Types of Online Customers and How to Attract Them

23 June 2023
Reading: 8 min

E-commerce worldwide is on its rise. Online businesses boast several advantages over brick and mortar enterprises, namely:

  • Wider audience reach
  • Fewer overhead costs
  • Cheap and convenient marketing

Types of Online Customers and How to Attract Them

It’s no surprise that 2.64 billion of people, or 33.3% of the total population, prefers to shop online. True, online shopping is not flawless, but judging by the number of online shoppers, people feel comfortable with shipping time & cost, complicated returns & after-sale services, and mistrust in online transactions.

While an online business excels at reaching out many people quickly, retaining this kind of heterogeneous audience is a tedious task. Which is why it is important to know the audience you are targeting. And while all people are unique, sometimes the uniqueness can be categorized to ease your marketing efforts.

Window shoppers

Types of Online Customers and How to Attract Them

Also known as wanderers or sidewalk traffic, window shoppers make up the majority of the customers when it comes to brick-and-mortar stores. In the field of online marketing, they browse the stores without necessarily intending to make a purchase. Instead, window shoppers enjoy exploring products, comparing prices, getting inspiration, or looking for a gift.

Window shoppers usually don’t even know what they want, making them hard to covert into buyers. Since this type of users can be considered as undecided, you need to influence them into making a purchasing decision:

  • Bring it to life: since online products cannot be touched, you need to imitate their tangibility by adding large pictures to your ads en masse. Encourage the clients to share their product opening experience, provide an in-depth look on the product, and make detailed descriptions to win over the interest of this group.
  • Surprise them: window shopping is about finding something unique and gazing upon it in awe. Feature some of the most popular, unique, or simply interesting products to give window shoppers a reason to stick around and look closer.

Impulse buyers

Types of Online Customers and How to Attract Them

When a window shopper is captivated by an interesting item, they may turn into an impulse buyer. In fact, an impulse buyer might appear out of the blue, because something caught their attention, Anyway, people of this archetype purchase things first and reflect on the purchase later (or never). As you can guess, they are driven by emotions.

Emotions come and go, so make sure there is no room for second-thinking like long checkout procedures or unexpectedly large shipping costs. They act irrationally, so they are easy not only to attract but to lose too. Attract this spendthrifts doing the following:

  • Trigger emotions: always keep the impulse buyers on the hook and remember that each subsequent trigger loses its effectiveness, which is why you should also…
  • Make haste: speedy checkout, fast shipping, short messages, payment options variability, and good old FOMO (fear of missing out) are all great at developing the momentum, launched by an emotional trigger.
  • Remind about your brand with retargeting: impulse buyers are perfect match for your newsletter and push retargeting. They incline to buying the products they didn’t intend to, rendering them prone to upselling, recommendations, and cross-promotions.

Early adopters

Types of Online Customers and How to Attract Them

A borderline between window shoppers and impulse buyers, early adopters strive to be trendy. They might come by your shop with no intent to buy anything, but a new model or product they have never heard before can draw their attention. Take advantage of this desire to be at the forefront the following way:

  • Know the trends: this includes trends on the internet discourse too, like memes, viral videos, jokes & puns. Knowing what is all the vogue provides insights on how to make your ad campaigns more appealing.
  • Explain how the product solves a problem: early adopters are by no means fools, so bringing in the product and explaining nothing will not do the trick. Rely on storytelling or cause-and-effect approach to address the points that might tip the scales in your favor and convert the early adopters into leads.
  • Highlight the uniqueness: if a product is on the market, it is bound to have some strengths and weaknesses. Your job is to highlight the former and/or compensate for the latter. Early adopters want to stand out, and they deserve to know what makes your product special.


Types of Online Customers and How to Attract Them

When a window shopper obtains a purpose, a lustful for info shopper emerges. They usually have a certain product category in mind but want to make sure they get the loudest bang for the humblest buck.

  • Counter anxiety: the opportunity cost is always on the mind of these individuals, i.e., “What if there was a cheaper alternative?”. Equip the information gatherers with as many facts about your product as you can to conquer their anxious nature: FAQs, price comparisons, peer reviews, live chats etc. Your product does not have to be the cheapest, but it has to be the best, or at least look so.
  • Perfect the website layout: this type of customer has a lot of data to go through, which is why you can win their favor if you provide an easily navigable website.
  • Enlarge the knowledge base: depending on the product promoted, you can write some tips, hints, and educational articles to satisfy this lust for knowledge. These resources will serve you long-term by improving your SEO metrics and driving more organic sales.

Bargain hunters

Types of Online Customers and How to Attract Them

As you can guess, we are going to make another comparison with a window shopper. Bargain hunters are also wanderers, but they have a clear purpose. Unlike shoppers-researchers, though, they are not in chase of a particular product and instead look for large price-cuts, sale-outs, or special offers. They know no loyalty, are patient and relentless in their chase of bargains, and add the lowest value to your store.

  • Know your competitors’ pricing policies: obviously, you need to make some trade-offs and to offer true bargains, you need to know your competitors.
  • Deliver ad-free user experience: do our best to minimize the number of ads, so that the competitors cannot sway your bargain hunter.
  • Refocus their attention to value: let’s be honest, pure bargain hunters are not the best pick. Luckily, no real life customer follows the archetype with unwavering devotion, which is why you can try to convert a bargain chaser into a brand-loyal customer. After all, people get tired of constant scrolling at times and knowing there is a certain cheap spot is a lifesaver.

Problem solvers

Types of Online Customers and How to Attract Them

Need-based customers are the least emotional ones and, therefore, are highly resilient to your marketing efforts. They know what, why, and when they want something. To some extent, they are opposite to early adopters, because they take their time into figuring out what they need exactly. On the bright side, if they are satisfied with a purchase, delivery, and customer service, they can turn into brand advocates quite fast.

  • Remain patient: if a problem-solver is not initially convinced with the product you are promoting — keep calm and use facts. Explain why you are better, engage the user using every media channel possible, or carefully enlighten the user — they might have made a mistake during their own research. Just make sure not to make them look ignorant.
  • Put it on the user experience: every tiny detail matters here for the total level of trust. So, ensure the support team is available through a chatbox and provide all the necessary contact information, where the users can ask their questions. Finally, use every chart, graph, and review at your disposal to facilitate credibility.


Types of Online Customers and How to Attract Them

The pinnacle of every marketer’s dream. Marketers are rewarded with this type of customer after proving their brand worthiness and quality. They may take a few months, or even years, to grow, but loyalists contribute the major revenue to your business.

  • Launch a customer loyalty program: this type of client wants to feel special and be a part of the brand story. Tier-based rewards and customer appreciation programs are great at retaining the user. Think about freebies, gift-codes, special offers, tier discounts, invitations to private events etc.
  • Contact them via emails: email marketing is great for retaining the loyalists. Inform them about the discounts or any upcoming sales before revealing the information to anybody else. This way, you will make them feel special and valued. Alternatively, maintain the communication with the informative letters.


As you can see, even on the most basic level of archetypes, there are many customer personas you can choose from. More often than not, you have to choose, or at least prioritize, the groups, because catering to occasionally conflicting expectations is impossible. Focus on a couple of closely related archetypes, say window shoppers, shoppers-researchers, problem-solves, and loyalists, and tailor your campaigns to match their tastes and preferences. And to detect the main groups in your particular case, consider researching the internet and split-testing your campaigns.

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