Types of Shopping Activities

Acquisitional shopping– Activities oriented toward a specific, intended purchase or purchases.
Epistemic shopping– Activities oriented toward acquiring knowledge about products.
Experiential shopping– Recreational oriented activities designed to provide interest, excitement, relaxation, fun, social interaction, or some other desired feeling.
Impulsive shopping– Spontaneous activities characterized by a diminished regard for consequences, heightened emotional involvement, and a desire for immediate self-fulfillment.

There are four different types of shopping. Different people view shopping in different ways. It could be due to their personality, and what type of shopping they are doing. People can shop for actual items, for experiences, for themselves, for others, etc. There are many different ways to go about shopping. Some experiences for some people can result in a fun, leisurely activity. On the other hand, it may be more of a chore/task for some, and it may actually be more stressful. In this blog, the different types of shopping will be defined in detail, and with that you can probably determine which of the four types of shopping you may be taking part of in a given moment. These types of shopping can influence a shopper’s decision making and value.

Acquisitional Shopping

When a consumer base their buying activities on a specific intention or purpose, he or she is experiencing Acquisitonal shopping. Purchase in this type of shopping activity mainly emphasize utilitarian value of the product. Sometimes this kind of shopping can be not very enjoyable because the consumer may think it is more as a task, e.g. buying printer ink, filling up the gas.

Holiday Shopping

Most people participate in Acquisitional Shopping during the holidays. It is because many people have to buy presents for their families / loved ones. Gifts are selected specifically for a person , and also for a specific occasion (for example: Christmas / Valentine’s Day). And it can be a trouble to many people trying to look for the perfect gift, and to get through the intense shopping crowd during the holiday season. Therefore, there are website such as gifts.com (and also numbers of different shopping guides on the media) to help customers save time and effort.

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Epistemic Shopping

The purpose of epistemic shopping is for the buyer to incorporate new knowledge about a shop and its products. Upon purchase, the consumer stops the process of acquiring knowledge about a store or product simply because something within that place has already been acquired. This type can bring about either utilitarian or hedonic value

Online Reconnaissance

Online shopping has made it easy for everyone to find out about certain products and places. From Amazon to Yelp, websites with testimonials, detailed or short, can be viewed as to whether a product or service can potentially entice a consumer. Before buying a movie or going to a restaurant in a different city, one can look up the ratings of the many products online. Typically, these ratings are scaled 1 to 5 (as in the case of the aforementioned websites).  Upon purchase of a good or service, it is time to kick back and enjoy the view or taste.

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Experiential Shopping

Buying The Experience 

Consumers often have to buy something in order to participate in a certain activity. The idea of is the experience worth the price is often debated, once an activity is desired and pursued. However, the question truly is, “Is it worth it?” and to most it is. Theme parks, cruises, and spas sell the experience one would receive if you purchase and chose to go there. One example of this is found in marketing ads and videos geared to hotels and resorts, Disney Aulani.

Disney Aulani commercial

Disney Aulani mainly markets to family, and focuses on bringing families together. In this case, consumers are outshopping. The must buy the travel to Hawaii, to partake in the activities that can be included. They are able to explore beaches and waterfalls, enjoy spas and museums, and understand and experience the Hawaiian culture. By providing activities for their target market of families, Disney Aulani becomes the ultimate destination for family travel vacations.

(source: Disney)


Impulsive Shopping


Urgency as a purchase motivator

One way a consumer conducts an impulse purchase is through seeing a brand new item for the first time. They haven’t seen or heard of the product before, which means they don’t have any prior knowledge about it. When there’s urgency added to the offer, a sale is more likely to happen on a new item than without. This is generally how QVC and other home shopping networks work. They tell you they have “just 1000 left” while they’re telling you about the product. You either listen and purchase when QVC has said exactly what you want to hear (lose weight, look younger, etc.), or you lose out. There’s usually just a few minutes to make a decision, so there’s little time to spend researching and looking up reviews.

The same goes for buying a house. You see a house you love, and suddenly your real estate agent says another buyer popped up to sweep it out from under you. At the last minute, you’ve decided where you’ll live for the next ten to fifty years of your life and are getting pre-approved at 10pm by a mortgage broker, just so you can put in an offer before the other guy. Without urgency, a shopper will have a strong, fleeting desire to make a purchase, but could close the deal later.


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