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What Are The Different Types of Shopping Behavior?


The more brand builders understand about the thought processes, emotions, environmental and motivational factors that influence buying decisions, the better positioned they are to influence those decisions. Stephen Houraghan.


In order to increase sales and build lasting customer loyalty, it’s useful to understand consumer shopping behaviors.

Understanding shopping behaviors is not just about increasing sales and improving customer loyalty; it’s also about building meaningful relationships with your clientele, driving long-term success for your business.

This guide will equip your sales team with actionable strategies to help you better understand customers’ needs and preferences and enhance customer connections.

Consumer Behavior Explained

Consumer buying behavior encompasses the steps individuals, before, during and after they make purchasing-decisions.

The process starts with identifying a need or wants, then involves researching information, evaluating options, deciding on a purchase, assessing the purchase afterward, and possibly buying again or disposing of the item.

Understanding consumer buying behavior is crucial in marketing, helping businesses grasp the reasons behind consumers’ choices of particular products or services. 

Types of Consumers and Shopping Behavior.

1. Conscientious Consumers

Conscientious consumers are characterized by their heightened awareness of their purchasing decisions’ societal and environmental impact.

The intention of these shoppers revolves around supporting ethical and sustainable brands, often willing to pay a higher prices for products aligned with their values and beliefs. 

Identifying Characteristics for Sales Staff:

  • Inquiries about product sourcing, certifications, and sustainability practices
  • Willingness to pay higher prices for eco-friendly or socially responsible products
  • Preference for transparent and ethical brands 

Advice for Sales Staff:

To connect with conscientious consumers, highlight the brand’s commitment to social responsibility and eco-friendly initiatives.

Showcase relevant certifications, transparent sourcing practices, and tangible efforts to minimize environmental footprint.

Develop trust and authenticity by engaging in open dialogue about the brand’s ethical standards and actively listening to consumer concerns and feedback.

2. Discretionary Spending Consumers

Discretionary spending consumers possess disposable income and prioritize luxury or non-essential purchases based on personal preferences and lifestyle aspirations.

These shoppers are driven by a desire to indulge in high-end products and stay abreast of current trends, often influenced by friends, coworkers, peer behavior, and social status considerations. 

Identifying Characteristics for Sales Staff:

  • Interest in high-end or luxury products
  • Brand loyalty and willingness to splurge on trends
  • Inquiries about exclusive or aspirational offerings 

Advice for Sales Staff

Sales staff can cater to discretionary spending consumers by offering personalized recommendations tailored to their lifestyle aspirations and preferences.

Highlight exclusivity, quality, and aspirational value to create a premium shopping experience that resonates with their desire for luxury and indulgence.

To cultivate long-term loyalty and advocacy, encourage a sense of exclusivity and belonging through loyalty programs, VIP perks, and immersive brand experiences.

3. Discount Consumers

Discount consumers are characterized by their propensity to seek out deals and promotions, prioritizing cost savings over brand loyalty.

These shoppers are driven by a desire to maximize value for money, often gravitating towards discounted products and special offers to stretch their purchasing power. 

Identifying Characteristics for Sales Staff:

  • Active search for discounts and promotional offers
  • Interest in bargain-hunting and comparison shopping
  • Preference for budget-friendly options over brand prestige 

Advice for Sales Staff:

To appeal to discount consumers:

  1. Emphasize cost-effectiveness and savings without compromising product quality.
  2. Implement targeted marketing strategies, such as limited-time promotions and exclusive discounts, to capture their attention and incentivize purchases.
  3. Leverage customer data to tailor offers and recommendations based on their purchasing history and preferences, fostering a sense of value and appreciation for their thriftiness. 

4. Spontaneous Consumers

Spontaneous consumers make impulsive purchase decisions driven by emotions rather than rational deliberation.

Spontaneous shoppers are characterized by sudden urges to buy triggered by emotional stimuli, such as excitement, desire, or fear, often leading to spontaneous purchases without prior planning or consideration. 

Identifying Characteristics for Sales Staff:

  • Impulsive buying behavior with little deliberation
  • Reactivity to emotional marketing appeals
  • Inclination towards unplanned purchases based on immediate desires 

Advice for Sales Staff:

Sales staff can capture the attention of spontaneous shoppers and implement emotionally compelling marketing tactics that evoke positive emotions and urgency.

Create visually appealing displays and engaging content that elicits excitement and desire, prompting impulsive buying decisions.

Facilitate seamless purchasing experiences with quick and convenient checkout processes to capitalize on their spontaneous impulses and drive sales. 

5. Loyal Consumers

Loyal consumers demonstrate an unwavering commitment to a specific brand or product, driven by positive past experiences and perceived value.

Their behavior is characterized by repeat purchases, brand advocacy, and a sense of loyalty and trust toward the brand, often influencing their purchasing decisions and recommendations to others. 

