6 Types of Online Shoppers and How to Convert Them

Want to convert more sales and increase revenue? You must cater to each type of unique online shopper. Learn about each of the six types in this guide.

Research from McKinsey shows that a whopping 71% of customers expect brands to deliver personalized interactions. It works, too - companies that do personalization perfectly generate 40% more revenue than those that are average at the practice.

Unfortunately, smaller companies may struggle to meet the demand, as putting a personalization strategy in place requires data, expertise, and money. One way to offer a similar experience is by focusing on the different types of online shoppers you encounter, and offering them each a personalized experience to ensure they convert to paying customers.

There are six types of online shoppers. Each exhibits different behavior and has different needs. When you provide service catered toward each, you can boost sales and earn repeat business. Learn how in the article below.


6 Types of Online Shoppers and How to Sell to Each 

1. Need-Based Shoppers

The need-based shopper is on a mission to find a specific item, which they’ve already determined that they need. That could mean that they’re swayed by recent trends, or perhaps they’re searching for an item to fulfill a physical or mental need.

In any case, this shopper comes to your website after having done their research. They’ve likely already compared products, so they know how much they should pay and what components make the product worthwhile. 

With that in mind, they’re also difficult to upsell. They’ve got one particular purchase in mind, and that’s all they’re interested in. They’re also focused on speed. They’ve already invested the time to determine what they need - now they want their product as quickly as possible.

How to Convert Them

The key to converting need-based shoppers is a frictionless shopping experience. As we discussed above, they already know what they want. They’re not interested in any sales ploys, so trying to upsell them will likely aggravate them and possibly even turn them off of your brand entirely.

Instead, make it easy for them to find what they want. Use keywords to make sure they can search for and find the product. Include a detailed product description. Try to be competitive on price, as this customer knows exactly what the going rate is for their desired product.

Lastly, make sure you offer a fast, easy checkout process. If this type of shopper runs into any roadblocks, they’re likely to move on to the competition. So, be sure to ask for only essential information, offer guest checkout, and accept a variety of payment methods

2. Price-Sensitive Shoppers

The majority of shoppers use price as a determining factor when shopping around, but there is a certain group who consider price above all else. These shoppers are always looking for a deal or discount. The cost of the product is the most important consideration, well above quality, brand, or user reviews.

These customers are looking for any way they can save. That means that the following terms are a green light for them:

  • Free shipping
  • Discount code
  • Promo pricing
  • Sale 

It’s hard to capture the loyalty of price-sensitive shoppers as they aren’t interested in building an emotional connection with companies. Instead, they’ll hop from brand to brand, following sales and promotions. 

How to Convert Them

Price-sensitive shoppers want to feel like they’re getting the best deal possible. They almost never buy at full price. 

As you might expect, the way to convert this customer is by offering a deal. Here are a few ways to accomplish that:

  • Use a pop-up to advertise a discount in exchange for signing up for your newsletter or SMS marketing
  • Offer free shipping
  • Send promo codes to email or SMS subscribers
  • Create limited-time sales around holidays
  • Encourage them to join your loyalty program for more discounts and savings

3. Wandering Window Shoppers

Some people end up on your website just to see what’s available. They likely have a very loose idea of what they’re shopping for. For example, they may:

  • Need a gift
  • Want to compare prices
  • Be looking for inspiration
  • Want to add items to a wishlist 
  • Want to check out the latest trends
  • Be looking for entertainment

These shoppers are especially hard to convert, as they don’t really know what they’re looking for. Oftentimes, they start shopping with no intention to buy. 

Wandering customers tend to bring a high volume of traffic to your website, but they don’t bring an equal level of value. Generally speaking, they don’t have a specific need or a sense of urgency.

How to Convert Them

Although window shoppers are the hardest to convert, there are still tactics that can help encourage them to make a purchase. Many of these customers are looking for an excellent shopping experience, so you need to remove any friction and add elements to make shopping interesting and fun.

It’s more simple than it sounds. Here are a few ways to improve the online shopping experience for these folks:

  • Feature best sellers and new arrivals on your homepage
  • Surprise shoppers with a list of unique finds
  • Mimic an in-store shopping experience with detailed photos, thorough product descriptions, and AR (augmented reality) tools
  • Share social proof, like customer reviews and photos, to emphasize value 

4. Impulse Shoppers

Some customers get on the internet with no intent of shopping whatsoever. Instead, they see something by accident that they just must have. 

Impulse buys can happen when an internet user:

  • Sees a well-targeted ad
  • Watches an influencer talk about their favorite products on social media
  • Comes across compelling UGC (user-generated content)
  • Searches for an answer to a problem and learns about a solution 

Impulse shoppers are most common in industries that change often, with trends that come and go. For example, fashion, beauty, and tech all have a fairly high number of impulse buys. 

