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Latest Issue: Nov/Dec 17

Four digital shopper profiles of 2017

Rakuten Marketing network data has unveiled the types of shopper determining sales success today. The findings reveal four profiles that highlight digital purchasing patterns and show how marketers across the fashion, luxury, beauty and travel sectors in the UK, US and Australia can influence retail sales in 2017.

Thinking of shoppers in terms of their age, gender and job is no longer effective enough. Instead, marketers must adopt a more informed, data-led approach to defining their core audiences and how to reach them. Rakuten Marketing defines the core digital shopper profiles as:

1. Discount Driven - Black Friday saw a 120 per cent rise in conversions globally compared to the prior month. However, in the UK, this profile reduces average spend by 21 per cent over ten orders

2. Luxury Loyalists - typically identified by basic demographics, they increase spend on each purchase, but the 8th purchase often marks the natural limit on order value

3. Impulse Led - Usually have no brand loyalty but if brands make tackling this a priority, UK impulse buyers will increase the value per order by a staggering 83 per cent over eight purchases

4. Couch Converters - Often assumed to convert on the device that is most convenient, likely mobile, in the UK mobile conversion from click through still takes an average of 27 hours

Disrupting assumptions

In each case, Rakuten Marketing's data challenges preconceptions of how these shopper profiles behave. For instance, UK luxury shoppers will increase spend per visit by 11 per cent over the first five purchases online. However, order value tends to fall after the eighth purchase, highlighting a natural limit on order value that brands must take notice of. At this point, the brand must show understanding of the customer and the kinds of products that will complement their previous investments.

Equally, despite their association with sales peaks, brand engagement from discount driven shoppers doesn't peak around conventional online shopping times; there is less than a 2 per cent increase at 7pm (1.8 per cent) - a time that is typically a peak for post-work online shopping - showing that they are always on the lookout for a deal.

Abi Jacks, director, marketing UK at Rakuten Marketing commented: "Shoppers now have alerts and feeds to notify them if a product comes down in price so discount, voucher and cashback sites are a shopping destination in themselves for bargain hunters. Retailers looking to generate more sales out of peak discount periods should tap into the value of partnerships with these publishers."

The importance of multichannel

One common trait across the profiles is the lengthening research and consideration phase to digital purchases. Even in the instance of couch converters, who want clear direction from brands on what to buy and where to buy it, mobile conversion from the highest purchase type interaction (i.e. a click rather than an impression) still takes an average of 27 hours.

As for discount driven shoppers, from the point a desktop user clicks through to a product page, to the point they place an order, it takes 61 hours on average.

Abi concluded: "The opportunity to research and consider products online holds sway among most profiles, meaning retailers must make sure they deliver a wholly consistent, rich online experience that encourages them towards the point of sale. As a result, brands need a strong multichannel approach, factoring in critical elements of programmatic advertising and affiliate marketing as second nature."