can track order history, aggregate purchases, and develop a profile per each shopper, meaning one would be able to design emails aimed towards making product purchase suggestions to these shoppers, and since they buy for joy of buying sake, to find something that may fulfill a new desire is accepted and appreciated in this buyer’s eyes.
Brand Scouts (Accounting for 20% of Consumers)
Similar in degree of consumption to that of the RS group is that of Brand Scouts. Much like RS, BS display a strong gravitation towards shopping beyond the mere realm of the necessities. They shop out of desire and fulfilling wants along with the purchasing needs they already address. What sets them apart, however, is what exactly it is that they are wanting to purchase. While they may be interested in buying similar products to those of RS, they may not pull the trigger on a purchase unless it allows them to adhere to a brand or image of interest. Loyalty to certain name brands is key in seeing a purchase as worthwhile for BS.
In order to gain the following of this group, it is required of a business to think not only of what they can do for their customers or potential buyers, but it is also important to think of what can be done for your business to increase brand recognition and authority. Again, it is crucial to have the key element of a responsive website and shopping cart, but more is in the mix now. A blog will be key is pushing your brand as being forward thinking within its industry, knowledgeable, and personable, thus reinforcing people’s desire to follow your business. Social media usage on different platforms will aid in giving people a means by which to follow you or indicate their loyalty and keep them updated. And lastly, email marketing is great to give exclusive promotional information to those who have taken the next step in their intimacy with a brand.
Digitally Driven Shopper (Accounting for 16% of Consumers)
Much like the BDC, is the Digitally Driven Shopper. The DDS bears much similarity in the shopping tendencies to the BDC where the extent of shopping is narrowed to the mere essentials and necessities. However, inversely to the BDC, the DDS does not turn to online shopping only out of obligation from not being able to find a product within a brick-and-mortar store. The DDS is heavily online oriented in terms of the platform from which they buy. Furthermore, they also display a strong mobile and social presence, utilizing phones primarily for shopping needs and finding great value in inciting purchases based on advertisements that are seen on social media arenas.
With the heavy influence of advertising on this group, from those depicted adjacent to search returns of items for purchase all the way to those seen while scrolling through social media, it goes without saying that to have solid advertising in conjunction with other basic online functions is the primary way to capture this audience. Proper execution of Pay-per-Click advertising, geomarketing, and email marketing will work wonders on this consumer type, as all three options will work together in ensuring that the shopper in question be shown the best promotional information no matter what they are searching for in a search engine, what they have purchased before, or even where they are located.
Calculated Shopper (Accounting for 11% of Consumers)
Some customers go into a shopping experience assured and confident in both the fact that they will be able to find exactly what they need as well as the company through which the purchase is made. On the other hand, there are people that take more time, consideration, and certainty from their selves and their seller before they can feel comfortable and justified in completing the purchase. One shopper type that falls under this category is the Calculated Shopper. The CS takes their time with each purchase, researching heavily into both online resources as well as brick-and-mortar options, often times, even comparing prices and products online while physically shopping, fusing the two media in their approach. To make their decision making process easier, advertisements detailing specials or discounting contribute to their ultimate purchases.
CS need a lot of reasoning for making a purchase, and a lot of backing to the conclusion they reach. For this reason, the more a brand has integrated into its digital strategy the better. While there are many factors that keep the buying process of CS slower moving, a lot of core considerations are geared towards finding the best value, that is great products but at the best price possible. PPC advertising, geomarketing, and email marketing, similar to that of DDS, are some of the stronger methods in appeals to this group, as it conveys value when, where, and how it is most needed in executing a sale.
Eternal Shoppers (Accounting for 2% of Consumers)
There is a reason this group is called Eternal Shoppers. With each major purchase, the consumer goes in great depth on every potential consideration that could possibly be made. Oftentimes, upward of 35 steps are taken in order to come to the conclusive decision on what to buy, for what reason, and from whom. Every incentive imaginable is useful in the decision making process for this group and it may take every angle that a brand has in order to achieve the business of this type of shopper.
For a consumer such as this, you want it all! Solid search engine optimization will aid in your brand name being visible amidst countless other business options, a blog will give them an idea of who you are and your knowledge of the market, customer reviews will give perspective from like minded shoppers with similar desires in mind, email marketing and geomarketing will ensure the transactions near completion will get completed, and remarketing will do the same for more reluctant purchase processes. Although ES accounts for such a small portion of shoppers, you should treat your digital business strategy as if you are appealing entirely to this consumer type. In so doing, you equip yourself with all the tools necessary to address any and all types of shoppers and give yourself a leg up in the ecommerce world.
In conclusion, it is no small undertaking to attempt to reach every individual consumer and their shopping habits. A narrowed, more absorbable array of the shopper types has been pinpointed, however to ease the process of marketing to consumers. Still, there is a lot to consider and a lot to deploy in order to gain the business of these groupings of shoppers, and to have the proper implementation online will mean success in ecommerce. To learn more about the different website features mentioned in this piece, contact Grey Suit Retail today!