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Last updated on May 18, 2023

How well you know your customers determines how successful your marketing campaigns will be. In our previous case study on Gillette, we discussed segmentation marketing and how targeting specific types of customers or market niches is the way to go.

At the same time, we also know there are no two customers that are alike. 

Each comes to your business with different needs, desires, fears and expectations. There’s a reason why consumer psychology is an industry on its own!

Since that is the case, all businesses should be diligent in knowing each type of customer and how to deal with them. We’re talking segmentation emails, curated offers, content pieces for different customer avatars, ads targeted at their various pain points etc.

The 5 most common types of customers

We are going to introduce the five most common types of customers that your business deals with regularly.

Since it can be hard to exactly know “who you’re dealing with”, especially in a digital space, it’s important to have simple dialogues and triggers that help segment them. We’re going to take you through these types and lead you to a solution on how to market to each customer type.

1. The Browsing Customer

They may be scrolling mindlessly out of boredom or pure curiosity. They’re just here to browse your site and flip through your catalog. 

If you’ve gone window shopping, you know what I mean. You walk aimlessly, peering into every store and when there’s something mildly interesting, you head in to check it out. Why? Just because. And when the retail assistant asks if they can assist you, you say “I’m just looking”.

2. The Bargain Hunter

This type of customer lives for the deals. They head into a store because they saw a sale advertised somewhere. Price is a huge driver for them. Typically, these types of customers haven’t realized the true value your product and your brand can deliver.

If there’s another vendor that sells for cheaper or another offer that throws in more stuff, high chance they’ll hop over there. 

Their motivation: seeing what you have to offer. They may or may not purchase anything depending on the appeal of your sale items.

3. The Buying Customer

These customers are on your product page. They know exactly what they want and they’re there to put in their credit card details.

Their priority is to strike the line item off their shopping list and solve their problem ASAP. 

4. The Impulse Buy Customer

This is the most unpredictable type of customer because they have no fixed agenda. They will buy something simply because they came across the product/service at the right place, at the right time. 

Impulse buyers might not necessarily fit into any of your customer avatars. You probably never thought they’d be your customer ever. 

5. The Loyal Customer

This is the golden boy of all customers. These customers will make repeat purchases and will continue to do so over a long period. They may buy on impulse or wait for a good bargain, but what differentiates this customer is that they are loyal to your business. 

They believe strongly enough in what you can do for them that they won’t be easily swayed by your competitors. 

Now that you know the top five common types of customers and their motivations, it’s important to market directly to them. Remember, your role is not to sell. Your role is to help them buy.

How to Tap into Your Customers’ Minds

The Browsing Customer

Challenge: The tricky thing is this. They contribute traffic to your page and they clock in clicks on your ads. These “patrons” consume your content but have no intention of purchasing anything.

They’ll play with your widgets, look at the cool graphics or even browse your site 500 times. But never take any action.

There’s nothing wrong with having browsing customers visiting your page. But keep in mind that the goal is to convert traffic into conversions – leads into loyal customers.

Strategy: Provide opportunities for these visitors to engage more with you. Having a lead magnet, sending email sequences and having quizzes are great ways to get to know a browsing customer better and vice versa.

After knowing you, you need them to like you. Because you’ve tracked them based on their actions, you can segment your list and deliver content they’re interested in. If they’re getting a chance to know and like you, then chances are they’ll be more willing to purchase in the future. 

The entire process might take a while. But if your average customer lifetime value is high enough, it’s worth it following up.

The Bargain Hunting Customer 

Challenge: You can’t blame the bargain hunter for holding out for sales. It makes sense. If one can get something at a lower price for the same benefit, why not? 

But since you aren’t having sales every other week, bargain hunters will stalk you from a distance until they see a markdown. 

The biggest challenge for businesses is how do you cater to these people without giving your products away or undermining your value?

Strategy: Keeping bargain hunters happy is important. They usually have a group of friends who’re similar to them. Once you hook them, they’ll rope in their friends and all be converted into loyal customers (if they can rely on your for good deals and good quality).

