Buyers & Purchase Motivation

Summary on the five different purchase motivations encountered by shoppers:

  1. An economic motivation, where the main goal is to save money; ( Bargain Hunters, Ex: Coupon Shoppers )
  2. A hedonistic motivation, where the aim is to feel pleasure; ( Pleasure Seekers, Ex: Mall Shoppers )
  3. A routine-loyal, or risk-avoiding, one, where the goal is to reduce the risk of being disappointed by a purchase by remaining loyal to a favorite brand or store; ( Risk Averse, Ex: Changing toothpaste)
  4. A relational one, where buyers seek to establish a relationship with a store or its staff and be recognized as a privileged client; ( Social Class, Ex: iPhone buyers )
  5. A functional one, where the aim is to decrease the time and effort devoted to making purchases. (Search Costs, Ex: High Income / Senior Grocery Shoppers)

The challenge then becomes how to identify your buyers and classify them into one of the above categories. Some of the approaches involve:

  • Club Card membership to observe and monitor purchase behavior.
  • Cookies that track user browsing behavior
  • Utilizing clues from consumer’s behavior to build a psycho-graphic profile.
  • Direct Email Campaigns that tout coupons.
  • Analyzing buyer traits based on life-cycle stage. i.e. Younger Adults prefer brand name fashion designers
  • Social Networking sites such as Facebook can be a valuable tool in uncovering buyer traits.


  1. MIT Sloan Review: Rewards that Reward
  2. Consumer Behavior: A Strategic Approach, Henry Assael