Increase Sales by Designing Your Ecommerce Website for These 5 Customer Types

If you designed your ecommerce site with one or two types of customers in mind, then you’re probably not getting great results. Why is that?

Reality is, outside of your audience’s demographics and psychographics that you should consider, there are five basic types of customers that exist for every single ecommerce business. Understanding and designing an experience that handles each one will maximize your conversion rate and improve your sales.

In this post we will discuss those five customer types and how to design your ecommerce site to accommodate each so that you can see more sales.

The Difference Between Customer Avatars and Buyer Types

We always advise ecommerce brands to know their customers very well and to have their customer avatars dialed in. This allows you to understand who you’re marketing to, how to communicate value to them, and what they need to make a purchase. This step is a prerequisite to what we’re discussing today, so be sure to check out this post if that currently feels hazy in your business.

Now even if you have determined who your customers are and the demographic and psychographic information that comes with them, there are still different types of shoppers and buyers out there. Each has a different mindset when it comes to shopping. The key is to design a site that accommodates each one in order to maximize conversions. Let’s unpack each below— two different types of shoppers, and three types of buyers.

The Two Types of Shoppers Your Site Must Accommodate

Everyone shops differently, but there are two basic types of shoppers that you must account for on your site.

Shopper Type #1: The Browser
This is the person who doesn’t know exactly what they want yet. They will need to learn about your products and your brand, and then be led through an experience that gets them to the right product. All of this needs to be done as quickly as possible before they get distracted and jump ship.

For this shopper you’ll need to strike a balance between facilitating browsing while getting them to the right place quickly. It’s also important not to overwhelm them.

To accomplish this, you’ll want to make sure you have the perfect ecommerce homepage so that they can learn as much as they want but also be directed to the right place to start shopping. You’ll also want your navigation, product organization, category listing pages, and product pages organized in clean and logical ways.

Shopper Type #2: The Laser
This is the person who knows exactly what they are looking for. They may or may not know the exact product they need, but they have a purpose for coming to your site today. For that reason, they’re more action motivated than browsing motivated, and they will be easily frustrated by hiccups.

To accommodate this shopper, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t frustrate them with too much information or poor navigation. Make sure your search functionality works really well and your navigation is clean and well-organized. Your category listing pages should be easily scannable and have filtering and sorting options available. Product detail pages should provide the right info needed to make a purchase decision and laid out well. And of course, make sure your checkout process is quick and easy (Shopify Plus does very well with this).

The 3 Types of Buyers Your Site Must Accommodate

The final three types of people to keep in mind when designing your website are buyer types. These correlate with the three stages of buying that customers walk through. Your site must be able to handle all three if you want to avoid losing potential customers.

Buyer Type #1: The NOW Buyer
As the name suggests, this is someone who is ready to buy now. This doesn’t automatically mean they are also a laser shopper. They could be a browser, but the key is that they have a pain or a need that they have decided needs to be solved right now. Most “now” buyers aren’t concerned with price; they just want to feel confident they’ll get the result they want.

For this buyer, ensure your site experience is simple, clean, and easy to use. Make all information needed to make a purchase decision very obvious. To help them buy now, provide the right descriptions, features and benefits, answers to FAQs, and shipping and return policies. Make it clear what steps they need to take to piece together their order and follow the steps to checkout.

Buyer Type #2: The SOON Buyer
This is someone who would like to buy something but lacks urgency. Without urgency, this person will be easily distracted and must be moved to (by you) in order to decide to purchase today (or anytime soon).

To help get this type of customer over the line, you’ll need to have your irresistable ecommerce offer dialed in— including some type of urgency, a value stack, a compelling price, and trust-building elements. Definitely limit distractions on your site as much as possible for this customer too.

Just as important, make sure you have a way to capture their email address early on (likely a homepage pop-up with an entry offer). Then, follow up with important email automations such as the pre-purchase sequence to tell them more about your brand and products, and an abandon cart sequence if they leave something in their cart.

Buyer Type #3: The LATER Buyer
This is someone who is not ready to buy now. They may be planning or just dreaming for the future.

For this person, adding pressure is not effective, because the time isn’t right. The key is capturing a way to stay in contact with them (through an email pop-up) and then have email content ready to educate them about your brand, create a relationship with them, and build trust. This requires a great email strategy, as well as a variety of interesting offers to help move them over the line. If you stay in touch with compelling messaging, you’ll be top of mind for them when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Create a More Effective Ecommerce Selling Experience Today

Understanding the five types of customers your store should cater to and what mindset each type has is critical for increasing purchases. If you ensure the elements each customer type needs are present on your store, your website and marketing will be way more effective.

If you would like to see how all five types are accommodated in the perfect ecommerce website, click HERE for access to our Perfect Ecommerce Website series, free for a limited time. This is a series of guides we have built after 10 years of experience building ecommerce websites for hundreds of major brands.


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