That said, a good way to give them what they want is to have a “sale” or “promotions” tab on your website. This allows bargain hunters to go straight to that section. Advertise promotions, bundles and deals on social media platforms and other outposts so customers can get ready to shop.

The Buying Customer 

Challenge: These customers might make a one-time purchase but that’s it. The challenge here is to turn them into loyal customers.

Maybe they weren’t totally satisfied with your product/service and your recovery process wasn’t great. It’s possible they had difficulty shopping on your site and it spoiled the customer experience. 

Time lapses between repurchases may be a signal your buying customer has switched to another product or simply forgot about you.

Strategy: Streamline your purchasing process. Maybe even offer rebates or a discount after every order, that can be used in their next purchase. If you’d like to go the distance, send a thank you note in their shipment and throw in a little surprise gift.

This won’t just motivate them to come back, it’s a talking point and their beginning journey to becoming a promoter.

The Impulse Customer

Challenge: Any complications with the buying process kills the mood and throws an impulse buyer off. Impulse and instantaneous go hand in hand. As Professor Gerald Zaltman says 95 percent of our purchase making takes place in the subconscious mind.

The impulse customer doesn’t have much time before 1) emotions change and they’re in the mood for something else 2) logic kicks in and they realize they don’t need it.

Strategy: Impulse buyers know what they want. They just need a little push. Make sure your eCommerce store is easy to navigate, the products are categorized right, the checkout process is simple. Then deliver on the promise you made to them.

Chatbots are a great resource for impulse buyers. These shoppers are looking for immediate assistance and chatbots can provide that help instantly. If you feel like your product caters to these types of customers, craft copy that plays with their emotion, yet goes straight to the point. 

The Loyal Customer

Challenge: Sure, you’ve already got them in the bag. But even they bring a unique challenge to businesses. You know how many marriages fail when one spouse stops trying? Same thing. 

The main challenge here is giving them reasons to stay. You may have customers who purchase when you ask them to, but how will you get them eager to buy on their own? And buy other products too?

Strategy: Be creative with showing your appreciation to loyal customers. You can give them preferential access to sales, bigger discounts, loyalty points, freebies, anything.

Loyal customers are the glue that holds your business together and they deserve your best effort. With them driving 80% of your sales, their loyalty is not something to be taken lightly!

How to research customer needs

A highly sought after product/service doesn’t come from directors praying for a higher return on investment. It also doesn’t come from spending millions on advertising in every possible building. 

Marketing a product starts by identifying customers’ needs and providing solutions that meet those needs.

It meets their needs at the basic “have” level, emotional level, down to an existential level. Positioning your product on these levels are what drive consumers to buy.

Step 1: Who is your customer?

Any part of the marketing and sales process that “touches” the customer (which is pretty much EVERYTHING) will improve when you get clear on your customer avatar.

When you get clear on the characteristics of the person who is going to buy your products and services, it’s a lot easier to find and present them with a message that moves them to action.

Step 2: Use tools to discover what your customers really want

Start with existing data

  • Review past surveys/interviews
  • Track the heat map on your site
  • Match your customers’ purchase history with email actions

Use market research tools

Analyzing your competition

  • SWOT analysis (for brand, product, experience)
  • Hire a research firm

Speak to your sales team

  • What are the must-haves for customers?
  • Are there any deal killers?
  • How about the common objections?

Talk to your customer service team

  • What problems do customers usually come back with?
  • Are there any questions people are always asking?

Ask your customers

  • Survey funnels
  • Email feedback
  • Chatbot quizzes
  • Social media polls

Step 3: Create a better customer experience

At this point, you know about the five common types of customers, the challenges each of them brings and how to overcome them. 

But to emphasize again, knowing the common types of customers is still too general. You need to develop a customer avatar for YOUR UNIQUE BUSINESS and market to their specific needs and wants. 

After you successfully put the research and understanding of your target audience into practice, you can expect to see more qualified leads and higher conversions!

It’s time to develop a marketing strategy that takes all these customers needs into consideration and create turn cold leads into loyal customers.