The Many Personas of the Online Shopper

Let’s peek into the mind of an online shopper. Where do we start? There are a number of theories why different types of people shop online and what they are trying to achieve.

After much time spent scouring the web for research and discussing the topic with fellow online shopping enthusiasts, we have compiled a list.

This list of shopping personas outlines the habits of the general online shopper, which all of us can exhibit from time to time. A consideration for the type of online shopping experience that each persona requires is also noted.

Night owl

These ‘shoppers of the night’ stay up past 2 am looking through online shopping websites, doing recon to find out which websites have the best offers and give the best online experiences. They spend their time leisurely looking through trends and making wish lists to refer back to later.

The shopping experience: Brands should realise these people are more likely to be tired. The overall layout and functions of their website should take this into account to reduce the amount of thought required to make purchases.


These people just got paid and are feeling ‘super baller’. All they want is something to spend their money on. Whether or not they have a wish list ready to go, these shoppers have already decided to spend their money and just need inspiration.

The shopping experience: Retail websites will strongly benefit from technology offering personalised suggestions based on purchase history to help point this group of shoppers in the right direction, as well as offering wish lists to encourage fast and easy purchases.


Whether it’s an assignment, household chore or work proposal, people will always find time to procrastinate. These shoppers will likely find themselves on page 43 of the Outlet section at ASOS, with $350 worth of products in their shopping cart, and the urge to strongly reflect on their life choices.

The shopping experience: To be honest, procrastinators don’t need any help shopping. All they want is a good selection giving them an abundance of options and opportunities to spend. But having good product selection can only take you to a certain point. Seamless browsing and navigation is the icing on top that will help increase conversion.


Deadliners seek efficiency. They need a specific item to be received at a specified time and are straight to the point. They don’t take any funny business whatsoever.

The shopping experience: These shoppers mostly value fast transactions and express delivery. They need 100 percent clarity and follow-through of shipments, with strong customer reviews and ratings crucial in building trust in these shoppers.

The intoxicated

It’s 4 am. You’re still buzzing from a night out and just want to do something crazy. These shoppers are looking for new, cutting edge (and probably useless) items as one-off purchases.

The shopping experience: The best way to capture the attention of the intoxicated shopper is to have engaging titles and headlines that appeal to one’s wild side and follow edgy, unfamiliar trends.

The baited

The baited try to stop themselves from looking through online stores because they know they will end up with less money in their pocket. They won’t even bother looking at the website unless there is incentive from flash or pop-up sales with discount codes.

The shopping experience: These shoppers are more motivated to make purchases when there are limited time sales, discount codes, or stock. Retailers can benefit from sending out reminders in the form of rewards or vouchers (also known as ‘free money’) through email and/or social channels.


Admit it; we can all be really cheap. Sometimes it can take a lot for us to decide whether something is worth buying, but sometimes it can be something as simple as ‘free shipping’ to convince us to buy. People will mostly choose home delivery over in-store purchases or pick-ups when it is free. Why would you pay for shipping at one place if there is another store that offers the same item as well as free shipping?

The shopping experience: No one likes paying extra for something they could have bought without that extra cost. More often than not, people are likely to spend the minimum required to receive free shipping because, let’s face it, (even if we can afford it) we are all cheap when it comes to additional costs in competitive markets. Free shipping can be the decider when it comes to attracting these customers, along with coupon codes.

There are many factors that explain why people actually make a purchase or not, including price, availability, and quality of selection. However, to understand why people shop online, we must explore the habits of different customers and then aim to cater the shopping experience accordingly.

This article was co-authored by Nick Grinberg and Jasmine Wong.

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