Study: Tailor Communications To Reach 5 Very Different Shopper Groups

Whether they’re looking for the best deals or a reason to visit their favorite store, nearly every shopper can be reached through email marketing, according to a study by Fluent Commerce. The report looked at five shopper personas that are defined more by behaviors than traditional markers such as age, gender and income, determining what kinds of outreach best break through their email filters and fuel conversions.

The most traditional group was the Old Fashioned, 69% of whom prefer visiting physical stores. Members of this group — who are not necessarily older people — also are very open to interacting with retailers: 37% check their email three timesa day, 27% read all of their emails from retailers and 69% have never cancelled a retail subscription.


These shoppers tend to enjoy in-store experiences, and reaching them is a matter of giving them a reason to visit a shop, according to Bill Friend, Managing Director and VP of North America at Fluent Commerce. This can be achieved through either discounts or events, as well as by promoting interesting sales that give them a reason to browse.

Focused Deal-Seekers And Indecisive Browsers Can Be Reached In Their Own Ways

Another archetype identified in the study is the Complainer, a tech-savvy shopper who is on the lookout for the best deal and will complain about bad experiences on social media. While 71% of this group still expresses a preference for email communications, their actions show that standard promotional strategies aren’t connecting with them:

  • Only 33% admit to opening a retailer’s emails;
  • Another 28% say that over 40% of retail emails they receive go directly to a spam folder; and
  • 84% are willing to provide their real email at checkout, but 51% opt out immediately after receiving a discount or other incentive.

The preferences of these shoppers display a need for control, according to Friend: they’re willing to share information but only for direct benefits, and they will ignore everything else. These shoppers need an immediate incentive to click on an email, making them likely to respond positively to improved personalization and easy-to-adjust contact options.

“One of the real trends here is having some sense of what the user’s preferences are, so it’s not just a spam email,” said Friend. “This group obviously prefers email communication, but I think they want it a little bit more under their control.”

The opposite of the Complainer is the Browser. More than one fifth (22%) of these shoppers receive over 30 retailer emails a week, and 25% open more than 40% of them. Retailers can effectively leverage this group’s high open rate by examining their other traits. For example, Browsers admit they often store items in their cart rather than checking out due to indecision, making abandoned cart emails especially effective at turning their visits into conversions.

Busy Shoppers Care More About Convenience Than Discounts

Two of the report’s behavioral breakdowns were along gender lines: Dirty Johns (men who are uncomfortable giving away their information) and Female Go-Getters (who almost never use social media and often check their email hourly). Both personas were defined by their busy lives, but the approach to best reach them differs.

The study found that 61% of Dirty Johns don’t feel giving retailers their location information is helpful, making them prime targets for education efforts according to Friend. Explaining the ways location can be used to personalize offers and reassuring them that their data is safe can make them more receptive to further outreach.

While education can help make members of this group more receptive to promotions in general, but promotional offers must respect their time in order to be effective: 37% would not visit a retailer’s store location if they were offered an in-store-only purchase when browsing online. For this group, if it’s not worthwhile for them to make a purchase then and there, they aren’t going to bother visiting the store.

Female Go-Getters offer a different challenge: 31% of this group checks their email multiple times an hour, so retailers need to make offers that stand out from the crowd and are worth their valuable time. These shoppers are fairly consistent in their shopping habits, so rather than simple price promotions retailers need to offer products that complement their lifestyles and build on the patterns established during previous interactions.

The consistent theme among all these groups is that timing and content are vital in grabbing their interest. Promotions should be sent on a schedule that matches their email consumption habits, and the discounts or news within needs to be tailored to their exact interests.

“The bigger message here is the need to really build a great model that connects browsing behavior, email and social,” said Friend. “It should look at you and your peer network and drive a more personalized content experience. I think retailers are trying to get to that, but at the end of the day they are still just scratching the surface.”



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