9 Types of Retail Customers Graphic

9 Types of Retail Customers

As a small business owner, you need to cater to a lot of different types of customers.  Sometimes, these retail customers can be entertaining, rude, angry, or happy.

Understanding the types of retail customers will help you, the owner, create marketing strategies that will communicate to their needs and, when done right, lead to more sales.

In this article, I am going to go through the 9 types of retail customers that I have come across in my career.

The Bargain Hunter

Woman With Shopping Bags
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

The bargain hunter is out to get the best deal possible.  They will bypass regular priced items for a discounted price.

Sometimes, they will even go for a discount even if there is a cheaper and higher quality product being sold at regular price.

For this type of customer, the appearance of a discount is of paramount importance.

The Browser

This person can be identified when they utter the phrase “Oh, I’m just looking.”

There is nothing malicious about the shopper, this is a person who is going to look to “see what there is to see”.

Many times the Browser has no intention of making a purchase, but depending on discounts or excitement about a newly discovered product may entice this customer to purchase.

The Showroomer

The Showroomer and the Browser are very similar, except that the showroomer intends to purchase, but not from you.

This shopper uses your store to test out your display items (even if they aren’t on display) to see if they are the right fit for them.

Here’s the rub:  even if your price is lower than an online competitor, they may still opt to purchase it from them as they won’t have to carry it on the train or bus or even to the trunk of their car.

The Impulse Shopper

Woman in Shopping Cart
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

The impulse shopper is a retailer’s dream.  Put something in front of them and they will buy it.  You probably have seen the meme where someone says they saved $289 by not going to Tarket to buy a $3 stick of deodorant.

These are the people that many stores have items in or near the cash register for people to look at and add to their cart as they are waiting in line to make their other puchases. 

The Practical (Or List Only) Shopper

The practical shopper is the person who does their research online, makes a carefully curated list of items that they need and only purchase those items.

Typically, these shoppers have already checked on what sales you have and even if you have the item in stock.

You will be hard pressed to get these shoppers to purchase anything off their lists.

The Indecisive Shopper

The indecisive shopper is a person who seems unable to make a decision as to which item to buy.

Often, these types of shoppers will solicit help from one or more employees to get as much information from them as possible to make a decision.

Beware, however, many apparent indecisive shoppers these days are actually showroom shoppers who find it easier to ask employees their questions rather than doing the proper research online.

It is not uncommon for an indecisive shopper to leave the store without making a purchase.

The Educated Shopper

The Educated Shopper is similar to the Practical Shopper.  However, this shopper is intent on purchasing one item and accessories.

This customer knows your store policies, have done their research on the item and other items and know exactly what they want.

However, there is a subclass of Educated Shopper that likes to question the staff in an effort to discredit them and establish their educated “superiority”.

The Loyal Shopper

We usually know the Loyal Shopper by name and know their personal preferences.

This shopper routinely makes purchases, provides positive feedback on surveys and online reviews, and typically wants to be in the know when something happens.

The Social Shopper

The Social Shopper and Browser are very similar.  The social shopper is the person who goes shopping as an activity.  They may go alone or with some friends.  This shopper is there for the activity.  

You may even find them picking up items and putting them in the cart, but eventually this cart will be tucked away somewhere for employees to return the items to their proper places.

The Chatty Shopper

Children Whispering
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

The Chatty Shopper is a shopper who loves the social interaction with members of your staff.  They will engage a team member in a conversation over a simple question.

But that simple conversation can quickly become a half hour gab-fest, where you learn everything there is to know about this shopper’s life.  It may be because this person is lonely or simply because they are a chatty individual.

Generally, there is nothing malicious about this type of customer, but it does end up taking more time away from other potential customers and operational activities.


Being able to assist your customers effectively, begins with classifying what type of shopper they are.

Once you begin to identify your shoppers, you will be in a better position to determine how to better serve them and increase your bottom line.

In future posts, I will go into greater detail about each of these types of retail customers, their motivations, how to better serve them, and in some cases how to avoid them.

In your experience, have you come across any other types of retail customers?

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