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6 types of e-commerce shoppers

Guest post from Jake Rheude of Red Stag Fulfillment discusses how private brands can retain specific e-commerce shoppers.

Bringing in more customers starts with understanding who is looking at your private label products. And when thinking about growing store brands online, attracting different types of shoppers requires understanding shoppers' motivations and needs.

Online stores exist in a very competitive marketplace, where customers can compare your offerings with competitors with just a quick Google search. To keep those buyers in your store, appealing to different shopper personas will help you broaden your appeal and retain more business. There are also many best practices to keep in mind for your e-commerce business when it comes to customer retention.

But here are six common buyer personas to consider when promoting store brands online:

1. Bargain Hunters
This shopper cares a lot about money, but they aren't looking for a cheap product either — a sweet spot of private brands. Shoppers that are bargain hunters will look at the value of your offerings, trying to get the most bang for their buck. Customers with this persona will most likely compare your prices and offerings to your competitors, and you will need to convince them that your offerings have better value than the others.

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For private label companies, bargain hunters can be golden. This audience wants the value that you can provide while offering the same quality as on-shelf goods. They respond well to comparisons on ingredients and effectiveness.

To appeal to bargain hunters, create value by offering rewards points and loyalty offerings. Creating reward-based incentives help show appreciation for being a loyal customer, convincing bargain hunters that buying with you (and continuing to buy with you) holds additional value. Another way to add this value is to create promotional pricing strategies, such as adding free gifts with the purchase or creating product bundle offers to create more perceived value.

Flash sales that imply a small time window work as do surprise sales that can pull sales in. A predictable sale schedule can help pull people in repeatedly, not just once, such as end-of-season sales.

2. Online Browsers (aka Window Shoppers)
The online browser persona is often pursuing different websites to kill time. Often they aren't convinced they will be buying something when you approach your store, but these shoppers may be daydreaming about things they want to buy later. You can think of online browsers as the equivalent of window shoppers, using your website for brainstorming or entertainment rather than planning on spending money that day. To convince these customers to spend money, you often have to make an emotional connection to them or give them an extremely positive experience to bring them back when they are finally ready to buy.

To bring the tentative online browser back or to persuade them into a store brand purchase, having an elevated user experience is paramount. Since they are using your website partially for entertainment, they will quickly be turned away if your website loads slowly or is hard to navigate. Try to optimize your loading time, and implement straightforward, intuitive ways to filter and search your product lines. You should aim to optimize for self-service browsing and shopping.

Another way to appeal to online browsers is to focus on top-notch copy. Having evocative product copy can help emotionally attach buyers to the product, just as copy stories about the company or the product lines can help create brand loyalty through emotional investment. Excellent copy will help reel in shoppers looking for something unique, which speaks to them on a deeper level than dry, baseline product copy.

If you’re selling private label goods, focus on that aspect in your copy. This could be describing personal care items as “salon quality,” or creating sections specific to your brands. Creating a section of your site or clickable category for private label items can help shoppers start looking more closely at your brand to build awareness.

3. Impulse Buyers
An impulse buyer is likely to visit a site and make a purchase without much product research or premeditation. Buyers who are likely to impulse buy may have seen an ad or email from your team and made a snap, emotionally charged purchase. Impulse buyers will often leave your store with smaller carts and are less likely to have patterns in their shopping habits.

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To attract and prompt impulse buyers, use promotional pricing strategies to incentivize quick purchases. Free shipping thresholds and low-price options will be the most attractive incentives for impulse-driven personas who will turn away from small purchases with hefty shipping fees or product pricing. To increase impulse buyers' cart sizes, include small "add-to-cart" purchases as they check out to entice them to grab one or two small items.

Impulse shoppers allow you to take advantage of one of the core benefits for private label goods: price control. Leverage those capabilities at every chance, starting with your marketing and incentives. Don’t forget that shopping carts now often can include suggestions for customers to add something else to their cart just before checkout. Create a digital version of the candy and magazine racks that still dominate registers at grocery stores.

4. Cause Supporters
Sustainability and eco-friendly e-commerce is becoming more popular. Many shoppers care about the ethical mission of a company and what they are doing to better the world. Cause supporters will spend more money supporting a good cause and will take the extra time and money to support companies that work toward the ethical missions they care about.

Highlighting your sustainability, charity, or mission statement on the front and center of your website is a great way to attract cause supporters and to show people that you make a positive impact. Along with describing your ethical impact on your website, send marketing campaigns such as newsletters that convey your company's dedicated efforts to support this mission. Make it clear that you are serious about this mission and knowledgeable about the topic.

5. Single-Mission Shoppers
Some shoppers who come to your site are already wholly sure what kind of product they want to purchase. Single-missions shoppers, also known as need-based or list shoppers, already have a specific pain point to solve with a particular product. For example, this shopper may have discovered they have run out of a particular product and are simply looking to replenish that item. The difficulty with single-mission shoppers is to convince them to add more items to their cart before checking out.

One way to increase average order size (AOV) for this persona is to create product gift guides to help inspire them. Show them why they need a private brand item, and these much more utility-minded shoppers will be more likely to buy! You also can cross-promote, showing them products related to or frequently purchased with what they are buying, especially across a private brand portfolio. Thankfully, guides can prioritize your private label options.

6. Loyal Customers
It is significantly easier to retain loyal customers than to recruit new ones. Retention after bringing in different shoppers is crucial to keeping a healthy, growing customer base. Loyal customers already like your brand for their reasons but should be rewarded for their continued business. Appeal to them by showing them that you recognize them and what they have done for your company.

Creating loyalty benefits private label goods significantly. Perform well when people first try your lines and you reduce barriers for repeat sales. While there are marketing, sales and discount elements you can try, start with focusing on high-quality production. The better your products are, the more you have a chance to create long-lasting loyalty.

Implementing loyalty and rewards programs is a great way to make your long-term customers feel like you recognize them and give them added value. Consider adding these customers to a marketing email segment and offering them early-access promotions, exclusive discount codes, and behind-the-scenes looks at upcoming products.

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Jake Rheude is the vice president of marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of e-commerce. He has years of experience in e-commerce and business development.

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