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 A FASCINATING NEW STUDY that can open immediate profit-making doors for fashion accessory retailers suggests that we’ve been thrust into an entirely new world where buyers are different – sometimes radically different – from what they used to be. This is a major challenge for retailers, because it is still essential to know and understand your buyers in order to succeed. 

The message, which is fairly urgent, is this: You may have understood your customers pretty well just yesterday, but that time has past!  We’re now into a new shopping reality where demographics matter very little but where personality types are critical!

Wendy Liebmann, chief executive officer of WSL Strategic Retail, a retail and marketing strategy firm, contends that there are two critical personality dimensions that define shoppers now. “There are people who live within their means during the recession and will continue to do so, and there are people with the shopping gene who live to shop and will do it a lot.”

                                          5 Shopping Types

A recent survey by WSL called 2010 How America Shops Mega Trends Study, The Odyssey Begins to the New Retail World, further identifies five different shopping types that are emerging on the retail scene:

  • Shop-A-Lot Sue: Sounds familiar?  This is the gal that loves to shop, even though she may have limited means.  Her family income may hover around $60,000, but the survey found that this is not a deal breaker. “She knows she doesn’t have much to spend, so she shops smarter, which lets her buy more.” This is a buyer who does a lot of her shopping on line or at major discount stores such as Target or Wal-Mart. Dollar stores are her delight! 

            “She has given up aspirations for big name brands and is OK with less.”

     The survey found that the best marketing technique for Sue was offering coupons and sales promotions. “As a bargain hunter, she will return again and again to the places that reward her hunt.” Merchants should also try to make their stores as attractive as possible and offer as much “aspirational merchandise” as possible to appeal to this shopper.





                                          Reality Check  



  • Miserable Mona.  Ahh, this poor lass just can’t adjust to reality.  She, too, has a household income of around $60,000 but she is “so jaded by her financial situation that she finds no pleasure in shopping.”  She also shops at discount houses and dollar stores, but she doesn’t use online tools to help her.  “Making ends meet is a constant struggle.”


  • I’ll Pass Patty. She couldn’t care less about shopping; she views it merely as a necessity.

Patty enjoys a household income of $90,000, but she lives carefully within her means.  She often shops online to avoid going to stores.  According to the survey, “Low prices are important” to her but not if it means “having to shop around.”

  • Bubble Barbie.  This lass has spent the recession living in a bubble.  She has ignored all financial reports and continued to shop.  Her household income is $72,000 and she goes shopping often, even though she carries high debt.


   “Bubble Barbie is the best reason to do attractive displays of new products that stop her in the aisle and add more to her basket.  Sales and discounts are good” the survey said, “but they aren’t necessary for her to buy.”


  • Chic Chic Charlotte.  She has a high family income and she loves to shop.  However, she has been affected by the recession, and so buys less than she has in the past.  “The more affluent have developed a case of retail guilt.  She is not as spendthrift as she was in the Nineties.  Reassure her that you are offering her value.”




Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, September 3rd, 2010

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