Know Your Shoppers


Dear Colleagues:

Understanding the consumer's approach to shopping for a particular purchase: behavior, emotions, situation, and budget, is critical to successfully selling products and services to them. According to AnnaMaria Turano of MCAworks, there are four basic consumer shopping styles - impatient, reluctant, painstaking, and recreational.

"Marketers need more than demographics and psychographics to target consumers," said Turano. "They need to know their shopping behavior and gauge it towards what they are buying, who they are buying it for and when they are buying it to determine what packaging, promotions, in-store merchandizing, customer service is necessary to close the deal."

Based on Turano's research, these shopper categories apply across gender and are relevant for traditional brick and mortar, as well as online shopping. She did find that a shopper's behavior is situationally driven, so some may behave in a different category for different types of purchases.

Learn more...


Meet the Consumer by Shopping Style


Research can be valuable to help you match your marketing strategy to your shoppers' purchase decisions. It can help you uncover the type of shopper your products and services attract, as well as your target or preferred shopper.

Reluctant Shoppers
As the name indicates, these consumers put their purchase decisions off as long as possible. For these shoppers, the known is better than the unknown. In order to motivate these consumers to become shoppers, marketers need to shed light on the unknown and make it more appealing than the known. To convince the consumer to "pull the trigger," the marketer will want to point out that "time is money" and provide "exploding offers" where buying is cheaper or has more services attached sooner vs. later.

Painstaking Shoppers
This consumer is afraid that the decision they make is one they will have to live for a long, long time - years or perhaps the rest of their life - like choosing your child's college education, paint colors, or aspects for your wedding. As a result, their shopping behavior usually takes a couple of weekends, months or even years. Different from "reluctant," they know the timeframe in which they need to make their decision.

Smart marketers should be able to talk about how this purchase can be looked at as "an investment that will pay dividends, such as saving time and money in other ways over the years to come..."


Premium mattresses have a chance to attract consumers every 5 or 10 years when they set out to replace their mattress. When ready, the consumer doesn't likely know about the latest technology and options. Marketers in this category must reduce the anxiety the consumer has in the shopping process and stick with them thru the long decision process. In the case of mattress-shopping, consumers will trust their dollars (and their backs!) to the smart marketer who delivers a superior product, as well as an easy and educational shopping experience.


Impatient Shoppers
This shopper doesn't have a lot of time yet needs to make an informed purchase decision practically at once. As a marketer you want to be sure that they immediately understand what makes your product better and different from the competition.

In tighter economic times, the shopper's formulation will be for value based on quality differentiation and availability. The smart marketer makes sure that any price point higher than its competitors can easily be justified by the consumer with meaningful and visible differentiation.


When Goodyear tires launched Triple Tred tires, its marketing team uncovered that tire buyers often are in a hurry because a damaged tire is driving their purchase. They developed icons on this tire's tread to illustrate the weather conditions it is good for, and signage immediately tells the buyer that it is unique. This has been a successful strategy to quickly show consumers what makes this tire better vs. the competition and close the sale.


Recreational Shoppers
These people look forward to the buying experience and see that shopping is almost as much of a reward as the actual purchase. For some people, vacation planning is fun - and they enjoy perusing TripAdvisor and message boards to create their itinerary nearly as much as the actual trip!


Whole Foods is successful at attracting shoppers who enjoy the shopping experience. These consumers know they will pay more money at Whole Foods, but perceive little risk because if they don't like something they just won't buy it again. Rather than an experience centered on a grocery list, the stores are setup so that consumers will browse and pick up cooking and wellness tips on their visit. When wallets are tighter, recreational shoppers may browse at Whole Foods to feed their passion for their organic life style and perhaps apply any tips to purchases made at traditional grocery stores.