Should you focus your sales strategy on the Shopper or the Consumer?

Should you focus your sales strategy on the Shopper or the Consumer?

Many people still consider the concepts of Shopper and Consumer as synonyms.

But after studies regarding market segments and specific buying behaviours, new titles came up to help product managers to promote a brand to the public.

This important distinction between the roles we take on while effectively buying and/or consuming the things we buy brings powerful insights to strategists. Check it out: 

Who is the Shopper and who is the Consumer?

The Shopper is the person who buys a product, the one in direct contact with the Point-of-Sales (PoS), which in turn can be a physical or a virtual store, like e-commerce. They can also be those who sign a service agreement.

Note that the Shopper isn’t necessarily the one who will consume the product or service, although the person can take on this role after buying.

When someone goes to a cosmetic store and buys a gift for their mom, for instance, the person who buys it is the Shopper, and the mom is the Consumer.

This title refers to the one who goes to the store, interacts with the sales team, chooses the product, and makes the payment.

On the other hand, the Consumer is the one who uses the acquired product, independently whether the product has been bought by them or not. Considering the example above, who in fact uses the product is the mom.

One example of a segment in which we find a big number of Shoppers who aren’t Consumers is the kid’s toys, a sector in which who uses the toys is the children, but who buys it is the adults.

With this detailing of both concepts, did it become easier to distinguish Shoppers from Consumers?

To help you understand it better, we created this table with the main differences below:

Buys at the Point of Sale (PoS)Doesn’t necessarily buy
Makes the decision about price and type of storeDevelops a relationship with the brand
Analyzes the offerUses the product and service
Swayed by the PoSEvaluates the use quality
Not necessarily consumesUses the product

Why is it important to distinguish between Shoppers and Consumers?

Our needs and expectations are different, depending on which step of the buyer’s journey we find ourselves.

That’s why, even if the Shopper and the Consumer are the same person, they will value different things in different moments.

An infinite shaped form represents customer journey divided between a buy phase and another own phase with its steps: 1 need; 2 research, 3 select, 4 purchase, 5 receive. 6, starting the own phase, comes the use step, then 7 maintain and 8 recommend, starting again the buy phase.
Representation of the Buyer’s and Consumer’s Journey adapted from an article from HBR

Considering the image above, representing the Buyer’s and Consumer’s Journey, it starts at the moment someone notices a need, searches for solutions, understands and chooses the brand and, if they are buying online, waits for the product to be delivered.

During this first phase, the Shopper will look for information, in search of convenience and safety in their acquisition.

While the Consumer will experience the product, offering the verdict which will affect the decision of buying again or not, considering all the user’s experience, including the shopper’s experience, even when they were not the Shoppers, because of its influence.

When we can understand what is valued in each step, we can optimize the experience of the brand for our target audience, from the first moments they are interacting with it.

Nowadays, with the popularization of the internet, physical environments are rarely where the first interaction of the public with the brand happens.

With Augmented Reality, the first interaction with the public, like a household item, a decoration piece or furniture, can come before the client’s visit to the physical store, if this visit even happens at all.

How can Augmented Reality optimize the Shopper’s and Consumer’s experience?

With web AR, it is possible to offer clients a closer interaction with the desired item using only the native tools of mobile devices, available through a 360° detailed visualization and the projection of the product in their physical space. See below:

a sofa-bed image brings the possibility to access a QR Code to visualize it in your space, using Augmented Reality.

This way, Augmented Reality brings a lot more information to the Shopper than simple descriptions, pictures, or videos, allowing them to analyze details in actual size.

Besides, it makes the buying process more practical, since it avoids the unpleasantness of having to take and convert measurements… And it brings a sense of security by allowing clients to check the combination of the desired item with the rest of their physical space.

With all that, there are fewer complaints from the Consumer upon receiving and assembling the product, an experience optimized by technology.

And there is also a decrease in reverse logistics, a strong challenge to companies that sell online.

Creating strategies for both publics

We listed some tips to help you build your strategy, considering the differences between Shoppers and Buyers.

Consider the buyer’s and user’s behaviours

Everything starts with studying the public you want to reach: talk to both public in order to listen to what they really want, what they value, considering different moments along the journey.

This is possible through online and physical searches, suggestion forms, focal groups, monitored shopping and carefully analyzing feedback clients have been giving.

There are also companies specialized in developing market interpretation, they can be a good ally when it comes to optimizing your strategy.

Invest in innovative marketing moves

With a Phygital strategy, or because of it, it is necessary to be ahead of the competition, looking for ways to surprise your public with technological innovations, which have been becoming popular really fast.

Augmented Reality, for instance, is accessible to more than 90% of the population already!

Enable your team

Besides hiring good professionals, it is important to perform constant training and qualifications, so when your sales team starts working, it will benefit a lot from the advantages brought by technological innovations.

Is your commercial team, composed of direct sellers or an online store, prepared to talk to Shoppers and Consumers? Can they identify when they are talking to each public?

It doesn’t matter in which moment your client is, with Augmented Reality you bring Shoppers and Consumers closer to your products, maximizing sales and avoiding costs.