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The Complex Shopper: Meet Dale, the Passive Purchaser

Friday, February 24th, 2012

The Complex Shopper is an annual research and analysis project conducted by The Integer Group and Decision Analyst to reveal the motivations that drive the considered purchase process – those infrequent, big-ticket items ranging in price from $100s to $1000s.

One outcome from the study was identifying four distinct shopper types – Fretting Frugals, Experience Lovers, Passive Purchasers and Social Adventurers. In our last post we defined Patricia, the Experience Lover. Today, we’ll study no-nonsense Dale, the Passive Purchaser, who represents about 25 percent of all considered purchase shoppers.

Let’s get this over with

Dale will never be accused of being an emotional buyer. In fact, across all shopper types, he is the least emotionally tied to shopping or products. He’s typically an older, higher-income-earning male who wants his purchase experience to be completed quickly and easily. As one Passive Purchaser said, “Shopping is like getting a haircut. I can only put it off for so long.”

And forget appealing to his materialistic side. Dale is not out to impress friends and family. Passive Purchasers don’t care what others think about their purchase. They make up their own minds and don’t concern themselves with the buying process. Not surprisingly, the Dales of the shopping world spend the least amount of time, and get the least enjoyment out of, researching their purchase.

Another interesting insight into Dale: he likely buys only what he needs and doesn’t make a lot of impulse purchases. His projected share of spend in the furniture, travel and automobile categories is the least of all shopper types

Engaging Dale

So how do you engage a shopper who describes himself as organized and assertive and who feels little to no emotion when shopping? While Dale may seem like the impossible target for a brand, he can be reached. Look at his shopping and research patterns and make consideration easy for him.

Dale typically goes online to research his purchase only five times (lowest of all shopper types), but he is in the store 2.3 times per purchase, which is about the same as the Experience Lover.

Take advantage of that in-store time to move him from consideration to purchase in the most direct route. Dale is highly educated – at 24 percent, Passive Purchasers represent the highest number of advanced degrees of all shopper types – so appeal to his intellect with simple, informative messages that allow him to quickly calibrate the information, make a decision and be on his way.

Don’t ignore him after the sale. It’s true he’s not likely to engage with the brand through social media, but Dale is an emailer and one in five Passive Purchasers said they would recommend your brand to a friend if they were satisfied. Make it easy for Dale to refer friends and family to your brand and he may just surprise you.

Now that we’ve profiled all four of our Complex Shopper types, next we’ll dive into the home improvement category, examining how major appliances, windows and doors, and flooring shoppers approach upgrading their largest investment – their home.

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