For Business

Do you know the shoppers visiting your site?

Three shopper archetypes to know to help build brand loyalty and strengthen customer relationships.

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We recently covered the power of customer segmentation as a strategy that online brands can use to more effectively engage shoppers by dividing them into smaller groups.

Developing a high-level customer segmentation strategy that yields actionable insights based on demographic and psychographic data can be a complex process with many moving parts. An adjacent, additive angle to consider when getting to know the types of shoppers on your site is archetypes.

Long a staple in marketing research, archetypes and personas help brands better understand the motivations of different types of customers that interact with their brand.

To help you get a sense of the types of shoppers that are likely visiting your online store, our Buy with Prime shopper experience optimization (SXO) team created three shopper archetypes based on insights gleaned from studying the behaviors of online shoppers. At the intersection of search engine optimization (SEO), conversion rate optimization (CRO), and user experience (UX) design, SXO is a hot space that can help online brands gain a considerable advantage over the competition.

Three crucial shopper archetypes

According to an ongoing internal study led by Amazon’s UX Research Principal, Reece Dano, most ecommerce customers fall into three main archetypes: the Ethical shopper, the Quality shopper, and the Economic shopper.

“These archetypes help us understand how people are making decisions, why they’re making decisions, and how they make tradeoffs,” Dano says. “But they’re not fixed segmentations. Shopper motivations can change based on context and needs, and they often might have multiple motivations going on at once, depending on factors like product category, price sensitivity, and how urgently they need something.”

For example, Dano says, an Ethical shopper who wants an eco-friendly product right away might choose a shipping option that’s less environmentally friendly for the sake of convenience. Then, that same person might put on their Economic shopper hat when motivated to look for the lowest price because their budget is tight.

Approaching your SXO strategy with enough flexibility to accommodate elements of all three archetypes can help increase your chances of building strong connections with the diverse set of shoppers that visit your ecommerce site. Here are some insights to help you cater your site design to resonate across the different archetypes.

Archetype 1: Ethical shoppers

Ethical shoppers look to support businesses that match their personal values. These shoppers say that they spend anywhere between 5 to 15% more for a product that aligns with their values, so typically they’re not overly price sensitive. But they’re also willing to make compromises when convenience and urgency become driving motivations.

Ethical shoppers turn to ecommerce sites because the information that they require might feel buried in the competing signals of a marketplace interface or in the noise of social media.

“If you have a values-oriented business model, whether you’re a merchant selling sustainable products, a black-owned business, or a small business owner, you need to make that front and center on your site,” Dano says.

Businesses should be transparent about what they stand for and make that information immediately obvious and accessible to consumers. Ethical shoppers want to connect with your brand on a personal level, and the more insights you can offer them about the values that drive your brand, the better your chances that they’ll engage.

Dano advises to make your mission prominent as it can help build brand trust quickly and help customers understand both what your brand is about and whether it aligns with their values.

“Lifestyle imagery can also be really helpful in communicating what you want your brand to represent,” says Dano.

“Ethical shoppers tend to explore your site and brand from several different angles before they even get to searching, browsing, or evaluating products. They’ll most likely look at your social media channels to verify that you espouse your values in day-to-day conversations with customers.”

It’s important that your brand and content are consistently reinforcing that value messaging across all your channels. Dano notes that shoppers should also be able to easily identify and learn about any causes or organizations that a brand partners with or supports.

If you’re selling products that have any kind of climate or sustainability certification, be as explicit as possible about how those certifications are accredited and why it’s important for your brand.

“Of course, your whole brand doesn’t have to be about a specific, value-based issue,” Dano says. “You can choose to feature a set of products from a particular manufacturer, or explain that a certain percentage of a sale is donated to a specific cause—and tell them clearly how it works. It’s very important for the Ethical shopper to know where their money is going and that it’s a reflection of their values.”

Key take away: Showcasing your brand values presents an opportunity to lean into Ethical shopper expectations.

Archetype 2: Quality shoppers

The Quality shopper is motivated to find authentic, high-quality products that last, even if the product isn’t particularly expensive. They want to know that the product is as good as described, and that they’re willing to pay more for that peace of mind.

Quality shoppers want to avoid risk as much as possible and deeply consider their purchases. Some quality-focused shoppers might even fear that shopping on social media or a marketplace could increase their chances of accidentally purchasing a counterfeit item. They’re often driven to ecommerce sites because they’re looking for a higher level of thoroughness that they feel small-to-medium (SMB) businesses offer in terms of trustworthy or believable product information.

Capturing Quality shoppers in the evaluation stage comes down to establishing trust--quickly. “These are shoppers who might find it difficult to commit to a purchase,” says Dano. “They’re looking at everything in a very thoughtful, methodical way. It could take weeks for them to make a higher consideration purchase, and they often search multiple merchants at the same time. Some of the more meticulous ones actually create spreadsheets so that they can compare products.”

