How to optimize for customer online behaviors

The modern digital landscape is a diverse ecosystem representing many consumer types. Businesses need to understand their audiences well enough to navigate their digital behaviors, as well as who makes up their audience.

People shop in different ways. Some consumers are impulsive and like to take a chance on products. While other customers prefer to make careful, considered decisions, and as a result, they want to consume as much information as possible, including reviews, testimonials, and videos.

Awareness of the diverse range of digital behaviors is essential for any eCommerce or online brand. We live in a time of endless data, personalization, and choice. The businesses that accommodate and adapt their user experience have an advantage.

How to collect online user behavior

Thankfully, there are lots of tools that let us collect online user behavior data. These programs reveal a lot of truths about things like:

  • user experience (UX)
  • content performance
  • conversion rates
  • engagement
  • customer sentiment

Measuring how different users feel about our products has lots of benefits. Driving traffic to our websites is becoming more complex. Customer acquisition costs (CAC) are rising, and organic search is becoming more competitive. A data-driven approach helps us get the most from our audience.

On top of this, digital behavior is constantly evolving.

  • more people are using the internet
  • generations like Gen Z and Millennials are becoming a more significant part of online audiences
  • external factors influence changes. For example, COVID-19 changed online shopping considerably.

As typical audience demographics change, brands need to evolve with them. They need to understand what their audience wants to meet their expectations.

But understanding this behavior isn’t just about acquiring new customers. It’s also about tailoring your approach to your existing audience. Retention is an important concept that relies on making customers feel valued. Get it right, and you can build loyalty and trust that could even become advocacy.


Different types of online consumer

Let’s explore the different types of online shoppers and what you can do to meet their demands.

1. The Newcomer

As the internet matures, more people are moving online. COVID-19, and the resulting stay-at-home orders, caused an explosion in eCommerce as even in-person shoppers began to see the value of using the internet to buy goods.

Of course, this influx of users meant businesses saw a rise in shoppers without tech experience.

How to accommodate the newcomer?

Optimizing for the internet newbie is about making the process simple. Remember, some of these newcomers will be like people who said they’d never use internet banking. They might not trust the process, so you’ll need to help them feel comfortable.

Many consumers will want enough information to help them feel comfortable buying. However, they won’t always know where to get that help. Excellent product descriptions, detailed photos, social proof, and big, clear buy or CTA buttons will help push them along.

Additionally, the checkout process needs to be simple. Every shopper will benefit from a low-friction buying process, so that should be a priority anyway.

Expect these shoppers to generate their share of abandoned carts. Consider automating emails that give them the instructions they need to complete their purchase.

One last thing to consider here is follow-up contact. When these shoppers have made an order, give progress and shipping information. It will help them feel assured.

2. The Experts

These consumers are the opposite of the newcomers. They’ve been around the block and have developed strong expectations about what to expect. A great user experience is essential here because these shoppers have used enough websites to know what it looks like when done right.

How to accommodate the Experts?

Online shopping is second nature to these shoppers. Simple onboarding, fast checkouts, and simple processes are what they want. Essentially, minimal friction.

Keeping up with competitor trends and offering modern design and interfaces are good ways to engage these people. Additionally, you should try to tap their experience and give them ways to provide reviews, feedback, and other opinions.

3. Bargain hunters

Bargain hunters are price-conscious shoppers, but they still care about quality. They’re not necessarily after low-priced goods. What they want are the best deals.

These shoppers will do a lot of research. They’ll compare prices, quality, and value. They’re happy to dive deeply into a solution if it means they come out on top. So make life easy for them by offering helpful blog posts and information.

How to accommodate bargain hunters?

Discounts, exclusive deals, and price comparisons are great ways to entice these shoppers.

They’re not necessarily loyal customers because the best deals guide them. One way to counter that is by offering loyalty programs, free gifts, bundled deals, or free shipping. You should also explore dynamic pricing.


4. “Window” shoppers

For “window” shoppers, using your website is partly about entertainment. They’ll spend a long time on your site, often adding products to their carts, but rarely pull the trigger.

How to accommodate window shoppers?

Appealing to these shoppers is a challenge. If they don’t have purchasing intent, there’s not a lot you can do. However, because their actions don’t translate into revenue, it doesn’t mean they are a lost cause.

Make the shopping experience fun for these entertainment seekers. Ensure your website is easy to use and make use of recommendations and simple add-to-cart buttons.

Additionally, great copy can convince some of this cohort. See this as an opportunity to build awareness and trust. Some of them will eventually convert if you build the right relationship.


5. Impulse shoppers

Impulse shoppers aren’t the type to do a lot of research. Their drives and motivations aren’t necessarily logical. However, they are the type of shoppers who will respond well to ads and sales emails.

How to accommodate impulse shoppers?

Impulse shoppers tend to make smaller orders. High shipping prices can create a point of friction they find unattractive.

Some good strategies to optimize for these consumers are discounted shipping, limited-time discounts, and other deals. Additionally, they might be more likely to add recommended products during checkout, so stuff like related product recommendations can be compelling.

Eliminating friction is vital here. A simple, streamlined checkout process, social logins, and a range of payment offers can create the conditions these shoppers need to satisfy their urges seamlessly.


6. Need-based shoppers

Need-based shoppers come to a website with a simple mission: buy one thing. They’ve done their research; they’re not there to get lost in endless browsing.

How to accommodate need-based shoppers?

The biggest problem with these shoppers is that it’s hard to convince them to increase their orders. They’re not as susceptible to deals, discounts, and other forms of persuasion.

You need to be careful with follow-up contact too. Some of these shoppers might have come to get a present for a loved one. If you bombard them with too much info, deals, and other offers that won’t be relevant to them until, for example, their husband’s birthday comes around next year, you risk turning them off.


Knowing your audience is vital for creating effective messaging. However, it’s also crucial if you want to optimize your sales. By analyzing and understanding the diverse range of online behaviors, you can ensure your product pages, checkouts, and follow-up communication deliver an experience that builds trust and loyalty.

Even tight audience segments contain different types of consumers. Finding ways to accommodate each online behavior can greatly impact revenue.


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