Unraveling Her Shopping DNA: Four Lifelong Shopping Mind-Sets
Posted April 23, 2010 by
How a woman approaches shopping can tell you many things. If you truly understand how she shops, there's a chance you'll understand how best to connect with her, what messages to send, and how to engage her with your brand.
AMP Agency's research uncovered four distinct and separate shopping mind-sets that stay with a woman throughout the entire course of her life. In fact, despite whatever life throws at these women, their approach to shopping does not change. This is good news for marketers.
How a woman approaches shopping can tell you many things about her. If you can truly understand how she shops, you have a good chance to understand how best to connect with her, what messages to send, and how to engage her with your brand. In an online survey of over 3,000 women, AMP Agency found that women have an innate way of thinking about shopping.
In fact, we looked at the data by age, ethnicity, marital status, and number of children and found that there were minimal differences within any of those categories. What we did find, however, is that there are four distinct approaches to shopping--four separate shopping mind-sets. In one of the most startling findings in the study, we found that the way a woman approaches shopping does not change as she grows older, shifts from life stage to life stage, moves from region to region, has children, or changes income brackets. A woman’s approach to shopping is very much part of who she is; it is part of her DNA and it stays with her throughout her entire life.
This is good news for marketers. Once you understand these shopping mind-sets, you have the potential for a lifelong relationship with female consumers.
It is a lifelong mind-set.
One of our hypotheses going into this research was that a woman’s shopping habits and behaviors vary according to her age or life stage and income. We were wrong. There are some minor variances. For example, respondents aged 18 to 29 years old are more likely to rely on input from friends about their fashion purchases. Still, overall there were minimal differences between the ages. In fact, we found that our shopping mindsets were evenly skewed across all ages. Put differently, there was neither a younger group nor an older group. Her thought pro- cess and approach to shopping is consistent throughout her life. The way a woman shops when she is 18 years old is the same way she is going to shop when she is 43 years old. It is a lifelong mind-set.
Life changes do not impact the shopping mind-set.
Another fascinating aspect of this research is that despite all life throws at these women, their approach to shopping does not change. How these women get and receive information about new products, trends, etc., does not change as their lives change. In fact, there was minimal difference between answers for respondents who had children and those who did not, for those who were married and those who were not, those who were in college and those who were working. The influences, by mindset behaviors were extremely similar regardless of what was happening in their lives.
The fact that a woman’s approach to shopping does not change according to her life change absolutely reinforces the idea that these shopping mind-sets are lifelong. How a woman approaches shopping is part of her overall makeup. How a brand approaches her becomes the key to a lasting and rewarding relationship.
Getting to Know Her— The Shopping Mind-Sets
As discussed, we found that women have an inherent or innate way of approaching shopping. In fact, we have identified four separate shopping mind-sets. We found that distinct shopping behaviors, habits, and motivations are directly tied to those groups.
The segments were developed according to respondents’ answers to a series of “influencer” type questions. The groups were based on the respondents’ selfreported views of themselves and their place in the world. Qualifying questions were centered on the following subject matter:
- Desire to be the first to know about new trends and products
- How they believe they are viewed by friends
- Comfort level for risk- taking (in terms of shopping and trying new products)
- Importance of social status
Again, groups were based on the range of answers provided by the respondents on the influencer spectrum. The pie chart below provides the percent breakout for our four shopping mind-sets.
The Content Responsibles fall at the bottom of the influencer spectrum; these women are not influencers. They are not trendsetters or trend spreaders. But they should not be overlooked. What they can be are your lifelong and increasingly loyal customers.
They have a no-nonsense attitude and appear to know what they like and what they don’t like. As a result, they appear to be more secure and self-confident than any other group we looked at in this study, meaning they don’t appear to be concerned with what other people think. They don’t seem to be defined by what they own or by “stuff.” In fact, 80% agreed that their social status was not an important part of their life. They are secure in their own likes and dislikes and therefore appear to be content.
Shopping Gene – Practical, Loyal, Efficient
This group is responsible with their money. They are not ones to make unnecessary purchases or be overly frivolous. They are practical. They are loyal customers and crave an easy or hassle-free shopping experience. Essentially, they strive to be efficient as possible when it comes to shopping. What further sets this group apart from the others is that they are not shopping as much; shopping is not necessarily seen as a fun past-time. Instead, it is viewed as an errand or a chore rather than an experience.
Not surprisingly, these women are not spenders. Over a third of the individuals in this group selected responsible as the adjective that best describes them, and just fewer than 60% stated that they were savers. They are more conventional than experimental; however, that does not mean they are stuck in the past or unlikely to try something new and different. In fact, it is just the opposite: 74% agree that they like to try new and different things. Yet, this group is more likely to be more deliberate about the risks they take: 86% like to see how well a product works before they consider purchasing it.
The Natural Hybrids fall in the middle of the influencer spectrum. They are an interesting group in that they have one foot in a pseudo influencer type of role and the other firmly planted in a noninfluencer role. Playing those two roles is very much a balancing act. These women appear to be very stable and poised. The Natural Hybrids seem to operate in a continual state of equilibrium. They know that there is a time and a place for everything–a time to spend and a time to save.
They are a cross between a social and trend-following butterfly and a grounded domestic diva–a true hybrid. They definitely have a practical side, but are not ruled by practicality. They also have an impulsive side and desire to keep up with the Joneses, but they are not ruled by that side either. They are careful about who they let into their inner circle and value home above all else.
Shopping Gene – Confident, Balanced, Classic
This group of women is confident in their approach to shopping; they, too, know their likes and dislikes. They are balanced consumers. Their approach to shopping falls between completely safe, practical purchases and splurges. Finally, they are looking for classic products, things that are not too trendy and are long lasting.
If you take a look at this group’s approach to shopping, you will see that, as in the rest of their life, they appear to have some sort of balance. While they are not shopping as much as some of the other groups, they are still shopping for fun or for the experience of it.
In addition, they are participating in conversations about shopping. They might not be doing the talking but they are definitely listening. In fact, over 40% stated they listen to a friend’s advice or input about different purchase decisions.
When it comes to trying new things, while they do not need to be the first, they are still open to new and different products and experiences. In fact, 50% agree that they would rather let their friends try new things first, rather than take that risk themselves. Still, over 80% like to try new and different things and just about a third consider their social status to be an important part of their life.
This is an excerpt; for the full pdf click here.