Ask any retailer and they’ll tell you that no two customers are the same. Part of the challenge when running a retail business, but also one of the greatest rewards, is understanding customers, building relationships, and growing a community around them. Whether they’re a regular, a one-off or someone else entirely, shoppers can largely be defined by a series of segments.

Each has its own characteristics, preferences and tactics that appeal to them. Understanding this, and identifying how to appeal to each segment can go a long way to turning a good business into a great business. For savvy, successful businesses, there is no one-size-fits-all approach; tailored customer experience is essential. Here is a selection of the most common shoppers and how to appeal to them.

The informed shopper

Thanks to the proliferation of the internet and smartphones, the informed, contemporary shopper is common today. They research online, compare product reviews, brand testimonials and prices before making a purchase. In Australia 63 % of shoppers have admitted to researching products online before visiting a store.

To appeal to the informed shopper, you must be active in their ‘research phase’. You’ll need an omnichannel approach that ties together your ecommerce, social media and bricks-and-mortar strategies to boost your visibility. The informed shopper is likely spoilt for choice, so find a way to make your business stand out; for example, promote your mission or USP, sustainability of your materials or your product guarantees.

The wanderer

Common on busy high streets or in shopping centres, these are shoppers who just wander into a store without real intention. They typically walk in because something caught their eye or they’re simply killing time. When they’re “only looking around” it’s important  to greet them, but then give them time or space. Any attempt to sell too hard could result in them leaving your store.

For the best results, feel free to say “I’m Emily. If you need anything, I’m more than happy to help” or “Just a heads up everything on the shelf over this is on sale”. Besides that, it’s best to let them be and focus on other customers or tasks until they ask for help.

The bargain-hunter

Nearly three quarters of Australians have admitted to comparing prices for the best deals on their mobile phone while shopping in-store. Despite the rise of conscientious consumerism, price will always be a determining factor for some customers. With price their deciding factor, they’re not necessarily loyal to any one brand.

To win over frugal shoppers, demonstrate value beyond cost. If your product is more expensive than a competitor’s, boast about your warranty or guarantee, or even a more cost-effective deal if they purchase a second item. If you have a loyalty scheme, this can help sway them. For not only the bargain-hunter but every segment, if you have a retail platform like, for example, Vend, you can group your customers and deploy targeted marketing strategies for each.

The regular

Regular shoppers are your most reliable asset, especially considering it is five times more expensive to acquire than retain a customer. This customer already loves you, and even as little as a five percent increase in loyalty can  boost profits by 25% to 95%. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to engage them with the same enthusiasm.

Repeat customers provide a fantastic opportunity for you to perfect your customer experience and incentivise the loyalty that can set your businesses on a long-term upward trajectory. Try to remember their name, key details about them and use that to provide the meaningful interactions that they’ll remember and recommend.

The disgruntled shopper

Unfortunately, the nature of the industry is that you will come across difficult customers from time-to-time. Whether they’re rude, condescending, or combative, these shoppers can negatively impact the experience of your staff and customers.

Irrespective of their complaint, the first thing to do is stay calm, hear their case and do your best to provide a solution that alleviates the situation. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to appease them by apologising, or offering a refund or store credit. It’s not easy, but treat it as an opportunity to turn a potentially lost cause into a happy customer.

Agility, adaptability and  flexibility have become buzzwords for success over the last year. That’s not just the case for your business, but in your approach to your customers too. When every customer is different, tried-and-tested tactics can carry you only so far. So treat every interaction, in-store or online, as an opportunity to add new strings to your customer experience bow, and don’t be surprised if you see your community of happy, supportive and loyal customers grow as a result.

Gordana Redzovski is vice president for Asia Pacific at Vend.