What Type of Shopper Are You?
Throughout our lives—and even throughout the week—we will probably exhibit behaviors of all eight shopper types listed below. It might depend on what we’re shopping for, our emotional state, or some other life situation. But, if you can pinpoint what shopper type(s) you are most often, you’ll be able to curb bad spending habits and better manage financial self-control.
We’re starting with the most extreme shopper type. A compulsive shopper finds themself thinking about shopping all the time. It may be a go-to response to stress, negative events and feelings, and even happy events. Whenever they run out for an errand, they come home with items they weren’t planning on buying because they couldn’t say no to purchasing new things. Even when they know their shopping and spending are having a harmful effect on their finances, their relationships, and their mental health, a compulsive shopper will continue to shop.
Unsubscribing from retail newsletters, creating a personal budget, locking up credit cards, and only shopping with limited cash can help curb compulsive shopping.
An impulse buyer isn’t consumed with the activity of shopping, but when a fun or attractive purchase catches their eye, you better believe they’re going to get it! They can justify impulse purchases in a snap. End caps at stores and sparkly items at checkout were made to capture impulse buyers. An impulse buyer might only make a snap purchase if there’s room in their budget for it.
All of us do this once in a while. It isn’t an issue unless we lose our impulse control and we turn into compulsive buyers who can never say no. Or when we put the feeling of instant gratification that comes with an impulse purchase above our planned budget.
The bargain shopper hunts down deals like a bloodhound. They often won’t make a purchase without a coupon, discount code, voucher, or loyalty reward points, or during sales. For bargain shoppers, their budget and getting a good deal gives them a bigger thrill than an impulse buy. However, they might fall into the trap of buying things on sale that they don’t really need just because it’s a good deal. If you’re a bargain shopper, be careful not to compromise on quality for certain things—like comfortable and supportive shoes, authentic appliance repair parts, etc.
The researcher will read all of the top consumer review publications, online reviews, ratings, etc. before making a purchase—and not just for big-ticket items. They will examine all brands and models, comparing warranties, product lifespan, and perceived value for money. Their intensive pre-shopping research helps them avoid buyer’s remorse, getting a bad deal, and impulse purchases since waiting can lessen the urge to buy. However, their in-depth shopping process can also remove some of the value and joy of a purchase if they’re constantly thinking they could have researched more and made a better decision.
The negotiator is the cousin to the bargain shopper. They get much satisfaction from negotiating for a better or special deal. Sometimes this can lead to awkward situations since many American retailers aren’t willing to haggle on price. But, if you’re willing to ask nicely and make a logical case, you can score some good discounts through negotiation.
This shopper might have conducted thorough research before their first purchase, but once they’re made a happy customer, they’re happy to purchase whatever the brand sells, often regardless of price or new retailers in the market. They will be on the brand email newsletter list, follow the brand on social media, and hold the brand frequent shopper or credit card. Brand loyalists are confident in their purchases, but they can overlook product or service flaws that they wouldn’t accept from another brand. Brand loyalists are more likely to be idealist shoppers: someone who makes purchases based on a brand’s fair-trade, cruelty-free, or all-natural production methods.
The reluctant shopper
The reluctant shopper is pretty straight forward: they just don’t enjoy the shopping experience, even if they know they need an item and have the money for it. They often prefer shopping online. They will usually wear things out until they have too many holes or stop working just to avoid shopping for a replacement! They certainly get their money’s worth out of items, but they risk making hasty decisions in stores just to escape as quickly as possible.
This shopper has a list, budget, and finely tuned impulse control. They go into a store knowing exactly what they want or need and rarely compromise. This is who we may tell ourselves we usually are as shoppers (although that might be a bit of a fib). Lists—and certainly budgets!—are the tools of financial pros, and we could all gain from using them more often!