We’re all different. We each have our own individual style. I have identified six recurring patterns of behavior that I identify as specific “online personality types”. Statistics show that a customized user experience increases conversions. Taking personalization to the next level means more than just greeting customers by name or profiling personas. To ameliorate customer experience optimization is to understand the six main online personality types and customize their experiences for them.

About the guest author

D764c242206c746ee7be105c855fe278 Maya Nix is a marketing evangelist in the growing field of digital customer experience at ClickTale.

Six online personality types

Dr. Liraz Margalit has studied how users interact with web content and has identified six patterns of online behavior. By giving users choices that are relevant to their personality and behavior, UI professionals can contribute to skyrocketing conversion rates.

The 6 personality types are the Wish Lister, the braind-oriented visitor, the rational visitor, the maximizer, the satisfier, and the hesitator.

The Wish Lister

The Wish Lister add products to shopping carts, but rarely complete a purchase. This phenomenon is typically exhibited by women whose thought process is along the lines of “there are so many things I want but know I can’t have”. The driver behind this behavior is the sense of possession the act of putting things in the shopping cart gives. The Wish Lister feels a sense of ownership over the products even without buying them.

Increase conversions for the Wish Lister

Your goal is to encourage the Wish Lister to move beyond the shopping cart into a conversion or sale. Track what items were put in the cart and use any opportunity you have to remind the person about the left items – and that they might be on sale.

In email campaigns or upon returning to the site, you could show which items left in the abandoned cart is on sale, or you could offer a coupon code for completing the transaction.

These types of customizations for the Wish Lister will enforce the valence effect – the tendency for people to simply overestimate the likelihood of good things happening. It will help her transition from “I know I can’t have this item” to “this is a sign that I should buy this item.”

When leaving an item in your cart on Zappos.com, you receive an email tailored to the Wish Lister. In it, Zappos busted the myth that I have some sort of ownership over the items in my cart by reminding me that stock is limited and somebody else could buy “my” shoes.

When leaving an item in your cart on Zappos.com, you receive an email tailored to the Wish Lister. In it, Zappos busted the myth that I have some sort of ownership over the items in my cart by reminding me that stock is limited and somebody else could buy “my” shoes.

The Brand-Oriented Visitor

The Brand-Oriented Visitor is driven by emotion. Often, people with this online personality type will be tracked “playing” with an item – changing its features, colors, and add-ons.

Psychologically, Brand-Oriented Visitors are impulsive and irrational. They want to understand what it would feel like to own the product and care less about rational considerations, such as price or practicality. This type of e-commerce visitor replace the logical sequence of consumer activity with an irrational moment of self-gratification, purchasing items that are neither functional nor necessary.

Increase conversions for the Brand-Oriented Visitor

Your goal with this persona is to appeal to their emotions and drive them to action. Limit details and specifications that may seem superfluous to the Brand-Oriented Visitor, and use stimulating images and vibrant colors.

The trigger is emotional arousal. Multiple colors and accessories will be tried out as the brand-oriented visitor imagines how it will feel to own the product. Rational parameters like price and ease of use are given less weight in the purchasing decision. Logic is replaced with irrational moments of self-gratification as this kind of visitor purchases items that are neither functional or necessary.

Burberry has perfected their user interface for the Brand-Oriented Visitors shopping for leather bags. Their site allows users to play with different colors and see how they would look carrying such a bag on their shoulders. The product description and details are available to those who want them, but they are hidden so as to not interfere or cause the visitor to second-guess the purchase.

Burberry has perfected their user interface for the Brand-Oriented Visitors shopping for leather bags. Their site allows users to play with different colors and see how they would look carrying such a bag on their shoulders. The product description and details are available to those who want them, but they are hidden so as to not interfere or cause the visitor to second-guess the purchase.

The Rational Visitor

If the Brand-Oriented Visitors are one extreme, the Rational Visitors are the polar opposite. Where the former is driven by emotion and impulse, the latter is methodical and analytical. The decision process of Rational Visitors relies on objective observation and factual scrutiny. If you monitor users carefully combing through product comparisons or coming from/going to a competitor’s site, your optimizations should cater to the Rational Visitor.

Increase conversions for the Rational Visitor

To help the Rational Visitor complete the purchasing process, the user interface should provide data, facts, information, details, and comparisons. The Rational Visitor will convert once they believe that they have weighed all of the options and chosen the best possible selection.