Identifying Characteristics for Sales Staff:

  • Repeat purchases and brand preference.
  • Active engagement with brand content and promotions
  • Willingness to recommend the brand to others 

Advice for Sales Staff

Nurture relationships with loyal consumers by recognizing their loyalty and rewarding their continued support with exclusive perks and personalized incentives.

Cultivate brand loyalty through consistent communication, tailored offers, and exceptional customer service, fostering a sense of belonging and appreciation.

Encourage brand advocacy by soliciting feedback, responding to concerns, and leveraging their positive experiences to attract new customers and reinforce loyalty.

“Shoppers base their purchasing decisions on personal factors, such as budget and favorite stores and items, they can be influenced by external circumstances. For example, the current rise of inflation is having a strong and global impact on the way consumers shop, causing many to limit their expenses and shift their attention towards cheaper alternatives and ways to save.” – Statista 

6. Need-Based Consumers

Need-based consumers prioritize fulfilling specific needs or requirements with their purchases, whether practical, financial, or legal.

This type of shopping behavior is driven by the necessity to address immediate or essential needs, influencing their decision-making process and budget allocation based on urgency and importance. 

Identifying Characteristics for Sales Staff:

  • Clear articulation of specific needs or requirements
  • Rational decision-making based on necessity and utility
  • Flexibility in budget allocation based on the urgency of the need 

Advice for Sales Staff:

In order to assist need-based consumers:

  1. Focus on understanding their specific requirements and offer tailored solutions that address their needs.
  2. Provide informative guidance and product recommendations based on their stated needs and preferences, emphasizing the practical benefits and value proposition to facilitate informed decision-making.
  3. Offer flexible pricing options and financing solutions to accommodate varying budget constraints and ensure accessibility to essential products and services. 

Need-Based Consumers

7. Open Consumers

Open consumers are willing to embrace innovation and seek novel products that enhance their daily routines.

Open consumers are characterized by an appreciation for creativity and originality, driving them to explore unique offerings and adopt new trends or technologies to improve their lifestyles. 

Identifying Characteristics for Sales Staff:

  • Eagerness to discover innovative products and solutions
  • Preference for creativity and originality in product design
  • Willingness to experiment with new brands and concepts 

Advice for Sales Staff:

Approach open consumers by highlighting the innovative features and distinctiveness of your products or services. Demonstrate how they can enhance their everyday experiences.

Showcase testimonials, user reviews, and case studies to demonstrate the practical benefits and real-world applications of your offerings, instilling confidence in their decision to embrace innovation.

Build a sense of exploration and discovery through interactive demonstrations, product trials, and experiential marketing initiatives, allowing them to experience firsthand the value and versatility of your innovative solutions. 

8. Seasonal Consumers

Seasonal consumers exhibit predictable purchasing patterns, focusing on specific types of products during particular times of the year.

These shoppers are influenced by seasonal events, holidays, or weather conditions, prompting them to adjust their buying preferences and priorities accordingly. 

Identifying Characteristics for Sales Staff:

  • Cyclical purchasing behavior tied to seasonal trends
  • Increased demand for certain product categories during specific times of the year
  • Preference for seasonal promotions and themed offerings 

Advice for Sales Staff:

Salespeople should anticipate seasonal consumers’ changing needs and preferences by aligning their product assortment and marketing campaigns with relevant seasonal trends and occasions.

Plan ahead and optimize inventory management to ensure adequate stock levels and timely availability of seasonal products, minimizing stockouts and maximizing sales opportunities.

Be sure to leverage targeted promotions, seasonal discounts, and themed marketing initiatives to capture the attention of seasonal consumers and capitalize on peak buying periods effectively.

9. Extroverted Consumers

Extroverted consumers thrive on social interaction and seek personalized assistance and guidance when making purchasing decisions.

Extroverted shopping behavior is characterized by a preference for human engagement, requiring tailored recommendations and hands-on demonstrations to inform their buying choices effectively. 

Identifying Characteristics for Sales Staff:

  • Desire for personalized assistance and human interaction
  • Engagement with sales representatives and product demonstrations
  • Preference for collaborative decision-making and interactive shopping experiences 

Advice for Sales Staff

Cater to the extroverted nature of these consumers by providing attentive and personable service, actively listening to their needs and preferences, and offering personalized recommendations based on their individual requirements.

It is important to create a welcoming and interactive shopping environment by encouraging open communication, inviting questions, and facilitating hands-on product demonstrations to enhance their shopping experience.

Invest in staff training to equip sales reps with practical communication skills and product knowledge, empowering them to build rapport and establish trust with extroverted consumers.


“Consumer habits often change during specific events. From Valentine’s Day to Halloween, all the way to December’s holiday season, shoppers frequently spend a little extra on all kinds of items and services at times like these” Statista

Closing Comments

Understanding the different shopping behaviors and preferences of these consumer types allows sales staff to tailor their approach and enhance the customer experience.

When retailers implement the strategies provided, businesses can build meaningful connections, improve customer satisfaction, and drive growth.

Sales teams must remain flexible and be willing to continuously educate themselves on consumer trends and sales techniques and employ empathy in each interaction.


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