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The common types of customers in retail, and how to engage each type

Most customers fall into one of four types, and you’ll need to utilise different strategies in order to engage them. Here’s how to tailor your store to their needs: 

common types of customers in retailWhile it’s true to a certain extent that every customer is different, in general they can be grouped into four different categories. It’s important to understand this, as each one responds better to certain strategies. If you can work out which type is most common in your store, you can tailor its layout and displays to cater better to them. 

Here are the four most common customer types you will encounter in retail, along with strategies on how to engage them and make them more likely to make a purchase. 

1. The disengaged shopper 

This customer has just wandered in off the street, and doesn’t really have a purpose in your store. Maybe they’re just killing time, maybe something in your window caught their eye, or maybe they’ve just not seen your business before and are curious. Whatever the reason, this customer type is less likely to make a purchase, as they haven’t entered with the intention of buying anything. 

However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore them, especially if they make up a significant portion of your overall customer base. A good way to engage this type of shopper is to use displays and the layout of your store to highlight both your best, most popular products - which have the best chance of being interesting to as many people as possible - and anything you sell that would make a good impulse buy. 

2. The informed shopper 

This type of customer has done their research and knows a lot about the type of products you sell, including what counts as a good deal in terms of price and other features. This shopper has become increasingly common in the last few years, as nearly all your consumers will have smartphones and therefore the ability to research as they browse. 

 The first way to engage this consumer is to make sure you’re engaging them online as well as offline; you can find out more in our article about showrooming here. Once they’re in your store, your best option is to focus on what they can’t get anywhere else. This includes deals, guarantees or anything else specific to you and your business. 

3. The loyal shopper

Some businesses have plenty of these, while others might struggle to attract them, but everyone recognises a brand-loyal customer. They probably come in more than anyone else, and are responsible for a disproportionate amount of purchases. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can neglect them, as the last thing you want is for them to take all that enthusiasm and loyalty to one of your competitors. 

Because this type of shopper is responsible for so much of your income, it’s worth investing in them. Make them feel rewarded for sticking with your business with loyalty cards and discounts; you might lose a bit of money on them in the short-term, but you’ll easily make it back due to their high purchase rate. And having a loyalty programme makes it more likely you’ll create more of this kind of customer in the future. 

4. The focused shopper 

Some of your customers are going to come to your store with a singular purpose. They know what they want to buy, they know you sell it, so they’re going to try to find it, buy it, then leave. They’re unlikely to make supplementary purchases or browse for any extended period of time, so the challenge with this customer is to make sure they continue to choose your store whenever they need to buy similar items in the future. 

The key here is to make the shopping experience as smooth and hassle-free for them as possible. The main point on which to focus is your point-of-purchase area. If they are queuing for too long, or struggling to find where to pay in a larger store, they might not come back again. Ensure you have enough people manning the tills, and consider implementing a mobile payment system if possible. 

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