Rational visitors feel they must rely on facts and objective observation and will fight outside emotional stimulation in their decision-making. They seek logical arguments as basis for action.

Samsung speaks to Rational Visitors on their siteby comparing their flagship product to that of their competitor.

Samsung speaks to Rational Visitors on their siteby comparing their flagship product to that of their competitor.

The Maximizer

The Maximizer is obsessed with reviewing options and reading everything about each product specification. Often times, Maximizers will become paralyzed with anxiety surrounding the decision at hand and become frustrated, often never completing a purchase at all. Maximization is often based on utility, but can also be based on appearance, safety or any other criteria.

Increase conversions for the Maximizer

To empower Maximizers, offer fewer options. Enough to satisfy their needs, but not too many options to frustrate them. Use filtering, limit each row to no more than five items, and provide “suggested products” to improve the user experience for this buyer.

The Maximizer is excessively worried about making a bad purchasing decision. After finally having made a decision, the maximizer still feels somewhat frustrated with his or her decision.

Tip: Use scarcity to force decisions

Limit the duration of an offer, making it clear, that the offer or the event is only available for a limited time. Given a choice between action and inaction, a limited time to respond increases the likelihood that people will participate.

Learn how to design for Scarcity to force decisions

Take online course

Amazon optimizes for Maximizers by offering many filtering options, showing “Top Rated” items and “Most Wished For.” For example, Amazon narrows down the options shown to Maximizers shopping for transparent tape and offers these suggestions.

Amazon optimizes for Maximizers by offering many filtering options, showing “Top Rated” items and “Most Wished For.” For example, Amazon narrows down the options shown to Maximizers shopping for transparent tape and offers these suggestions.

The Satisfier

Where the Maximizer would endlessly explore options, The Satisfier, looks for the first option that satisfies his or her need. This online personality type is innately rushing and making sure that no time is wasted. Satisfiers know their criteria and will stop searching as soon as a product is found that meets them.

Increase conversions for the Satisfier

To assist Satisfiers, offer them a way to communicate their needs and receive relevant offers.

To the Satisfier, time is money. Time is wasted looking for the best possible option as something more worthwhile could have been done instead. Criteria doesn’t have to be mediocre, but as soon a satisfying product has been found, the purchase is made.

 When shopping Fab.com for sunglasses, Satisfiers can narrow the options by price range, designer, product features, and color. This way, they can quickly find the sunglasses they are looking for, make a purchase, and continue with their day.

When shopping Fab.com for sunglasses, Satisfiers can narrow the options by price range, designer, product features, and color. This way, they can quickly find the sunglasses they are looking for, make a purchase, and continue with their day.

The Hesitator

Averse to risk, weary of regret, and requiring lots of positive reinforcement, the Hesitator is scared to make the wrong decision. Often, these visitors complete registration forms or place items in a shopping cart, and then hover over a CTA button, needing some sort of persuasion to click.

Increase conversions for the Hesitator

Much like a child who is afraid on their first day of school, Hesitators need positive reinforcement. Use affirmative wording and offer rewards.

The personality trait most likely to cause hesitation in online shopping behavior, is risk avoidance. The Hesitator tries to avoid regrets over making a wrong decision, he or she tend to be confused by an abundance of choices, and is indecisive about every aspect in his or her life.

Design for several personas

Your next customer will research and evaluate your products long before you get involved. You might be the last stop on the road in the customers journey, significantly limiting your chance of influencing the customer’s purchasing decision.

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To succeed in this new digital climate, realizing the necessity of reading and responding to several different personality types, or purchasing behaviors, is necessary, as distinctly different tactics are required to win them over.

Listen to their browsing behavior, click-through rates, hesitation, scrolling, and whatever else might differentiate one behavior from another. Use that knowledge to personalize your user interface to cater to the individual context and needs of your customers.

D764c242206c746ee7be105c855fe278
Maya Nix Author

Maya Nix is the Marketing Content Producer for ClickTale, a technology evangelist in the growing field of digital customer experience. Maya applies her strong background in crafting a variety of content deliverables for the online industry to develop ClickTale’s thought leadership content. Maya holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from Tel-Aviv University and LL.B degree from Dalhousie University in Canada.

1 comment

  • 1def0372c29f32f8a197c102946dba25

    nemo on Jul 26, 2015

    Very good article on online persona types. Appreciate your research and observations. Is it possible to share the statistical data on each persona type, even a comparative quantitative analysis will be a great help!

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