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Boost Your Store's Sales by Understanding These 5 Types of Retail Customers

Posted by Petra Geiger on Aug 28, 2018
Petra Geiger
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Everyone has different shopping preferences, which may vary by product type or time of day. For instance, when shopping for a tech gadget, I may want a lot of knowledgeable help, promptly. Whereas when shopping for clothing, I might want to browse quietly with few interruptions. Understanding the different types of customers can help your team know where to focus their energy and why.

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. McKinsey

According to sales expert Mark Hunter, there are 5 retail customer types: loyal, discount, impulse, need-based, and wandering. Let’s take a deeper dive into these types and learn how to sell to them.

retail customer types


Loyal Customers • Representing 20% of your customer base, this group can account for more than 50% of your sales according to Hunter. Retaining this group is critical, especially when you consider that according to Bain & Co., a 10% increase in customer retention level can result in a 30% increase in revenue. 

  • Use POS sales data to identify this group
  • Segment and create a regular & personalized marketing approach
  • Solicit their input and tailor your buying and merchandising decisions accordingly

Discount Customers • Although they are often frequent shoppers, markdowns drive their decision making process which can deeply erode margin. However, they are drivers of inventory turnover and can be key to your cash flow strategy.

  • Use POS sales data to identify this group.
  • Segment and create sale communications geared to this group.
  • Ensure your return policy is structured to minimize sale returns.

Impulse Customers • Without any particular agenda, this group will buy when they feel good. Creating an exciting store experience is key to amplifying their spend.

  • Gear merchandising and in-store marketing efforts to this group.
  • Capitalize on their spontaneity and design ways for them to share their experience instantly.
  • Plan store events and opportunities to excite and drive this group towards loyalty.

Need-Based Customers • This is the customer who has a specific purchase in mind and needs prompt, knowledgeable help. Employees should be trained to spot this group quickly and treat them exceptionally well, as they can become loyal customers once they know their needs are met painlessly.

  • Product training is key when it comes to serving this group.
  • Checkout should be quick and painless; having mobile checkout is a plus.
  • Enroll this group in an email campaign designed to bring added value to their purchase.

Wandering Customers • The majority of a store’s foot traffic comes from browsers looking to be a part of the community. Not a huge source of revenue for stores, and store location often is a driving factor.

  • Provide a friendly, welcoming environment for all shoppers.
  • Find ways to make this group feel a part of the store with non-product related interactions.
  • Know when to just let a customer browse and focus energy on other customers.

Teaching sales associates which customers to focus on and why can impact your bottom line and will help tailor their experience appropriately. Use your cloud POS software to collect the customer data that will help you identify these personas, and you'll be watching your sales soar in no time!

Download our free Retail Sales/POS Report to get more valuable tips and techniques from the experts!

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Topics: Customer Relationship Management

Online Retail Today