Do you understand how people “shop” your business? I

Part I of II - In the next two columns, I am going to explore the mentalities behind how your customers or clients are shopping for your services and products and then buying them. Most people associate the idea of shopping with a consumer/retail experience, but this is short-sighted.Anyone seeking to buy is in a shopping mode before they are in a buying mode.


Understanding this and the type of shopper you are dealing with can help you better convert them to buyers.


1. Window Shopper: Window Shoppers are not just people who stand outside a storefront looking longingly into the window at what they would like to buy. They are also people in a business-to-business setting who are followers in garnering your expertise or insights through your communications such as newsletters, tips, bulletins or postings. They gain great inspiration and value from what you are providing for free, but still haven’t made the jump into buying what you offer.  


2. Bargain Shopper: Bargain Shoppers are looking for the lowest price, period. They are focused on saving money, so if you don’t offer the lowest price, you need to offer a packaged option that positions the offering related to saving money if purchased together versus separately. Discounts and coupons are a way of life for this shopper, and should be used strategically. 


3. Value Shopper:  Value Shoppers are looking to get more for their money. They are not as focused on savings as they are on feeling as though they received something extra when compared to another option. The “buy one-get one” concept is more appealing to the value shopper whereas the bargain shopper would be more interested in 50% off. Even though the end result is the same, the perception is very different. Offering an added free item is also appealing to the more upscale value shopper. 


4. Virtual Shopper: According to Webtrends data, literally everyone is a Virtual Shopper with 93 percent of purchasing decisions being made as a result of Internet research. Research my firm is still conducting is confirming that 6 out of 10 people will narrow their buying decision to two or three companies or products. More compelling is the fact that 2 out of 10 people will narrow their purchasing decision to one product or a single company, making your website and Internet presence a more critical aspect of your marketing than you may be giving it credit.


5. Repeat Shopper: Repeat Shoppers are well intended, but can be the most frustrating of shoppers. These individuals come into your establishment or seek to meet with you multiple times for consideration of doing business with you, but then never actually pull the trigger to buy. Understanding their buying mentalities will be key to finally getting them to purchase your products and services or engage your business. In other cases, where your are a business in an advisory role, a gentle nudge into clarifying the fine line between “catching up” and valuing advisory expertise may need to be discussed accompanied by a general terms agreement.


Take a moment to determine which type of shopper, if not all, you are most dealing with in your business to better equip your for realizing better sales conversions. In Part II, I will help you understand the buying mentalities, so you can convert that “shopper” into a buyer.

Sherré DeMao is author of the nationally acclaimed books, 50 Marketing Secrets of Growth Companies in Down Economic Times,, and Me, Myself & Inc.,, Her column seeks to help business owners build and grow sustainable enterprises and businesses with economic value and preference in the marketplace.