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Characteristics of the “Modern Day” Shopper

Shoppers are changing! They are evolving due to the advancement of technology so we wanted to share the characteristics of the modern day shopper with you.

By: Catherine Perry

If you’ve been in the retail business for any length of time—be it 2 years or 20 years—you have seen significant changes in consumer behavior. You can just think back on your own consumerism and see the changes as well! What does the modern day shopper look like? Let’s explore their characteristics and use them to your advantage when owning or starting your own business.
Gone are the days when people could only shop in a brick-and-mortar store or from a catalog. It’s a thing of the past to spend weekends at a mall as part of your entertainment and recreation. As we know, due to the internet providing constant availability of information and accessibility of purchasing, shopping can be done 24/7 from any location.  In today’s world, the consumer has a busy life and wants spare time off from work to be used for experiences with family and friends instead of shopping and making purchases, especially if it is for must-have items.
As we pondered the topic of the “modern-day” shopper, we began to ask questions like:
  • What does the shopper “look” like?
  • What do shoppers want?
  • How do they behave?
  • What is most important to them?
So, we began to do our own research on the characteristics of the modern day shopper. Let’s see what we found out.

Age

The modern day shopper spans all age groups from teenagers to senior citizens. But, the largest segment of the population is now the Millennial generation; as such, this is becoming the age group that purchases the most and spends the most money.
If this is the case, then it makes sense to get a picture of the Millennial generation to capture some characteristics. According to information on Wikipedia and other sources, the specific defining years that begin and end the Millennial generation differ from source to source. Generally, however, you can think of the Millennials as being born from the late 1970’s/early 1980’s through to the late 1990’s/early 2000’s.
This generation knows technology, wants quick responsiveness and, above all, they want convenience with 24/7 accessibility and a smooth shopping experience. All of these characteristics add up to a generation that does a lot of research and shopping online.

Gender

We found that the modern day shopper is fairly evenly split in terms of gender.  We found some statistics regarding shoppers in terms of gender on www.researchgate.net in their publication “The study of characteristics of consumers in online shopping and related marketing strategies of merchants”:
  • 52% of men have shopped on marketplaces, 75% at large retailer sites, 39% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 31% at category-specific online stores.
  • 56% of women have shopped on marketplaces, 74% at large retailer sites, 48% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 40% at category-specific online stores.
  • Men and women both report spending 5 hours per week shopping online.
This article contained general statistics based on gender, even though it was written in 2010. But, if you look at www.ecommerce-platforms.com on their “Infographic: An Analysis of Online Shopping Habits of Men & Women, you can find some enlightening information for gender-based online shopping:
  • Both women and men tend to do most of the shopping from their laptops
  • Men are more likely to use their smartphones for a purchase, (45% vs. 34%)
  • Women are much more likely to buy something if it is on sale. (74% vs. 54%
  • Male shoppers tend to stop shopping after they find the first workable product
  • Female shoppers are more likely to plan out their shopping strategies and make their purchases based on future needs
If we look at other, more specific characteristics for the modern day shopper, we can dissect the Millennials to see what this big demographic is looking for when they shop.

Tech Savvy

As an age group, Millennials are very tech savvy. They have no hesitation in using mobile apps for shopping, researching, and paying for purchases. But, the rest of the population is becoming more technology knowledgeable as well. Because the predominance of technology is driving the entire experience, all areas of shopping and purchasing are changing. Consumers need many channels through which to purchase what they want and mobile technology is a requirement where there are no concessions.

Convenience

Technology provides the ability to shop anytime from any location, which is very important to the modern day shopper. In www.bigcommerce.com’s blog “Infographic on Modern Consumer Behavior,” you find this list of where and when shoppers make online purchases that paints a good picture of the convenience modern day shoppers need:
  • 43% shop in bed
  • 20% shop in the bathroom
  • 20% shop in the car
  • 23% shop at work
  • 10% shop under the influence

Excellent Customer Service

Today’s shopper requires top-notch customer service. Many times in today’s world, consumers are as knowledgeable as the sales staff because they have done their research online.  And, they realize that they may know more about a product so they may cut the sales person some slack in that area. But, what they demand with no leeway is great customer service.  Gayatri Patel, eBay’s Director of Global Data infrastructure is quoted in the article “The Modern Consumer” on www.sas.com that the modern consumer “has the means to explore, research and share every purchase decision…in a very quick way. A merchant must be responsive to “their needs immediately instead of trying to direct them.” So, whether this is online or in a store, the modern consumer is looking for customer service professionals who understand his/her preferences and can make recommendations tailored to specific needs.

Fast Delivery

One thing is certain regarding the online shopping arena, we now live in an Amazon Prime world. Amazon has stepped up the game with fast delivery response time. As a result, the modern day online shopper wants products fast, and we mean really fast! Like one- or two-day delivery fast! It doesn’t take long for something like this to influence the entire shopping experience.

Collaboration and Social Sharing

Again, according to Patel, in the online shopping experience there is “more collaboration and sharing of information that can influence consumer decisions compared to the offline experience.” And, the modern day shopper utilizes these practices. Today’s shopper participates in social media and other avenues for reviewing and providing feedback for products and services. Technology has enabled the collaboration and social aspect of shopping and people love it.

All in all, technology is defining the modern day shopper through accessibility, convenience and information. This shopper is informed and educated about what they want and when they want to buy. They may still go into a brick-and-mortar to store to touch, feel and try on a product. But, they will be using technology to make their final decision That’s why it is a great time to be a part of the growing ecommerce industry. As the evidence shows, consumers are turning to online stores to find the products that fit their needs and wants! If you are interested in learning more about the ecommerce industry and how you can start your own online business, visit us at www.Pure-Ecommerce.com to see our collection of ready-made internet business and custom internet business opportunities.

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