For Business

Seal the deal with cost-conscious shoppers

Insights to turn discounts and promotions into shopper conversions.


The more you understand what drives typical shopper behavior and decision making, the more effectively you can cater to the needs of the broadest possible pool of shoppers—and help boost sales in the process.

According to ongoing research conducted by the Buy with Prime Shopper Experience Team, the vast majority of consumers who visit your ecommerce site or interact with your brand fall into at least one or more of the three common shopper archetypes: ethical shoppers, quality shoppers, and economic shoppers.

We previously explored what motivates the purchasing behaviors of ethical shoppers, who look to support businesses that match their personal values, and quality shoppers, who put time and effort into finding the most authentic, high-quality products they can.

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

To wrap up our three-part shopper archetype series, let’s take a closer look at the third, and arguably most pervasive, consumer of them all: economic shoppers, who are always on the hunt for the best price or deal.

“Out of the three archetypes, economic shoppers stand out,” notes Reece. “Most people, at one point or another, fall into this category, and that makes it, perhaps, the most important group of the three, so any brand seeking to grow their sales should try to find an effective approach to cater to them.”

Who is the economic shopper?

Nearly everyone exhibits at least a few of the core tendencies of the economic shopper. It might seem obvious, but the primary motivation of these consumers is to find the best deal overall or the lowest available price. Yet, when you drill down further into their key attitudes, a more complete picture of what drives these die-hard bargain hunters emerges.

For the economic shopper, doing the work to find the best price is always worth the effort. Finding a great deal gives them a feeling of accomplishment, not only because they believe in maximizing the value of their hard-earned money, but because they see the process of deal chasing itself as a game—that they always want to win.

These days, price matters most when it comes to making a purchasing decision, with 78% of Gen Z, 74% of millennials, 74% of Gen X, and 73% of Boomers saying that cost is one of the most important factors driving their buying habits, according to HubSpot’s State of US Consumer Trends report.

Although consumer confidence is on the rise, the cost of living remains a major concern for most people. According to McKinsey’s latest Consumer Pulse Survey, even though consumers are still spending, they’re also seeking savings, with 80% of respondents reporting that they’re changing their shopping behavior by trading down, which includes shopping in bulk and switching brands or retailers to find lower costs. PwC’s 2023 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey found that 90% of consumers are adopting cost-saving behaviors.

Coupled with the proliferation of digital coupons and promo codes—and the ease with which online shopping allows for price comparison—the number of economic shoppers is only growing.

Merchants who don’t take steps to reach this shopper segment are missing out on a big slice of the ecommerce pie. Of course, simply slashing prices or running endless promotions isn’t a viable strategy for most online brands. But getting inside the minds of economic shoppers can help you gain an edge.

Tapping into the findings and feedback (see bold quotes) from our shopper experience research, here’s a breakdown of six typical attitudes exhibited by shoppers who prioritize cost over nearly everything else.

1. Top priority is to minimize cost

“I seek to take advantage of discounts, promotional codes, and free shipping. I’m especially motivated by sales, and I will delay a purchase (or add it to my wish list) until it’s discounted.”

More than 64% of online consumers wait to buy things until they go on sale, and according to one consumer survey, more than 90% of Americans say they actively search for a promo code or a digital coupon before making an online purchase.

Based on the results of a survey about customers’ wants in 2023, the Harvard Business Review recently advised, “To attract customers who are increasingly focused on financial responsibility, consider offering promotions, discounts, coupons, and flexible payment options.”

If you aren’t already spotlighting seasonal sales, tracking competitive pricing to offer data-driven deals, and using semi-regular discounts to fuel engagement on your ecommerce site, there’s never been a better time to start than now.

What’s more, promotions are a great way to spotlight new products, acquire new customers, and clear out excess inventory. Read this helpful guide for using Buy with Prime promotions to engage Prime members on your site. Tapping into proven discount tactics can also help you connect with this shopper segment. Here are a few tips:

  • Share discounts in email AND social mediaEmail is still by far the most preferred method for consumers to receive discounts, with 80% of participants in one recent survey reporting that they sign up for email offers specifically for discounts. (Check out our tips for building effective promotional emails.) But particularly among younger generations, consumers are also increasingly discovering discount codes through social media platforms and influencers.
  • Experiment with single-use couponsMany ecommerce providers and third-party sources offer personalized, single-use coupon and promo code generators, so you can avoid some of the code searching issues that were once a ubiquitous problem for online businesses. (If you’re a BigCommerce merchant, check out this guide.)
  • Fight cart abandonment with promosShoppers are more likely to purchase products abandoned in shopping carts when those products are later offered at a lower price. Promotions can close the deal when economic shoppers are undecided, and remarketing can be an effective tactic to reengage shoppers. So send them an email or use segments offered by social media platforms to make them aware of price drops on products they left in their cart. Buy with Prime merchants using Klaviyo can use the automated abandoned checkout flow to reengage shoppers who dropped off.
  • Offer free shipping and fast deliveryPerhaps more than any other factor, economic shoppers are turned off by shipping fees and having to meet steep minimums to get free shipping. Return shipping or restocking fees are also particularly problematic for them. Offering free 1–2 day shipping and easy returns through Buy with Prime instantly removes that friction point for price-conscious consumers. In fact, 73% of consumers on the whole say free shipping greatly impacts their decision to purchase.

