5 Types of E-Commerce Shoppers

According to research by Jakob Neilson there are 5 types of e-commerce shoppers and you should factor in their needs when designing your site:

  • product focused – these people know exactly what they want and the objective is the speed in which they get it
  • browsers – to keep them coming back you need to make sure things change
  • researchers – are collecting reliable information
  • bargain hunters looking for the best possible deal
  • one-time shoppers are first time shoppers who are pretty sure they are not coming back

This does not mean a one time shopper is not interested in speed or a researcher is not interested in bargains. It means by viewing your design through the eyes of these personas you can see how well it addresses the need for first time versus returning customers, how fast it is to achieve a purchase, how up to date it is in terms of deals and industry information and how reliable the information you provide actually is.


Key elements for product-focused shoppers include:

  • Clear identification of each product through descriptive names and clear product images
  • An effective search that makes it easy to quickly locate items of interest and to pick the right item from the search-results list
  • Easy access to previously purchased items for simple reorder
  • A streamlined checkout to get shoppers in and out as quickly as possible.

Collecting Information

  • Clear and detailed product descriptions
  • Definitions of unfamiliar terminology or product features, in context and written in easy-to-understand language
  • User reviews
  • Easy comparison between products
  • Easy-to-edit shopping carts that retain products between visits


  • Listings of new, popular, and sale products
  • Easy access to new inventory through related links and recommended products
  • Ability to share information about products they like


  • Displaying sale items alongside full-priced inventory, as well as providing a clear section for discounted items
  • Listing product prices and associated discounts and savings
  • Allowing easy coupon redemption or applying discounts automatically when criteria are met

First/One time users:

  • Clear site navigation
  • Complete product descriptions
  • Clear and trustworthy company information
  • Checkout without registration

Thinking about a new design for your osCommerce store?  How about conducting a design review first?