Tell me your personality and I’ll tell you what your shopping DNA is. Wouldn’t that be amazing? We think we are completely unique, but of course we share characteristics and they influence our behavior in turn. Some years ago, a Shopping2020 research study by Dutch market researcher Gfk came up with four categories of digital consumers:

  1. The passionate onlife shopper
  2. The deliberate onlife shopper
  3. The calculating onlife shopper
  4. The passive onlife shopper

Passionate or deliberate?

The first group sees shopping as a hobby, sheer bliss. Generally sociable, these people – more women than men – love physical stores, with their tactile appeal, love using store apps and are ever on the lookout for good vibes and unique experiences. Being influenced by social media, reviews, blogs, vlogs and the like, they just L-O-V-E it all. Online shopping is also a key way to source the endless options and take advantage of competitive prices. Virtual showrooms and other virtual/augmented reality options, instore and at home, are all hugely interesting to the passionate shopper.

Deliberate shoppers regard shopping as a competitive sport. Always prepared and a heavy buyer, strong brand preferences and completely in their element when comparing product details, reviews and ratings. Orientation is done digitally, though shopping at local and small specialist stores is another clear favorite. Sharing goods and services is interesting, as is buying through platforms. What matters most to the deliberate shopper is personalized advice, interaction and absolutely stellar customer service. 

Calculating or passive?

For the calculating shopper, it feels like a job: you just do the best you can. Shopping happens according to a schedule, generic brands are preferred, with fashion and trends being left aside. This shopper never buys more than he needs. Price is a key decision factor, so plenty of comparison shopping is done. Preferably at familiar stores, nearby and with plenty of parking. Well-known webstores can be an alternative, for electronic appliances, media and entertainment, and insurance policies. What this shopper loves: warranties, service, trustmarks and speedy delivery options.

Passive shoppers tend to dislike shopping, a necessary evil, like the dentist. If it can be put off, it will be. Purchases are often decided last-minute and haphazardly. One-stop shopping is preferable, an (online) department store is best. Ease and familiarity of trusted stores, brands and goods, that’s what matters most.

Nobody is just one kind of shopper, but what all onlife shoppers have in common is customer loyalty. Because of the need to share information with retailers, consumers are going to become more selective in which businesses they choose to share their precious information with. Retailer loyalty program have latched on to this trend – with Amazon Prime and its unparalleled success the perfect example of paid customer loyalty.

This is blog 28, based on my book ‘The end of online shopping. The future of retail in an always connected world’, published by Business Contact (Dutch/Flemish editions), Nubiz (English edition) Post & Telecom Publishers, Beijing (Chinese edition). The book will also be translated into Danish, German, Italian and Portuguese in 2018.