No two shoppers are the same. While some make impulse decisions based on emotions, others take a while to choose where and how to spend their money. Then there are those that just leave everything for the last minute and wing it.
The eCommerce landscape continues to evolve, and the diversity of shopping journeys from research to purchase seems more complex and ever more unique to the individual. Regardless, what’s certain is that shopper types still exist, and defining who comes to your store is crucial for every retailer as they all have different inklings and respond to different cues.
In this guide, we'll go through the five most common types of holiday shoppers and the SMS & email strategies to win them over.
The Early-Bird Shopper
Shopping is almost like a ritual for early birds, consisting of numerous steps spread out evenly throughout the pre-holiday season. Early birds like to start planning their shopping well in advance, and while some are still trying to find the answer to “What will I buy for the holidays,” these shoppers have already planned everything down to the last detail.
Early birds like to take their time and come prepared with detailed lists. They do their due diligence and shop consciously, uninspired by the usual marketing tricks like urgency, scarcity, and fear of missing out (FOMO).
What’s valuable to early-bird shoppers is that they’d make their purchases easily and will be the first to buy a product without worrying if their size, style, or favorite color will be available. They may miss out on massive discounts, but having the advantage of the best selection and unlimited product availability is а substantial enough benefit for them.
Early birds also value their time, which makes them the perfect online shopper. Time is money. They’d do anything to avoid the crowds and long checkout times, which is why they’d be happy to opt in for the online equivalent. By starting their shopping earlier, they’ll be able to kick back and enjoy quality time with their family and friends while others are still frantically surfing the web for some last-minute gifts.
How to Market to Early-Bird Shoppers?
While not driven by discounts and sales, early birds will give anything for a smooth shopping experience, a quick checkout process, and relevant product recommendations. They’d be excited to join your SMS & email program if that would mean getting timely notifications about new product drops, back-in-stock alerts, and an early pass to your collections.
Make sure you appeal to your early bird shoppers as soon as they hit your website. A Christmas-themed dynamic pop-up collecting both phone numbers and email addresses and promising timely updates and access to the newest inventory will surely get under their skin. Use Smart Capture to allow new and existing subscribers to opt in for updates they are really interested in.
Once they sign up for your special holiday offers, send your new subscribers a conversational welcome message to assist them with their shopping research. Ask questions they’ve probably already asked themselves, and point them to the right products. Things like “what are you here for,” and “who are you shopping for,” will immediately get them into a shopping state of mind.
Early-bird shoppers might even go as far as adding things to their cart but leave it to do some more research elsewhere. Remember – they have enough time and can afford an extra day or two of investigation. That’s why you need to ensure you send them an abandoned checkout reminder, but not too soon – the notification should come a few hours later to remind them their cart is still waiting for them. You can add a small incentive such as $10 off or free shipping to ease their spirit.
Unlike early-bird shoppers, deal seekers love a good bargain and can spend days and weeks hunting for one. While it might not be the only thing that gets them, a substantial discount will surely drive them to act. Roughly every one in five people classifies as a deal-seeker, making this group a significant target audience for your brand.
Being price-conscious, this type of customer usually consolidates all of their shopping around major sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, and other known, sales-driven holidays. While that might be the usual case, they should not be confused with practical shoppers who never stray away from their shopping list, where everything is calculated to the last penny. Deal seekers will buy all year round if some good deals come their way. That’s because self-gifting and surprises are just as important to them.
Driven by sales and savings, deal seekers are often more prone to do everything online, as the internet is a one-stop shop for all their bargain hunting.
How to Market to Deal Seekers
Led by their desire to save a buck or two, deal seekers are open to getting their special promotions anywhere. They want to be the first to hear about them, which is a great reason to get them to subscribe to your SMS or email program. Promise you’ll send them a message every time you run a big sale, and they’ll hop right in. Invite them to your loyalty program to get even better deals, and they’ll rush to join in.
You can easily lure out bargain hunters with special holiday deals that emphasize how much they will be saving and the exclusivity of the discount. Bundle deals and volume discounts are a great way to appeal to deal seekers, who are always after getting good value for their money.
Clearance and flash sales are other routes leading deal seekers to your online store. Having a limited amount of time (or access to limited inventory) to get a hold of the deals, they’ll act fast and without much hesitation.
Reach a larger pool of deal seekers by running promotions for longer. Extend your deals past the holidays, or set up a post-purchase upsell flow. That is an effective way to boost your store’s average order value while leaving your deal seekers satisfied from the unexpected steal they just took advantage of.
“I can do it next weekend” is procrastinators’ lifelong motto. Thrill seekers by nature, this type of shopper usually likes to take their sweet time and wait until they have single-digit days left before the holiday to do their gift shopping.
Always doing things at the very last second, this shopping group relies heavily on their phones to guide them on their final purchases for the holidays, as well as online stores and expedited shipping options for their eleventh-hour orders. They represent 50% of the world’s consumers, making them a massively important target group for your eCommerce business.
How to Market to Procrastinators
With procrastinating shoppers, you have two routes to choose from. One option is to try and lure them out with some really enticing deals they can’t afford to miss and drive them to make their purchases early on. With an all-time high number of people shopping online, doing everything you can to avoid adding to the shipping backlog could only benefit you.
Make sure you reach out to potential procrastinators with a timely SMS or email, reminding them of the upcoming holidays and urging them to complete their shopping now to avoid costly delivery, delays, or other worries. Try to be more of a friend and less of a marketer with this group, and avoid FOMO-driving CTAs. Instead, emphasize convenience and be clear about what you can offer your last-minute shoppers. Use words like “quick,” “easy,” “speedy,” “save time and energy,” “we’ve got you covered,” etc.
