Shopper Modes

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Shopper Modes

Shopping behaviour has been segmenting shoppers (not consumers) by their actions at a fixture in-store. This enables stores to better align their offering by the type of shopper buying their products.

With the exception of non-shoppers (those who walk by a category without showing any interest) there are 5 modes into which shoppers are divided:

  1. Inexperienced
  2. Experiential
  3. Considered
  4. ‘Grab & Go’
  5. Impulse

By understanding who is at the fixture, and how they shop, each mode can be refined by informational need and a whole host of other factors.

1. The Inexperienced Shopper

This shopper needs information, space and help with a ‘benefits led’ hierarchy. 

  • On average – around 15% of Inexperienced Shoppers are found at FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) fixtures
  • They spend 50-100% longer than the average shopper deciding what to buy
  • They typically return a lower AWP (Average Weight of Purchase)
  • Out of all the modes, they are the most likely to leave the fixture without making a purchase

If they are new to a category, or there is a new sub-category or brand / variant within the aisle they shop in regularly – they will need information. They need space and help, with a ‘benefits led’ decision hierarchy, and are far less concerned by multi-buys or any other promotional activity.

For example…

Something that seems to particularly confuse Inexperienced Shoppers is the General Daily Allowance (GDA) panel found on most food packaging, as there are so many different variations according to retailer, colour etc. It is difficult for them to gauge the same information from all the different formats. Watch below as the shopper ‘Grabs & Goes’ Weetabix, but finds buying Special K Bliss is a far more complicated process.


2. The Experiential Shopper

Are you providing shoppers with sufficient multi-sensory stimuli at the moment of truth? 

  • On average – around 10% of Experiential Shoppers are found at FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) fixtures
  • They spend 20% longer than the average shopper deciding what to buy
  • They rely on visual and other sensory input in order to make a purchase decision
  • Around 23% of beauty products are purchased ‘experientially’ (product smelling)
  • 20% of cereals and 15% of bottled drinks are shaken to check quantities prior to purchase

This is a hands-on shopping process that is prevalent in almost every category and sector to some degree. It is based on the category being shopped rather than the type of person doing the shopping and those involved in Experiential Shopping need access to the products in order to touch, smell, shake and feel them. They don’t trust their eyes alone, and so need further evidence to support their decision. Failing to provide sufficient multi-sensory stimuli at the ‘moment of truth’ in-store can result in a significant loss in sales and a corresponding rise in walk-aways.

For example…

Very often, the non-verbal decision hierarchy is somewhat different to what shoppers say their purchase priorities are. If we look at hair care or bath / shower products, high on the ‘decision making’ list for shoppers is what the product makes their hair or skin feel like, and what they will smell like after using it. This video shows a number of examples of shoppers using non-visual evaluation techniques including feeling, smelling and shaking products before buying them.


3. The Considered Shopper

Have you got the price / advice balance right in-store? 

  • On average – around 10% of Considered Shoppers are found at FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) fixtures
  • They spend 50% longer than the average shopper deciding what to buy
  • Older shoppers are more likely to be Considered Shoppers
  • This mode of shopping returns higher AWP (Average Weight of Purchase)
  • Considered Shopping tends to result in less brand loyalty

Considered Shopping is a discerning process during which shoppers actively consider alternative purchases, and tends to be more to do with the features and benefits of a particular product rather than value for money. The best way to influence this mode of shopping activity is to attract the attention of the shopper and to have a headline reason for evaluation (e.g. “High in Omega 3”).

For example…

Considered Shoppers tend to be more considered in their behaviour when there are many variants in a product category, but give them too much choice and they may leave empty handed (men in particular). The key is to have a unique sales proposition – one that shoppers understand, but that is hard to directly compare with other brands and products. The shower in the clip below evaluates a number of alternatives to seek that key point of difference.


4. The ‘Grab & Go’ Shopper

Is the in-store purchase process as efficient as shoppers want it to be?

  • On average – around 60% of ‘Grab & Go’ Shoppers are found at FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) fixtures
  • They are the fastest of all modes to make a decision
  • They typically purchase repeat items of products they regularly buy
  • This mode of shopping has the lowest walk away percentage
  • Out of stock items and an efficient (although not particularly customer friendly) way of influencing the ‘Grab & Go’ Shopper

‘Grab & Go’ Shopping is fast, confident and very much target purchase driven. The shopper simply wants to find their usual products and buy another one. This is the mode that retailers and brands strive for, as it entails loyal shoppers buying more of the same. Typically, any brand associations are made away from the stores by way of marketing activity and usage experiences or perceptions.

For example…

‘Grab & Go’ Shoppers have developed strong brand or product loyalty are are simply going through an automatic repeat purchase process in store. They dislike frequent re-lays – although this process does make them re-engage as they have to re-navigate the category. Watch below as a number of shoppers select products without needing to mentally engage.


5. The Impulse Shopper

Fear and Greed – Effective emotional triggers in the right environment. 

  • On average – around 10% of Impulse Shoppers are found at FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) fixtures, but this can be as high as 35%
  • They are the second fastest of all modes to make a decision – with only ‘Grab & Go’ being quicker
  • They tend to ‘impulse’ purchase for others at the start of their shopping trip, but become more selfish towards the end
  • This purchasing process is the least rational and most spontaneous of all modes
  • This is an emotionally led shopping mode, driven by immediate reward and greed

Impulse shoppers typically see a product, immediately associate it with fulfilling a need or want and then just buy it. They have minimal regard to price or value. However, some Impulse Shoppers are driven by an offer and respond by purchasing. These shoppers often don’t understand the actual value of the offer and the mechanic that delivers the message drives them more than any added value.

For example…

Impulse purchases typically perform best when they are located after the main ‘Grab & Go’ products within a category. For example, locate indulgent lines later on the shopper journey followed by family oriented products and the more staple items. Watch how the shopper in the video below physically passes the confectionery and then takes a step back in order to make a purchase.

For more information on Shopper Modes and Behaviour, call us on 08707 66 99 74 or contact us here.