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Dating Advice For Your Online Store, Pt 2

Understanding your prospects.

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Welcome to Part 2 in our series on building better realtionships with your online store customers! If you missed it, find part one of this series here.

All caught up? Great. In this post we’re going to take a quick look at the different kinds of customers you can expect to visit your store along with their behavior patterns. In dating parlance? It pays to…

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Any self-respecting dating strategy has to start with learning about who you’re trying to attract. You probably already know your customers as far as their demographics: gender, age, income level etc. But you also need to understand their shopping behaviors. Having a feel for their state of mind as they go through your site, will help you make better design decisions. So rather than relying on your gut or what’s popular you’re actually prioritizing the features or elements that’ll make your customers happy.

At a basic level, your customers are probably going to be exhibiting one or many of the following 4 traits, and we’re drawing heavily on the research of the UX masters themselves, the Nielson Norman Group:

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This happens when they know specifically what they want – they’re replacing something they had, they’ve already done loads of research, made several in-store visits and right now they are ready to buy.

So your design goal is to get them to the product and through checkout with as little friction as possible.

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This typically happens before they hunt, but it sometimes takes them weeks maybe months as they stalk their prey. They know what kind of product they want, but want to make sure it’s the best value, right fit, or need to learn more about the product category.

So your goal is to make sure you provide trustworthy, in-depth intel and also give them the ability to compare products easily.

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Bargain Hunting


This one should be self-explanatory. They’re all about the dollars and the cents.

You need to make sure this customer knows they’re getting the best deal possible so you do this by making it very easy to compare normal prices with sale prices and breaking it down so they can easily see what kind of discount they’re getting.

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This customer is just looking to see what’s new, what’s popular or what’s on sale. They’re not ready to commit yet, but you could win them over, so your design goal here is make sure you look appealing and worth coming back to.

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One Night Stand


Actually I lied. There is a fifth category, I call it the One-Night Stand. These customers are usually gift card recipients or gift buyers who have no intention of returning. So for that reason I’m not going to spend any time on this category. Because, we’re looking for long-term committed relationships right? After all this isn’t Tinder advice for your online store.

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Any shopper, depending on the context, can exhibit any one or sometimes multiples of these behaviors, so your challenge is to figure out the frame of mind your customers are more likely going to be in as this helps decide how best to cater your merchandising to suit them. This isn’t easy because you’re going to have to make trade offs. Catering to one, means not catering to all. 

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Say, for example, you know that based on the kind of product you sell that you’re customers are more likely to be researching before they hunt, then you’re going to want to prioritize things like buying guides, technical definitions or other product-related content.

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Which is a completely different approach than if you know you’re customers are more likely to be bargain hunting.

I know. Seems daunting. That’s why we’re going to take some time over the next two posts in this series to take a look at how design can help you be more attractive to each of these types.

Andrew Davies

Drew's degrees in Illustration, 2D animation and Broadcast Design, and his volleyball skillz mean he can get your design done and play well with others at the same time. He’s the Creative Director at Paragon and will call you out if you start hanging out with shady-looking fonts and messing around with whacked-out color palettes.