Knowing What Your Shoppers Want
Before They Do

Most people visiting a digital store are trying to do one of two things. They are either buying or shopping. On the outside, these two activities seem pretty similar and most retailers don’t recognize the difference. That’s a big mistake.


Buyers Are Hunting

A buyer knows exactly what they want. They’ve already done their research and they are now in hunting mode, seeking the cheapest source with the best shipping deal. Modern eCommerce has made their life duck soup. A consumer knows everything about those noise cancelling headphones they want to buy. And in less time than it used to take to download a whole album from iTunes, those headphones are at their doorstep. Over the past 15 years, eCommerce has (almost) perfected the buying experience. So much attention has been placed on getting buying right that the industry has all but neglected shopping.


Shoppers Are Fishing

If we call buyers hunters – with an exact target in mind, then shoppers are fishers – trolling for something that catches their attention. Although they might have some kind of vague idea in their mind, most people visit an online store without a specific plan for what they are going to buy. They spend long, valuable periods of time floating around your site in search of something they’re not even sure exists. All the benefits of buyer conveniences like an easy checkout process and fast shipping aren’t terribly relevant until later in the process. At this early shopping stage you want to employ age old retail magic and help the shopper discover a very good catch. Retailers should never underestimate the fact that shopping is meant to be a discovery process. The question is how to encourage, rather than discourage it.


Does Your Site Discourage Shopping?

While perhaps very good for buying, the environments that most digital retailers have created are not conducive to shopping. Visitors don’t easily see most of their options. They are forced to sift through pages of often irrelevant, uninspiring items and that element of enjoyable exploration goes right out the window. The burden is on the shopper to remember images of items they liked and even page numbers so that once they’re in buying mode they can return to that item they kind of liked. In truth, shopping online can be a challenge for the most intrepid of shoppers.


The Secret To Getting Shopping Right

When it comes to finding the things they want, shoppers need your help. But to hold their attention and keep them interested you have to help them in the right kind of way.