2. Long-term savings matter

“In addition to getting an immediate lower price, I also check to see if I can save money over time through subscriptions, rewards programs, discounted bundles, and getting freebies for spending over a certain amount.”

According to a 2022 survey, 70% of Americans considered loyalty programs a leading factor in securing their loyalty towards their favorite brands, with more than 50% saying they are likely to increase their participation in such programs. But the vast majority also expect discounts, free shipping, exclusive early access to products, valuable perks, prizes and benefits, and to earn points and rewards.

For merchants, loyalty or rewards programs offer an opportunity to turn economic shoppers, who are typically less loyal, into more faithful customers over time.

As a matter of fact, 79% of consumers now participate in at least one brand or store membership, subscription or loyalty program, and 77% of them buy more products from brands they have relationships with than from those they do not.

As Reece Dano puts it, “To turn economic shoppers into repeat customers, you have to give them more long-term savings, things like subscriptions, rewards and loyalty programs, discounted bundles, coupons and promotions, or freebies. They’re motivated by anything that you can give them for free.”

For all shoppers, but especially for economic shoppers, the key is to make it easy for them to understand potential savings and benefits. How much can they save by subscribing? What perks can they get if they join your loyalty program? Making the savings and rewards concrete can help increase your chances of turning a shopper into a loyal customer.

3. They don’t like to miss out

“Although I tend to carefully budget, I sometimes impulse buy if I don’t want to miss out on a good deal. These are typically limited to inexpensive products ($25 or less). I’m most likely to make an impulse buy on social media or in the store.”

More than other types of consumers, economic shoppers are more likely to be driven by a fear of missing out on promotions that create urgency, including limited-time offers that require them to act. Short-duration discounts and sales encourage impulse buys among economic shoppers.

According to survey data from Slickdeals, in 2022, just 32% of consumers polled reported that they would only make impulse purchases if an item was on sale. By 2023, the share of consumers who made the same claim had grown to 58%.

So, lean into the FOMO mindset, and experiment with ways to create urgency to garner a greater share of impulse buying for your online brand.

4. Deals to capture shopper information

“Although being asked for my email address or phone number can be annoying, I will give this information away if I think the savings are good enough.”

According to a 2022 study from Capterra, 85% of online shoppers say they will trade data for discounts.

Economic shoppers are easily incentivized and willing to exchange information for savings. Take advantage of the opportunity to capture valuable customer information, insights, and analysis, and to build your email list. With this information, you can reach out again later with tempting, personalized offers and more personalized marketing campaigns that can help you build lasting relationships with these customers.

According to the same Capterra study, 86% of online shoppers are also more likely to try a new business if they have a coupon, and 85% are willing to leave a customer review for a discount.

5. The least loyal of the bunch

“I will happily switch to another brand or store any time I can achieve savings. My priority on discounts leads to surface-level relationships with retailers. For example, I commonly sign up for a newsletter to receive a coupon and then immediately unsubscribe.”

The bad news for brands seeking to build a loyal following is that cost-conscious shoppers seek out other ecommerce sites when they believe that they can find a better deal. They might sign up for email promotions to get a discount, but that doesn’t mean they’re loyal—many online shoppers unsubscribe after they got the deal that prompted them to engage. In the context of loyalty and lifetime value, economic shoppers are less valuable than their quality and ethical counterparts.

“One way to get the economic shopper to come back is to offer discounts, rewards programs, and—most importantly—convenience, such as free 1–2 day shipping, easy returns, and a streamlined checkout experience,” Reece explains. “While economic shoppers are willing to go through some hoops to get discounts, like filling out forms and providing personal information, removing friction from the final checkout process conveys to your shoppers that you’re meeting their core needs for savings and convenience.”

6. Deals that are just too good

“Sometimes products with the lowest prices really are illusions. I’ve fallen for a scam or two while trying to get a great deal.”

Sometimes prices and deals that are too good to be true are simply that. More than other shopper archetypes, economic shoppers are more likely to get burned by unscrupulous online merchants, often through social media. Those who have been scammed before tend to take extra care to ensure a merchant is legitimate. Your job is to give them confidence.

Avoid the common trust busters that tend to make any type of shopper suspicious. Your site layout should be easy to navigate, polished, well-organized, and free from pop-up ads, oversized fonts, and typos. Offer a cohesive way for shoppers to explore the range of your products, use high-quality imagery, and ensure that your product descriptions are free of grammatical errors.

Cultivate an active social media presence, and offer trusted payment options. And to boost those trust signals, check out our two blogs that share shopper UX best practices:

And regardless of the types of shoppers that you want to engage, authenticity and transparency are always ingredients to a winning ecommerce strategy.

After you win their attention with great deals and free shipping, economic shoppers want the assurance of trust, convenience, and brand consistency. Buy with Prime, together with a data-driven promotional strategy, empowers merchants like you to deliver a Prime shopping experience loved by millions directly on your ecommerce site. Tapping into the free 1–2 day shipping, transparent delivery estimates, and the trust of Prime can be an effective way for you to attract and convert cost-conscious shoppers.

Learn more about Buy with Prime.

Kelby Johnson