How to Convert Them

Impulse shoppers are always searching for trends, which means that social proof goes a long way with them. It’s important to include plenty of reviews on your product pages so that these shoppers can see that other customers love the product. The more you can frame your product as popular, cool, and trendy, the better.

You’ll also need to work on ad targeting to capture the attention of impulse buyers. Make sure your ads are reaching the right eyes and that the creatives are motivating for your target audience. Emphasize a sense of urgency in your marketing to encourage a quick purchase. 

Although impulse shoppers may seem like one-off customers, you can reengage with them by providing targeted recommendations. Encourage them to sign up for your newsletter or SMS marketing to keep up with the latest trends and new products.

5. Researching Shoppers

On the opposite side of the spectrum of impulse shoppers, we find those that love to research. These information-seekers have a general idea of what they need, but they’re doing the work to narrow it down. For example, they might be looking for the perfect desk but aren’t sure if they want a sitting or standing desk. They become aware of your brand while they’re deciding.

The internet is full of information and options, which can make it hard for research-loving shoppers to make a decision. They can be hard to convert because they’re always searching for the next best option. They don’t want to make a mistake by jumping into a purchase too quickly.

More and more customers become researchers as the price of a product increases. For example, a customer may be an impulse shopper when it comes to makeup, but becomes a researching shopper when buying a new mattress. 

How to Convert Them

Researching shoppers are easily distracted by comparing options on other sites, so you need to keep them on your site once they land there. Aim to answer their questions and provide all the information they need to make a decision before they go searching for it. 

You can accomplish this by:

  • Including high-quality photos and videos 
  • Adding detailed product descriptions
  • Having a live chat to answer questions
  • Offering a time-sensitive discount
  • Including informational articles on your site for specialty products

6. Returning Shoppers

Perhaps the best subset of customers you’ll encounter are your return shoppers. These are the loyal customers that have already made a purchase with you and are returning for more. 

Ideally, you want every shopper who converts to become a repeat buyer. If you fine-tune your customer journey, marketing, and product enough, you can build an emotional connection and relationship with your customers that will keep them coming back again and again.

How to Convert Them

Once you gain a return customer, they can be fairly low maintenance to maintain. However, you do need to put in consistent effort to keep them coming around. 

Keep your returning shoppers loyal by:

  • Offering a VIP experience or loyalty program
  • Keeping in touch via email marketing
  • Reaching out on special occasions, like birthdays and holidays

The Benefits of Working with Pay.com as Your Payment Service Provider 

It takes time, money, and effort to get any type of shopper to convert. Make sure you keep customers coming back with an excellent checkout experience. Pay.com is a full-service payment solution that provides a friction-free checkout for your customers. 

First, you can set up a custom checkout page. Pay.com has options for users of all levels. Get started quickly by adding your branding to a prebuilt checkout page. Or, integrate with our APIs to add hosted payment fields to your own website or app for a totally seamless checkout process. Then, add the payment methods your customers demand, like PayPal and Apple Pay.

Pay.com has Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, meaning we use industry-standard security features to protect your customers and your business from fraud. That includes tools like tokenization and multifactor authentication. Plus, the Pay.com system supports global payment processing, so you can serve customers all around the world. 

You also get access to the Pay Dashboard - our intuitive platform that acts as your control panel. You can track payments and get access to valuable insights, like customer preferences, KPIs, year-over-year results, and more. With this in-depth data, you’ll always be able to make the most informed business decisions.

Click here to get started with Pay.com now!

The Bottom Line

Catering to every customer’s unique needs can feel impossible, especially for small businesses with limited resources. By understanding the six main types of customers you encounter online, you can better serve each type and convert more shoppers into paying clients. With the right tactics, you can even turn those folks into loyal return buyers.

Make sure you finish each interaction with your customers on a high note with an excellent checkout experience. Pay.com provides all the tools you need to accomplish this, from a variety of payment methods to a frictionless checkout experience. 

Click here to create your Pay.com account now.


What's the best way for a business to accept online payments?

Pay.com provides a powerful payment solution and a seamless checkout experience. Your customers get a fast, easy, secure payment process. Meanwhile, your business gets access to advanced analytics, top-tier security measures, and more. Click here to get started now!

How do you target online shoppers?

You must first understand your target audience since there are many kinds of online shoppers. Then, cater your product, marketing, and service toward the audience you wish to reach. Price-focused customers want to see discounts and sales, while needs-based customers want searchability and a frictionless, fast checkout.

How do you turn online shoppers into buyers?

Online shoppers will convert to paying customers when they build trust with your brand and have the knowledge they need to purchase. Your website needs to appear safe and secure. You must also provide the right photos and product information to express the value of your product.

Who are the most active online shoppers?

Window shoppers and price-sensitive buyers tend to be the most common online shoppers. In terms of demographics, Millennials and Gen Xers typically shop online the most of all generations. Men shop and spend more online than women.

Meet the author
Ginny Dorn
Ginny Dorn is a finance and business copywriter specializing in credit card processing and fintech. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences.
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