The 5 ecommerce shopping modes: What are they and why should brands care

Context. One of the defining factors behind a visit to a website, yet one that so many brands fail to consider when targeting their customers online. As while many brands attempt personalisation based on who customers are, very few build online experiences that place a focus on relevancy.

Shopper modes, a concept that originates from research carried out by Nielsen Norman Group, are a fictional representation of customer goals, behaviours and frustrations. They are a way of categorising website visitors and provide a snapshot of relevant and meaningful commonalities between eCommerce shoppers. Their power lies in their ability to add context to user behaviour at different stages of their journey to purchase.

So, what are the five modes of shopper that every brand should know?

Introducing the 5 modes of ecommerce shopper

  • Browser - I am a leisurely shopper looking for inspiration or to kill time
  • ResearcherI plan to make a purchase. I am collecting information about product(s) and price(s)
  • One-time shopperI am not familiar with the site. I have no intentions to visit again after my initial purchase
  • Bargain hunterI am looking for a bargain or to find the best possible deal
  • Product focusedI know exactly what I want and I have made a decision to purchase

During their journey, a customer will shift through different shopping modes as they progress along the buying funnel to conversion. They will always move from browser to researcher to product focused, and may also simultaneously exhibit one-time shopper or bargain hunter behaviours.

Why brands need to understand shopping modes

By identifying the different modes that exist across a customer’s journey, from discovery through to purchase, and the behaviours associated with each, brands have the ability to deliver more personalised interactions that respond to a customer’s needs, motivations and intent in real time. Without an understanding of context, brands simply can’t create online experiences that are relevant. Yes, they may be personal (in terms of responding to who a customer is), but they will fail to listen to why a customer is engaging and therefore be unable to deliver the most appropriate messages to nurture them through their journey to purchase.

As a customer enters each different shopping mode, they will have different expectations from a brand, meaning their experience must be personalised and tailored accordingly to have the greatest likelihood of guiding them through their path to purchase. This is especially important on your website, your gateway to a conversion.

Quiz: Is your onsite experience optimised for every type of ecommerce shopper?

Take our 5-minute quiz to find out how well your website attracts and engages shoppers in browser, researcher and product focused mode as they embark on an online journey with your brand.

At the end, of the quiz, you’ll receive a copy of our latest eBook which contains hints and tips on how to build better online experiences that target all 5 modes of shopper.

Data, Ecommerce, Personalisation


Is your website customer ready?

Take our 5-minute quiz to find out if you onsite experience is optimised for the different modes of shopper.

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How to target the 5 ecommerce shopping modes

Posted by Emily Atkinson