Procrastinating shoppers will respond even more positively to same-day fulfillment options like BOPIS (buy online, pick in store), same-day delivery, or alternative present options like gift cards, subscription boxes, etc.
Regardless of which route you decide to take, after-sales care is critical to keep these shoppers coming back to your store. Already stressed out because they might end up empty-handed, procrastinators need to know if any issues arise regarding their order. Using a brief text message to send order and shipping updates shows extra care and attention, which your last-minute shoppers will genuinely appreciate. Such transactional messages are equivalent to receiving a receipt after purchasing from a B&M store, and it will give customers the comfort that all is well taken care of. Don't forget to enable your SMS chat, too – it will serve as an additional touchpoint in case they need to reach out with a question.
Procrastinating shoppers are also a great source of raving reviews and user-generated content. Thankful that they found your store and got their gifts in time, they’ll be much more likely to leave a review and talk about their 5-star experience with your brand. A few days after, in the limbo days between Christmas and New Year, reach out to customers with an SMS Review Request and generate some valuable social proof. Review requests via text messages enjoy a 66% higher engagement rate than other channels, so success is almost guaranteed!
And then there are those people who like to spend their Sunday morning in bed, on their phone, jumping from site to site to see what’s new and cool. Shopping could easily be a hobby or a way to kill time while waiting in line at the doctor's office. These buyers rarely know what they’re looking for but are open to getting whatever catches their eye. They are savvy website users, self-sufficient, and don’t need you to hold their hand while they’re scrolling.
Still, there are some factors that can affect them and nudge them to shop.
How to Market to Browsers
To turn browsers into shoppers, you need to catch their attention immediately but in a clever way. And while a pop-up form is an excellent option for early birds, browsers require a different on-site attention-grabber. They don’t like to be interrupted while scrolling through your website, so embedding a footer form or a floating button is a much better option. Both will remain static and can accompany them as they’re hopping from product to product, but they won’t get in the way as they'll be strategically placed on the bottom of the page.
If this doesn’t work, you can stop them on their way out the door with an exit pop-up. This type of pop-up enjoys the highest engagement rate and is a proven method to get wandering customers back to your site.
If you don’t wish to make any website updates, an SMS browse abandonment flow is another excellent option for getting wandering shoppers back to your store. It will remind them of the last item they viewed and inspire them to return with the right deal, image, and CTA. You can time it, giving your browsing customers enough time to deliberate, but not too long, so they don’t run off to a competitor or lose focus.
Browsers are also visual shoppers – they respond well to creative and bold images, slogans, and CTAs. They are the ideal candidates for a beautifully branded MMS or email with tailored content that can take them straight to your website with a single click or tap on the phone. Don't forget to leverage FOMO and urgency to get your browsers all fired up and ready to shop.
Browsing shoppers don’t just go through different websites. They often check brands’ social media channels for exclusive picks and ideas. Take this opportunity to turn your social media followers into SMS subscribers with a simple keyword campaign or a social opt-in. When the time comes to shop, this type of customer doesn’t mind browsing around for just the right product, and with SMS so direct and immediate, it will help save some valuable time and unnecessary, well, browsing.
The Brand Loyalist
Lucky are the brands that can say they have a solid base of loyal customers. The loyal customer is a particularly important shopper profile subset due to their potential for profitability. It’s no secret that while a significantly smaller percentage of the overall customer pool, loyalists spend 67% more than your other site visitors.
Loyalty is a two-way street, though, and your customers know that and expect it from you. They won’t think of going to a competitor if they are satisfied with your service and are always the first to know about your greatest deals and newest product drops. Showing an effort to get to know them, provide them with the best experience, and overall – treat them like the important people they are will create an incentive to continue being affiliated with your brand.
How to Market to Brand Loyalists
The very first thing you can do to win your customers’ loyalty in the first place is to attempt to get to know them better, which starts the moment they become an SMS or email subscriber. Send them a welcome message, which doesn’t just serve as a notification that they’ve successfully enrolled in your program but is also a conversation starter. Again, a Conversational SMS flow will show them you’re determined to offer the best experience and product suggestions. This is bound to win them over as it saves them time and money but also gives them the same personalized treatment that online-only brands sometimes overlook.
Brand loyalists will appreciate it whenever you reach out to them with an exclusive pass to your upcoming sale or newest collection. Make it a habit to check the Campaign Calendar available in your Yotpo SMSBump account for the most important eCommerce events. Inside you’ll also find a creative SMS or email template to go with each of them.
To keep those loyal customers coming back (and bringing friends over), introduce them to your loyalty program. Get them to join with just a tap and explain all the VIP perks they will get from your brand. Reward them every time they make a new purchase: bonus loyalty points, gifts with purchase, exclusive BOGO deals, early access to some limited-stock items, samples, and more. Your rewards can have many faces, but they serve one purpose – to make loyalists feel appreciated.
And finally, you don’t want to let loyal customers churn, so don’t skip on having a winback flow running in the background. This way, in case they haven't shopped in a while, you can send a text message or an email to remind them of your brand and persuade them to return. A winback flow can shorten the distance between purchases and ultimately lower the churn rate for your store.
Now’s your turn
This was our take on the most known shopper types out there. And while we pointed out the general shopping breeds, remember that they sometimes overlap, especially in what drives them to purchase.
Early-bird shoppers could easily be stimulated to shop with a good discount, and deal seekers might not seek for long if they can get their shopping done early and with an offer that satisfies them. Procrastinators could be saved from their own selves with the right dose of FOMO and a good number of reminders, while browsers will crawl out of their browsing stage if you show them the value of purchasing from your store. And finally – loyalists can browse, wait for a deal, shop early or take their time, but they’ll remain your customer if you treat them with exclusivity and respect. Something which SMS and email can greatly help you with.