Basic psychological patterns drive the user behavior on an e-commerce website

I am of the opinion that every eCommerce shopper is unique and it is best to categorise him or her broadly. Many visit with a particular product in mind. Some decide what to buy only after visiting the eStore and reviewing the product offerings. Hence, all the varied elements of an eCommerce site are significant to ensure the success of the platform ranging from product images to descriptions to registration to checkout. But every shopper has their own preferences and rely on different elements.

When a design team is able to identify the user types, it becomes easy to create user-friendly experiences for all type/kind of shoppers. My experience of working in the eCommerce domain suggests that every shopper type has his/her unique requirements.

According to me, there are five main shopper types –

 Product focused

This category of shoppers is aware of what they require. They have a possible replacement for something they already have. They are research-driven and purchase products that they require. Since these shoppers love to research, they have probably visited brick-and-mortar stores already but inclined to opt for online purchases. They know what they want and hence want the web platform to meet their requirement quickly.

They are not probably interested in browsing the complete site and not keen to look at product descriptions. If they have located what they want, they will purchase it quickly. They may not be in a hurry but do not prefer to linger around.

Some of the essential elements for product-focused shoppers comprise –

  • Based on descriptive names and clear product images, clear identification of every product
  • An easy to use, efficient search that helps to locate items of interest
  • Quick access to past bought products for the purpose of reorder
  • A streamlined checkout to get users in and out as fast as possible


These shoppers are categorised as ‘leisurely shoppers’ who visit a store either for inspiration or to pass the time. They are keen to stay updated with the current trends, think about future purchases, or plan their next shopping trip by browsing the eCommerce platforms.

This can work in favour of a business as consumers want to spend time with your venture/brand and also a close possibility of their becoming potential customers. They want to find out what’s new/what’s popular/what’s on sale. When this section of shoppers visits your site regularly, they are obviously looking for new information instead of seeing what they saw last week. Latest items, deals, what others are purchasing, suggested products, top-selling products, popular products, and top-ranked products can lure the attention of the browsing shoppers.

Some of the essential elements for browsing shoppers comprise-

  • Listings of the new, popular, and sale products
  •  Access to new inventory via related links and recommended products
  •  Ability to share details about specific products they prefer/ like

Bargain Seekers

Bargain seekers are always on the lookout for the best deal possible. Bargain-hunting behaviour is expected to impact the other types of shoppers. Few shoppers only choose to buy when they get the best bargains. They want to identify the best deals. Hence, for this category of shoppers prices should be clearly listed. In fact, the sale items should be properly highlighted and enjoy enhanced visibility (mentioning the savings made).

It is possible to transform the bargain hunters into repeat customers. Every eCommerce portal should focus upon sending coupons, providing discounts and offer the shoppers free shipping even with minimum purchases to lure this type of consumers.

Some of the key elements for this type of shoppers include –

  • Making the sale items visible along with the full-priced inventory. Provide a clear section for the discounted products as well.
  • Listing of the product prices, discounts and the savings.
  • Permitting the shoppers to easily redeem coupons.

One-time shoppers

This variant of the shoppers is a culmination of a lot of things – product driven, simple browsing, bargain seekers or probably just researching. The one-time shoppers are the ones who receive gift card buyers, simple gift buyers or even gift card recipients. They have a target/goal in mind when they decide to visit an eStore. There are high chances that they won’t visit the site after the purchase is completed as they are only interested in meeting the one-time need.

Since this type of shoppers have low chances of knowing how the eCommerce store works, it becomes mandatory for the store owner to comprise clear site navigation. It is believed that a clear product description enhances their shopping experience.

The one-time shoppers often complain about the lengthy registration process. According to most of them, registration and checkout are time-consuming. They prefer and like to visit those platforms that let them opt for a purchase without creating an account or allow guest checkout.

Some of the important elements to consider for one-time shoppers comprise-

  • Clear site navigation
  • Full product descriptions
  • Clear company details
  • Allowing purchase without registration


I agree with the eCommerce industry experts that top-notch user experience is a must for all shoppers but varied elements assume relevance based on the end target of the shoppers. When the designs are implemented with the user types in mind, the shopping experience only gets better


2 thoughts on “Basic psychological patterns drive the user behavior on an e-commerce website

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s