How to Target 6 Online Shopper Personalities

target shopper personailty

Online shoppers come in all shapes, sizes and styles. But, is your store still targeting all customers the same?

As more consumers shop from behind digital screens instead of in-store, identifying your customer base can be tricky. Liraz Margalit, customer experience psychologist at ClickTale, believes knowing who your customers are and targeting the right audience can be more difficult when you can’t see who the target is.

However, invisible audiences didn’t stop Margalit from noticing different personality traits. While online retailers can’t see their customers, data collected from users’ online activities provides a more in-depth analysis of who customers are and how they shop. “We all have clearly identifiable personalities when we shop online,” she says. “And our online behavior sends specific cues — just like our clothes, appearance and mannerisms would in real life — that can be crucial for companies to understand when targeting clients.”

Margalit’s six online shopper personalities outline how differently customers interested in the same items might shop. And, by recognizing the differences in shopper personalities, your store can enhance your online advertising campaigns by using the most effective targeting option and message for each shopping style.

Wish Lister

Wish Listers are retail daydreamers – always browsing, clicking, sharing and pinning merchandise but seldom buying. Most shopping cart abandonment can be attributed to those categorized as Wish Listers.

Win over Wish Listers by offering to make their dream purchases a reality. Coupons, discounts, free shipping and other incentives can motivate this personality type to go from digitally browsing to checking out. Try sending Wish Listers an email reminder showing the outstanding items left in their shopping cart with an incentive included. Retargeting these users when you run special offers will also help push them from browsing to buying.

Brand-Oriented Visitor

Brand name trumps function and usability when it comes to getting Brand-Oriented Visitors to buy. Shoppers who are brand-oriented tend to be more impulsive and unpredictable than other personality types when making purchase decisions.

Because of these shoppers’ label-loving personalities, behavioral targeting based on the brands of their past purchases is your best bet for convincing them to convert. Many third-party vendors can target shoppers based on their online and offline activities, making targeting habitual buyers of particular brands easier than ever. Keeping your marketing messages simple is also key. Brand-Oriented Visitors are interested in aesthetics and status – so highlight the brand name, keep the text short and include appealing product images in your digital ads.

Rational Visitor

Opposite of Brand-Oriented Visitors, Rational Visitors would rather see fewer photographs and more facts. Before making a purchase, these shoppers tend to ask themselves three important questions: Is it practical? Is it in my price range? What is the cost-benefit ratio?

Rational Visitors are sensitive to value and additional features. To make sure they buy from you instead of the competition, retarget previous visitors when your online store runs site-wide sales, discounts or other price reductions. In addition to savings, your advertisements should also mention bonus features or benefits your store provides. Including price matching, warranties, additional services or other guarantees will help Rational Visitors better evaluate the value of buying from your online store.


The Maximizers are victims of self-induced information-overload. They spend countless hours reading product reviews, researching substitutes in the market and revisiting product pages to reread details. Data-driven stats from previous buyers, such as ratings on five-star scale or percentage of purchasers who recommend items, greatly influence their decisions.

Pay attention to Maximizers’ shopping history. They’ll often leave and revisit product pages more than once, and it make take days or weeks for them to commit to a purchase. Use Maximizers’ viewing habits to created targeted ads featuring products they’ve been monitoring for a while. Since Maximizers like to see products in person before buying, location-based targeting can be used for online retailers with brick-and-mortar stores as well.


Satisfiers don’t waste time sifting through customer reviews or comparing similar items when it comes to online shopping. This no-nonsense personality type typically has a specific benefit or feature in mind, and they don’t intend to scroll past the first item that satisfies their need before hitting the checking out.

Behavioral targeting can work wonders for reeling in Satisfiers. By tracking and targeting customers based on their online and offline activity, like recent websites visited or past credit card purchases, you can focus on reaching those who are in the market for a specific product or service. Remember, getting Satisfiers to click-through doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll convert. Satisfiers are searching for one specific criterion (e.g. Does this shirt come in blue? Is it available in my size?), so be sure your website is user-friendly and clearly displays all product options.


Some consumers have “buyer’s remorse” before they buy. Known as the Hesitator, this type of shopper personality is always second-guessing their choices and has trouble committing to purchases. Like Wish Listers, Hesitators also frequently abandon merchandise in their online shopping carts.

The trick to turning Hesitators into committers is to make them less susceptible to guilt by simultaneously reducing both the price and duration of promotions. Hesitators will never make it to the checkout if they have time to dwell on their purchases. Offering deals like “Free Shipping Today Only” or “20% Off Through Sunday” will limit the amount of time they have to rethink their purchase while also alleviating the perceived sticker shock that often deters Hesitators from buying. Retargeting methods also work well on Hesitators, but expose them to your message quickly. The longer they go without thinking about your product, the less likely they are to purchase.

Online shopping styles are not one-size-fits-all. When it comes to advertising online, your digital media campaign isn’t one-size-fits-all either. But tweaking your online campaign to guarantee the right targeting with the right message reaches the right type of shopper will lead your store to higher profits – no matter the personality type.

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Scott Kuhn

About Scott Kuhn

Scott is CEO of Sheehy, a regional advertising, marketing and media agency. He has been helping companies plan and execute store grand openings and remodels for more than 20 years.

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