Darren Gilbert Dec 19, 2017 11:45:00 AM 5 min read

[Infographic] Understanding the different types of shoppers

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No two customers that enter your stores are alike. That’s even if they’re looking for the same product. They could be buying it for two different reasons. Since everyone is different, that means they’ll also don’t behave the same when it comes to making decisions and purchasing a product.

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The different types of shoppers

While there are various different types of shoppers and a whole range of shopper personas, for the sake of this piece, we’re only going to focus on four specific types of customers you’ll likely find visiting your stores.

They are your economic customers, your passive customers, your emotional customers and your cognitive customers.

          1. Economic Customers

As the name suggests, your economic customers focus on the economic side of shopping. In short, they’re all about saving money where possible.

That means they look to maximise the benefits derived from any product they purchase. In fact, when they pick out a product and place it in their basket, they do so knowing that they’re going to use it in multiple ways.

Baking soda is a great product example here.

As indicated in our infographic below, while baking soda is bought to be used as a leavening agent, there are many other ways in which you can use it. It can be used to wash your hair, brush your teeth, and freshen your breath. It can even be used as a skin exfoliator or to relieve heartburn and treat insect bites.

An economic customer will, of course, do more than simply look at how to use one product multiple ways. They’ll also look at the impact a product would have on their future. For example, they’d consider the fuel efficiency of a car before making a final purchasing decision.

          2. Passive Customers

Your passive customers can be a tough nut to crack. That’s because they’re usually not susceptible to marketing campaigns. In fact, you’re likely to find them avoiding any initiatives you have going on in your store.

That’s not to say they won’t notice them. But they are highly unlikely to engage with them. And that’s a challenge.

While it’s easy to identify those customers who are either happy or unhappy with your brand, it’s harder to identify anyone who is indifferent. You could even argue that your passive customers are harder to understand than those who actively hate your brand because they are so difficult to read.  

For example, a promotion is touting the value of Brand A and this type of shopper is just not interested. They're buying what they want to buy and you can’t sway their decision.

          3. Emotional Customers

When it comes to talking about emotional customers, it’s important to note that this isn’t about customers who become hysterical and complain about your stores not having a product in stock. Although, you can’t blame them if you do run out of stock.

Rather, it’s to do with their buying decisions. These types of shoppers base their decisions on their personal needs and emotions. These decisions are also often irrational and difficult to explain.

For example, your customer might purchase a specific brand of perfume because it has a lavender scent. Her reason for buying it is because the scent reminds her of her mother who used to wear similar smelling perfume.

Another example is a customer who only purchases a specific paint brand because her parents used to own a paint shop when she was younger and it's her way of staying close to them since she lives far away.

          4. Cognitive Customers

If you were to align your cognitive customers with a specific shopper persona, it could easily slot into the ‘Researcher’ customer profile.

These types of shoppers are the ones who research everything there is to know about your stores and the products you offer. They’re also defined as deep thinkers. The opposite of emotional customers, essentially, since they base their buying decision on the information.

That said, their buying decision can also be based on more than the research that they conduct. They can be persuaded to change their decision.

For example, when looking to purchase a new car, they can be persuaded to change which product to buy. That can happen if you provide them with the information that gives them a good reason for changing their original decision.

Types of Shoppers Infographic - DotActiv


Darren Gilbert

With over 10 years of writing and marketing experience, Darren joined DotActiv in 2017 as a content writer where he was responsible for producing blogs, Ebooks and more. He has since worked himself up to the role of content manager, where he oversees all and any content produced by the company. He has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Stellenbosch.