5 Types of E-commerce Shoppers

Over the years, we have done extensive research on e-commerce websites. We focused on what works and what page elements are needed in designing checkout flows and forms. Through that research, we learned a lot about the various behaviors and motivations of e-commerce shoppers. In this lesson, I am going to give you the five shopper types that we identified through our research.

The first type of shopper are the product focused shoppers. They exactly know the product model and options they want. They are like a race car with a common objective that is to get across the finish line quickly. They want the site to help them find their item added to the cart and check it out fast. One look at the name and product image and they’re ready to go. They might not even stop to look at product descriptions. An effective search tool and streamlined checkout are the best ways to help these shoppers.

The second type of shopper are the browsers. They go to their favorite sites or checking the news sites because they are curious or just checking out things that they might want to buy in the future. If the previous type was a race car, these browsers are equivalent to taking a leisurely scenic drive to see the leaves change its color in the fall. These customers are often interested in what is new for them. It includes the links to easily browse new arrivals and looking for items that is on sale or popular right now.

The third type of shopper is the researcher. Their goal is to gather information about a the products including prices, details, reviews, and how to use that kind of thing. A safari truck might best represent this group traveling all around the web to learn about products. Your goal as a designer is to help these researchers become buyers. You can do that by making sure they get the level of detail they need, answering their questions with thoughtful language details and with clear product images. Make them feel like they trust the site enough to finally buy the item.

Bargain hunters are the fourth type of e-commerce shopper. They are looking for savings and a good deal. Think of them as an armored car or security van whose mission is to protect the money. In our research, we saw these customers put in a lot of extra effort to get more savings. They’d sign up for newsletters, they’d wait for coupons in their inbox, or they’d open other tabs and search for coupon codes. You can help these customers buy, including discounted items in your product, listing pages alongside with the full price items. Having a dedicated section for discounted items is important. Show them how much money they could save in each item. Help these users by automatically applying discounts or even attempt to apply coupon button to save them from typing. Bargain hunters might also overlap with the other kinds of shoppers that we mentioned earlier.

Lastly, the fifth type of shopper is the one time shopper. These customers might be any of the other kind of shopper that we previously mentioned. They may have received a gift card for a place that is new to them, or they are looking to buy a gift card for someone from a site that they don’t typically use. This one time shopper is sort of like a rental car going to a place that you will go once in your life. These customers have never been to your site and they don’t really expect anything in return. You can help them with site navigation that conveys the range of products you carry and you can allow them to check out as a guest without needing to create an account.

Even though there are differences in the customer’s priorities and behaviors, you can design an e-commerce experience that meets the needs of each shopper. If you do that, you’ll soon be driving off into the sunset of e-commerce conversions.

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