While many consumers expect to get a deal or discount, others are willing to pay more, provided other needs are met. And, when asked to name the key factors that matter most while shopping, the majority of consumers ranked price at fourth or fifth place, according to a report from Experian Marketing Services. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

A store's environment, the brands it carries, convenience and service all ranked higher than price, and nearly 40% of US consumers said they are unlikely to change their behaviour as the result of a discount. Despite this finding, many marketers employ deep discounting and promotional strategies that, Experian suggests, could be damaging to brands and confusing to consumers.

"It is critical that marketers know which customers want a deal, who needs a deal and who outright rejects them," said John Fetto, senior marketing and research analyst for Experian Marketing Services. "Knowing the difference can help marketers tailor deals and discounts for the right audience, in the right channels. Further, these insights can also increase brand advocacy by strategically rewarding a brand's most socially connected and influential shoppers."

The report categorized the range of attitudes, behaviours and motivations of deal-seeking consumers into six segments and describes social media and coupon usage as well as shopping habits, including:

  1. Deal-Seeker Influentials
    These customers are always seeking the best deal and the next hot thing. These shoppers, which make up approximately 17% of the total population, are constantly looking for the best online, offline and mobile deals. Deal-Seeker Influentials tend to be young, highly educated, socially active consumers who love shopping but don't expect to pay full price. They are almost 2.5 times more likely than the average American to say that they trust the information they see about products on social media and purchase a product when they have seen it advertised on social platforms. They are very active on the internet and social media, especially when it comes to talking about their favorite products and brands. Interestingly, they are also highly influential within their social circles and tend to be trendsetters.
  2. Offline Deal-Seekers
    These shoppers, a majority of whom are over the age of 55, are avid deal-seekers but to a limit. Of these consumers, 63% report that they head straight to the clearance rack when they enter a store but they are unwilling to travel far to shop, even if it's an outlet. They are highly social with many different groups of friends, but their influence in the digital domain is limited as they are less likely than average to engage in social media. This segment is also less likely to use the internet to plan shopping trips or compare prices.
  3. Deal Thrillers
    These customers love deals, but are brand loyalists too. Deal Thrillers, with a mean age of 49, love getting a deal but are also brand loyalist. Deal Thrillers are 57% less likely than the average population to say that a coupon or sale would encourage them to try a new store. In fact, they are less likely, in general, to use coupons at all.
  4. Deal Takers
    These customers are social, but not very influential. Deal Takers are highly educated and affluent consumers who will accept a deal if offered, but are less likely to seek one out. Promotions targeted at this group of consumers must be well publicized online and offline. They are 24% more likely than average to try a new store if they are offered a sale and 21% more likely to try a new store if they have a coupon. They are also 21% more likely to connect to social media on a variety of different devices, 31% more likely to click on links shared on social media and 17% more likely to pay attention to ratings and reviews. However, they are much less influential online than Deal-Seeker Influentials.
  5. Deal Indifferents
    Deal Indifferents make up the largest segment of the population, almost 30% of adults, and are unlikely to change their behaviour because of a deal. Of these consumers, 60% go shopping only when there is something specific they really need. Because they do not care if they get a deal, marketers who employ a "mass-couponing" strategy will waste valuable resources on this sizable group and miss out on profits they could have otherwise kept.
  6. Deal Rejectors
    Convenience rules. These consumers are the most shopping-averse group, wanting convenience over anything else. For these consumers, who are 58% male and tend to be older, convenience, service and brands far outrank price when it comes to making purchase decisions. This group of shoppers has higher-than-average discretionary income and a willingness to part with it. They are also 59% less likely to trust information they receive through social media channels.

The study was based on data from Experian's Simmons National Consumer Study, a continuously fielded survey of some 25,000 US adults including both English and Spanish speakers.