Cracking the digital-shopper genome (McKinsey&Company)

By Gadi BenMark and Maher Masri

Source:, August 2015

Why do online shoppers remain a mystery for companies?

McKinsey brings the solution – the shopper genome – converting the vast amount of data regarding consumer behavior and desires into meaningful insights.

Companies should aspire to create a complete picture of the customer across a complete set of shopper characteristics :

  • Customer decision journey captures customer behavioral pathways and attitudes at each stage of a purchase journey. A customer may initially look for inspiration (ideas on what to buy) and then information (product descriptions, reviews, informational blogging content) before seeking the best way to buy a given service or product.
  • Digital-channel preference highlights how a shopper prefers to interact with a brand. These insights come from understanding how customers interact through various digital channels—such as apps, e-mail, social media, and video—and the ultimate value of that interaction.
  • Product affinity details what products and product attributes customers prefer across brands and categories. These insights are based on where customers spend their time while visiting a website and on their product-purchase history.
  • Response to offers details how customers respond to various offers and what incrementally results from those interactions. These responses track how coupon offers, discounts, and loyalty rewards, for instance, affect customer-shopping behavior.
  • Life moments and context looks at episodes in a customer’s life (such as having a child, getting a new job, or moving house) and behavior during seasonal events (such as at Christmas or on vacation).
  • Demographics, preferences, and needs provide insights about shoppers based on information beyond interactions with a specific e-commerce company

Source: McKinsey&Company