When 50 Cent describes window shoppers on his 2005 single ‘Window Shopper’ he alludes to the fact window shoppers are jealous of Fiddy as they’re ‘just looking’, as it were, whereas he both talks the talk and walks the walk, able to buy a “white Porsche Carrera” should he feel like it.
“Man you’s a window shopper
Mad at me, I think I know why”
However, the traditional sense of a window shopper, I argue, has altered somewhat. Window shoppers are no longer just restless browsers who visit shops for a sense of community, or to get out of the house, but rather do so in order to scope out the market, see what’s out there, and then happily find a cheaper price or similar product online in the comfort of their home.
WHAT OTHER TYPE OF SHOPPERS ARE THERE?
How have they changed thanks to digital transformation and the growing availability and range of choices on offer?
We’ll take a closer look here at the 5 different types of shopper you’ll see in your store, as well as how these types have changed in recent years.
1.THE WINDOW SHOPPER
A window shopper is defined as somebody who “looks at articles in the windows of stores without making any purchases.” But whilst window shopping might seem like an arbitrary activity to some, to many it provides therapeutic relief akin to that of actually purchasing something.
It also, as Time Magazine points out, shopping, even window shopping, is about “human connection… Whether that takes place over dinner, at home, or at the mall, it’s therapeutic.”
However, the modern window shopper might not be “just looking”, as they so often insist. Thanks to digital transformation window shoppers are now likely to be window shopping in person, using physical stores to check out products in order to make a decision on whether or not to buy them. And they’re likely to do that online, having compared prices and reviews first.
2. THE THRILL SEEKER
There’s always at least one Thrill Seeker in any given friendship group. Somebody who sends invitations on Facebook or a group email to you about snowboarding in the Rockies, a trek around the Himalayas or an Alpine ski resort only 14 people have ever survived.
They’re impulsive, excitable and full of adrenaline.
They don’t just shop to have something, they shop to get that rush. That high.
Stores hoping to keep these adrenaline-junkies on side would do well to do so by ensuring they at least offer products and services that do more than just provide the thrill.
As Psychology Today point out, “the feel-good buzz that comes from spontaneously buying something that turns out to be a great buy leaves a much greater impression in our memories than the product that was bought.”
Many of us are susceptible to impulse purchasing, but not all of us are loyalists.
Could you turn a thrill seeker into a loyal shopper?
3. THE LOYALIST
Ok, admittedly that’s a pretty heavy-handed politicised term, but to shoppers, brands and retailers evoke strong sentiments that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Studies show loyal shoppers spend more and generate larger transactions than one time shoppers, and that has several implications for retailers.
For one, it means that retailers must ensure customer loyalty by being available on every platform. If your loyal customer can’t find you online, or the mobile site/app isn’t intuitive enough they’ll go elsewhere. Thus a multi-faceted approach is the best approach when it comes to keeping a customer loyal as well as satisfied.
4. THE INDECISIVE SHOPPER
Like the window shopper, the indecisive shopper now has a plethora of platforms to choose from when it comes to purchasing something. They also have the added benefit of being able to check out online reviews, video unboxings, as well as the chance to scope out the best deals.
The challenge for retailers has always been to convert these indecisive customers into regular buyers.
Whilst ensuring these customers can access your business is the priority, likewise is providing them with an incentive to both buy something and make sure they come back.
The Financial Times points out that 92% of UK adults have loyalty cards, and it’s clear that it’s a big business. However, to ensure it’s a truly effective loyalty scheme, rewarding customer loyalty, rather than trying to make a quick buck is advisable. As the same article points out, “loyalty doesn’t pay” for many customers.
Keep Mr and Ms Indecisive coming back. Give them an incentive.
5. THE BRAND AMBASSADOR
Choose 1996. Choose The Spice Girls. Choose Tony Blair. Choose The Daily Mirror. Choose Jim Carrey films, John Williams scores and Danny Boyle masterpieces. Choose Kappa tracksuits and Kangol fishing hats and choose to wear them to neither train nor fish. Choose Oasis or Blur.
Ah, those were the days. Oasis or Blur. One or the other. Ask somebody to this day and they’ll likely give you the same answer they did back then.
Fans even dressed like the groups in order to wear their loyalty, quite literally, on their sleeve. The same goes for Brand Ambassadors.
They know what’s in vogue and they want it. If they’re wearing a hoody it had better have three stripes or a swoosh or it’s in the bin, figuratively speaking. Those are just two examples.
The important thing is that retailers cater to those looking for a name by:
Ensuring they stock it.
Keeping up to date with what’s ‘in’.
Brand Ambassadors are savvy and are often ahead of the curve, shaping trends rather than following them.
The bottom line is this: know your customer(s). That’s increasingly difficult in a world that’s changing more and more as people and cultures become more connected and the world becomes a globalised marketplace where consumers have more power and influence than ever.
That’s a good thing.
The only way to ensure consumers are satisfied is by providing what they want, and that means knowing them better.