Eight Primal Shopping Typologies
Traditional customer segmentation research has a single starting point. But all shoppers are not created equal. The smart retailer will take a broader perspective and look at the consumer’s worldview as she enters the realm of the brand. We call it measuring Cultureography; a look at the systems shoppers use to make buying decisions and place emotional value on brands.
There are eight distinct Primal Shopper Typologies.*
Once they have discovered and embraced you, Advocates (8% of American consumers) will lobby on your behalf. They’ll go from “loving” your brand to getting their friends to do the same. But they’re also demanding, likely to speak out against you if you fail them in even the slightest way.
In the traditional sense, Conventionals (9% of American consumers) follow rules and aspire appropriately. They not only need rules to follow, they also need to see that everyone else is “playing fairly.”
Sophisticates (10% of American consumers) are the shoppers who are willing to pay a premium to have the very best. However, once you have a Sophisticate as a customer, they own you. From their perspective, no demand they make is too great. They’ll expect to be treated as if they are your one and only customer. Among the typologies, Sophisticates are perhaps the most individually focused.
Gradualists (10% of American consumers) move at their own pace and refuse to “put all their eggs in one basket.” They are interested in purchases, not relationships. You can go broke trying to grow your share of their wallet, so forget up-selling or cross-selling. And never expect a Gradualist to join a loyalty program or accept a membership card.
Student shoppers (10% of American consumers) are customers who study everything relating to every decision in great detail. They thrive on data and frequently replace action with information; think of them as “perpetual ponderers” who are more likely to read your literature than buy your product or service.
Mechanists (17% of American consumers) work the system. They’ll actively pursue every advantage in everything you do. A typical Mechanist shopper will take the time to notice the lack of appropriate small print in your “Buy One, Get One FREE” offer and insist on a full refund on item “A” (while fully intending on keeping item “B”). To keep them interested you need to give them something to discover – over and over again.
Despite the fact that they may not actually have it, money is no object for Indulgent shoppers (18% of American consumers). They spend big to buy what gives them the greatest personal pleasure – often at the expense of other facets of their lives. Consider the owner of a used, 36-foot yacht who lives in a 900-square-foot home. Indulgents are most likely to accept credit and least likely to make the payments as time goes on.
And, finally, there are the Caretakers (18% of American shoppers). These shoppers are about simply maintaining. They’ll replace and repair only when unavoidable, and if they can get by without making a purchase, they will. Among the typologies, this one can be hard to reach unless you’re speaking right to essential products.