You can gain their confidence with thorough, detailed product descriptions that focus on quality attributes. Detailed product images are also crucial, particularly when it comes to establishing what’s known as perceived quality. Many consumers zoom in on product images so that they can see the details of the fabric, stitching, finish, and materials. Even better, they love to see images or videos of the product being used by a real person.

In fact, most Quality shoppers search for customer-generated reviews, with 76% of surveyed people saying they “always” or “regularly” read online reviews for local businesses. These shoppers look for social proof of quality and they want to see reviews from actual people like them who purchased a product. Learn how Reviews from Amazon for Buy with Prime can help you add the social proof to connect and engage shoppers on your ecommerce site.

“It also helps to know who this quality shopper is on your site,” says Dano. “Knowing their demographics, lifestyles, product affinities, and purchasing behaviors allows you to highlight real reviews from other customers who share similar attributes.”

Having clear money-back return policies and product warranties with familiar shipping and payment options, also go a long way in sweetening the pot for Quality shoppers.

Buy with Prime’s trusted and transparent delivery, free and easy returns, and A-to-z guarantee are an ideal fit.

“In the absence of complete trust in the product quality or the merchant, the Amazon guarantee gives them the confidence that they can go ahead and make a purchase even if they’re not 100% sure,” Dano says.

Key take away: Add explicit details about quality attributes that make the items unique (e.g., how materials are sourced) to the product detail page, and back them up with relevant social proof to engage Quality shoppers.

Archetype 3: Economic shoppers

The Economic shopper is on the hunt for the lowest price possible or the best deal overall. They see finding the “deal” as a game and gain a sense of accomplishment when they score. They may seek out ecommerce sites because they believe they can find a better deal there. Economic shoppers sign up for email promotions to get a discount, but that doesn’t mean they’re loyal—they may immediately unsubscribe after they’ve won the deal.

“To turn them into repeat customers, you’ve got to give them more long-term savings, things like subscriptions, rewards and loyalty programs, discounted bundles, coupons and promotions, or freebies. They’re really motivated by anything you can give them for free.”

Economic shoppers are also more prone to fear missing out on promotions that create urgency, like limited-time offers that require them to “act now.”

But the same impulse that drives Economic shoppers to constantly look for too-good-to-be-true prices can also lead them to get scammed. They’re more likely to fall prey to unscrupulous online merchants and dropshippers, particularly through social media.

Anything you can do to assuage their fears and convince them of your brand’s legitimacy can lead to more conversions. That includes having a genuine, active social media presence; clearly indicating where your business is located and where the product ships from; and offering trusted payment options.

But most importantly, a polished website devoid of pop-up ads, BIG bold text, and typos, is an effective way to establish trust with Economic shoppers.

Key take away: Spotlight deals and discounts, but don’t skimp on the polish of your brand and simplicity of how Economic shoppers experience your site.

Casting a wide net

As Dano notes, brands tend to focus too much attention on shoppers motivated by deals—often at the expense of the other types of shoppers that visit their ecommerce site.

“I’m seeing that a lot of merchants offer promotions and discounts to capture emails or to get shoppers to convert right now. That’s great, but I don’t see a lot of strategic effort invested in speaking to the Ethical or Quality shoppers,” he says.

“It’s important that merchants not forget about shoppers who prefer to pay a higher price for quality and values that resonate,” advises Dano. “Merchants should make sure that they have all their bases covered for the different motivators for each archetype, as they present another lever they can pull to drive sales. They should be asking ‘How do I speak to these shoppers who aren’t just driven by a deal?’”

Build trust with all types of shoppers

Customers of all types evaluate the overall appearance of your website, products, and story to build their perception of your brand. They’re looking for trust signals, and that means a clean-looking site that’s easy to navigate. If the checkout journey is overly complex and shoppers are greeted with endless pop-up ads, the chances of abandonment are higher.

“Shoppers want your site to look polished and professional,” Dano says. “You definitely can’t have any kind of poorly edited content or grammatical or spelling mistakes. These are signals to them that they’ve got to get out of there.”

Shoppers across the three archetypes also look at your product cohesiveness. “If you’re a brand that offers a grab bag of every kind of product under the sun and there’s no thematic organization, it’s very suspicious. It stems from the mistrust of dropshipping, and it might signal that you’re a fly-by-night operation,” Dano says.

Trust, convenience, and brand consistency are paramount, and getting those elements right can be crucial to capture the attention of any type of shopper. Today’s consumers want a quick and easy checkout, fast shipping, and the ability to track their order.

With Buy with Prime, merchants can use the trust of Prime—and its reputation around the world for hassle-free checkout, fast and transparent delivery estimates, and easy returns – to build shopper trust. As you optimize your website experience to appeal to all three shopper archetypes, Buy with Prime can become one the most powerful tools in your ecommerce arsenal.

Kelby Johnson