Survey Finds Five ‘Shopper Personalities’

Understanding the personality of your targeted shopper is the first step toward effective retail marketing.

“While demographics matter very little, there are two critical personality dimensions that will define shoppers in the new shopping reality,” said Wendy Liebmann, chief executive officer of WSL Strategic Retail, a retail and marketing strategy firm. “There are people who lived within their means during the recession and will continue to do so, and those with the shopping gene who live to shop and will do it a lot.”

In a recently released survey, 2010 How America Shops MegaTrends Study, The Odyssey Begins to the New Retail World, WSL identifies five shopper personalities:

– Shop-a-Lot Sue. She loves to shop, and although she has limited means — a household income of $60,000 — this is “not a deal breaker,” the survey found. “Sue knows she doesn’t have much to spend, so she shops smart, which lets her buy more.” She often opts for online options or chooses mass merchants such as Wal-Mart or even dollar stores. “She’s given up her aspirations for big-name brands and is OK with less.”

– Miserable Mona, who also has a household income of around $60,000. She is “so jaded by her financial situation that she finds no pleasure in shopping. Making ends meet is a constant struggle.” Although she, too, shops at discount or dollar stores, she doesn’t use online tools to help her.

Although both Sue and Mona are discount-store shoppers, retailers are better served marketing to Sue with coupons and sales promotions. “As a bargain hunter, she will return again and again to the places that reward her hunt,” the survey found. Merchants should also strive to make their stores as attractive as possible and offer as much “aspirational merchandise” as possible to appeal to this shopper.

– I’ll Pass Patty, who is apathetic about shopping and views it as a necessity. She has an above-average household income of $90,000 but lives within her means. She often opts for online shopping to avoid having to go to stores. “To her, smart shopping is no shopping,” the survey said. “Low price is important, but not if it means having to shop around.”

– Bubble Barbie, who spent the recession living in a bubble, ignoring everything and continuing to shop. Her household income averages $72,000, and she visits stores often although her debt level is high. “Bubble Barbie is the best reason to keep doing attractive displays of new products that stop her in the aisle and add more to her basket,” the survey said. “Sales and discounts are good, but not necessary for her to buy.”

– Chic Chic Charlotte, who has a high household income, around $101,000, and loves to shop. But even she was impacted by the recession and will buy less than she had in the past. “The more affluent have developed a case of retail guilt. She is not as spendthrift as she was in the Nineties. Reassure her that you are offering her value.”