In Brands, Exclusives, Insight, Marketing

When brands create a customer profile, they all use the same template. Age range. Urban or suburban. Married or single. But this template is missing the most important detail that will make or break the customer’s attraction to a brand: How she shops.

We’ll explain why this detail matters so much and tell you how to use it to boost brand sales by using a few of our favorite things—beauty, booze, and boys.

The Two Types of Shoppers

Through ten years of profiling customers and creating stand-out brand experience across a range of industries (from cosmetics and consumables to restaurants and tech), we’ve identified two distinct types of shoppers with specific approaches to buying: Those who shop with their Heads and those who shop with their Hearts. And knowing your customer’s “shopper type” is key to positioning your brand. Both types of shoppers start from the same place: looking to fill a need.

  • Shopping for Beauty – She identifies a personal problem—perhaps wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Shopping for Booze – She likes white wine and wants to spend about $12.
  • Shopping for Boys – She’s ready to date someone outside  of her social circle—and has heard great things about online matching.

Once she knows her need, then either the Head or the Heart will propel her forward.

When a Head Shopper encounters your product for the first time, whether she sees it online or on a shelf, she immediately wants to know two key things:

  • Will it actually deliver what she wants?
  • Is it the BEST of her choices?

Our Head Shopper seeks out validation. She reads reviews—not just on your site, because those could be biased—but across different sites. She’ll look for referrals  from publications and her peers.

The Head Shopper also demands details about how the product works. She likes to know exactly what she’s getting before she purchases.

  • Shopping for Beauty – She wants to see before and after photos and clinical results. She’s done her homework, so she’ll be scanning  your label for proven ingredients.
  • Shopping for Booze – Did the wine come from a vineyard that  looks and sounds credible? She’ll need  to believe that a Pinot Grigio from Sonoma is better than one grown in Australia.
  • Shopping for Boys – She’ll read about the dating site’s relationship philosophy and look for long-term success stories. She’ll take a close look at the interests the dating site uses to match her.

A brand can validate itself in many ways. It  can show the facts to demonstrate credibility, but it also needs to look trustworthy. No bubble letters and exclamation points, kids.

When targeting the Head Shopper, a brand should cut the fluff, focus on what makes the products different, and educate in succinct  and easy-to-understand ways.

The Heart Will Go On

Like the Head Shopper, the Heart Shopper will also do her research. But her ultimate purchase decision depends on the story you’re telling. She thinks:

  • Does the brand’s story interest me?
  • Does the brand’s story fit in with the lifestyle I envision for myself?

The Heart Shopper is savvy about storytelling. She wants to feel something from your brand and be taken to a state of mind through words and visuals.

  • Shopping for Beauty – The cream is called Marshmallow Cloud—and she loves the idea of it sitting like a cloud on her skin. The gold packaging will make her feel like she’s indulging every day.
  • Shopping for Booze – The blue script on the label reminds her of a vacation she took to Santorini, so she knows it’ll taste like summer. The clear bottle makes her think the product is pure and light.
  • Shopping for Boys – The bright, bold graphics and simple interface make dating seem exciting and easy. The snappy copy makes it feel like the brand understands her—and so will the guys who use this app.

Once the Heart Shopper is interested in your story, she’ll decide if it fits with her personal brand and the things she cares about. Does the tone you’re striking go along with how she sees herself?

If the answer is yes, and you’ve made her genuinely feel something, the Heart Shopper will pick up that marshmallow face cream. Her skin will look so amazing that a John Stamos look-alike will swipe right on her. And she’ll have the perfect bottle of summery wine ready when he arrives.

Pair Your Brand with the Perfect Shopper

Both types of shoppers are looking to fill a need. Both types of shoppers want to see and hear an appealing narrative. But it’s whether your branding illustrates the narrative in a way that appeals to the Head or the Heart that matters.

So be sure to hit the right points. Adjust your brand’s aim as necessary. And she’ll swipe right on you.

Photos: Bartlett Brands

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