Meet the 4 Types of Online Shoppers (and Then Sell to Them)

Not all online shoppers are created alike. And for each type of visitor to your site, there are different ways you can tailor your content to meet their needs.

To do that, we have to understand who those visitors are and what they hope to find when they come to your store. For this post, we’ve identified four of the most common types of online shoppers, with some tips on making your content work for them.

The Seeker

This shopper is on a quest for one specific product. They know exactly what they want, and they’re ready to make a purchase. First, let’s assume you have the product. Your store is stocked with the best possible products for your customers, so that part is already taken care, right? How do you give yourself the best chance of getting a purchase from the Seeker?

  • Make it findable. If they’re seeking a specific item, there’s a good chance they’re using a search engine to find it online. Include relevant keywords and manufacturer information to ensure that their search leads them to you. Search engines will likely send shoppers directly to the product page, but others may land on your homepage, so make sure your keywords work for internal site search, too.
  • Compete on price. Or don’t. Price is one of the most important factors in a purchase decision. Integrated price comparisons and shipping estimates can help customers see how much they’ll spend (or save) by shopping with you. And don’t worry if you can’t offer the lowest price—many visitors are willing to spend a little more if you back up your price with added values like a good return policy, product support, and great customer service.

The Researcher

This shopper also has a specific goal in mind, but not a specific product. Maybe they need a winter coat, a new cellphone case, or a rug that really ties a room together. This is browsing with a purpose. Here’s how you can help the Researcher find the right product:

  • Guide their research. Clearly defined categories and site navigation can help your shoppers find the products they need. While they’re browsing, provide links to similar products or related purchases to help them see all the options you have available.
  • Be informative. From there, give detailed descriptions and key information that will help them choose which product best suits their needs. If you can, encourage your customers to write reviews so they can help future buyers make the right decision.
  • Become a resource. If you sell technical or specialty products, consider writing educational resources, tips, and knowledge base articles to give your users even more information. As a bonus, these resources can bring visitors back regularly, boost SEO, and encourage additional sales.

The Bargain Hunter

Everybody loves a good deal. Watching for sales, browsing the clearance racks, and using coupons are all ways we can save money when we shop offline, and they’re all ways you can attract the bargain hunter to your online store. Here are some ways you can appeal to the Bargain Hunter:

  • Give them a deal. With Volusion’s Deal of the Day, you can create daily specials to feature on your homepage and share with your customers. You can also use coupon codes and discounts in a variety of ways to encourage visitors to make their first purchase or to buy more products.
  • Create a virtual sales rack. Offer special holiday sales, seasonal promotions, or limited time offers to motivate customers. With an online store, you can also designate a special category as a clearance or sale area and add products to it just like a physical store.
  • Offer free shipping. The latest statistics from comScore—the global leader in digital research and marketing intelligence—show that roughly half of all online purchases now include free shipping. And according to, 90% of online shoppers said that free shipping would entice them to make more purchases and spend more money.

The Window Shopper

Window shoppers, wanderers, and sidewalk traffic make up the majority of customers in most physical stores. On ecommerce sites, these visitors may be searching for entertainment, looking for inspiration, or shopping for a gift. Since they don’t have a specific product or even a goal in mind, these visitors can be incredibly hard to convert into buyers. Draw in the Window Shopper with the following:

  • Make it real. Online buyers can’t touch or pick up your products, so you have to make it as real as possible with big, vivid images and detailed descriptions. Use multiple photos for different views, close-up details, or to show the product in use. You can even encourage your customers to share their own images and stories, and then add them to the listing.
  • Surprise and delight. One of the most enjoyable parts of window shopping is discovering the unexpected. Feature your most interesting, popular, or unique products on your homepage so visitors have a reason to come in and look around.
  • Share your passion. If you or your customers are really passionate about a product, share it on social networks in emails and on blogs. More window shoppers mean even more opportunities to sell.

From new visitor to loyal customer

If you help these new visitors find the products they need (or didn’t even know they needed), they’ll be much more likely to come back again and again. That’s when you can start planning for a fifth type of visitor: the Loyal Customer.

Loyal customers are the lifeblood of most successful stores, and business owners spend a lot of time encouraging repeat business. But remember, they can’t be repeat customers if they don't make the first purchase.