Marketing to Relational and Transactional Shoppers

Mar 3 09:02 2009 Kaye Z. Marks Print This Article

How to deal with and market to different kinds of shoppers

You know who your target market is,Guest Posting and you know what you want to say, but do you know how you should say it?

When people are shopping for a certain product, about half of them shop in what’s known as relational mode and the other half shop in transactional mode. But, no one shops in one mode all the time. The same person can shop in the two modes at different times, depending on the item that he is shopping for. Knowing how to reach each of these types of shoppers can significantly increase your sales.

Relational mode According to ad wizard Roy H. Williams, a customer that shops in relational mode means she shops for something for reasons other than price alone. She might frequent a grocery store because she likes the customer service – she doesn’t go there because they are the cheapest in town.

A customer in relational mode has many characteristics: 1. Thinks about things for the long run. 2. Shops at one place frequently. 3. Doesn't like to negotiate or comparison shop. 4. Is afraid of making a poor choice. 5. Wants an expert opinion. 6. Considers time spent shopping to be part of the purchase price. 7. More likely to become a repeat customer.

Relational customers think emotionally. Use the following tactics to draw them in:

1. Show your vulnerabilities. Your personal vulnerabilities, not your business vulnerabilities! If you share your business feelings – hopes, dreams, failures that you’ve learned from, you’ll grab the relational shoppers. And be genuine and truthful in your statements – being lied to will not encourage a relational shopper to purchase from you again.

2. Use the owner as the spokesperson. Dave Thomas of Wendy’s is a good example. He stood in front of his product to personally guarantee value.

3. Don’t use expiration dates. Creating a sense of urgency in your ads like “Hurry – sale ends Saturday!” won’t motivate these shoppers. Knowing that you will always be there when they need you is what motivates them.

4. Use words and phrases that show you are competent. Remember, these shoppers are looking for an expert. Of course, calling yourself an expert won’t work – they want to form that opinion themselves. These shoppers’ biggest fear is not making the right choice, so calm that fear by showing how you can guide them on the right path.

Transactional mode When people shop in transactional mode, they are focused on getting the best price. They want a bargain. They believe they already know enough about the product to make a wise choice, without any input from the business or an expert.

The characteristics of a person in transactional mode: 1. Thinks about things in the short term. 2. Doesn’t care about future transactions. 3. Enjoys negotiating and the shopping process. 4. Fears overpaying. 5. Spends, or is willing to spend, much time investigating the purchase. 6. Doesn’t need an expert because she is one. 7. Bases every buying decision on price.

Customers in transactional mode respond quickly to advertising – quicker than relational mode shoppers. Use the following tactics to draw them in:

1. Use expiration dates. This type of shopper responds to deals that don’t last forever. They’d rather shop somewhere where they feel they’re getting the best price and that those who wait will lose out. These shoppers will respond to your color printing ads or weekly newspaper inserts that tell them to hurry or they’ll miss a deal.

2. Reduce your price or offer a discount or coupon. The better the bargain, even if it’s only perceived, reels in these customers. Many retail stores jack up their prices and have everything on sale all the time. These stores are appealing to transactional shoppers.

3. Discount a quality brand. Again, this deals with the bargain idea. Low prices and sales are expected at a place like Target for clothes, but if Saks Fifth Avenue has a sale – watch out!

4. Be specific about your offer. These shoppers will be skeptical of ads that say “up to 50 percent off” – they want to know the exact amount they’ll be saving. They won’t be as motivated if you just give them a vague sale – tell them exactly how much of a sale they’re getting.

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Kaye Z. Marks
Kaye Z. Marks

Kaye Z. Marks is an avid writer 

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