Promiscuous shoppers are those consumers who frequently switch brands or stores. Attracted often by special promotions or offers, they are challenging to retain as loyal customers. Their purchasing decisions hinge on factors like price, convenience, and alignment with personal values rather than mere brand loyalty.

Yet, this makes them an untapped group ripe for conversion. Marketers can leverage this group with strategic promotions to drive sales, particularly during intense retail periods like the Christmas season.

Let’s delve into the characteristics of the ‘promiscuous shopper’, understand their motivations, and explore strategies to attract them and potentially convert them into long-term loyal consumers.

Unpacking the ‘Promiscuous Shopper’

Perhaps the phrase ‘promiscuous shopper’ is a little harsh but it encapsulates a growing trend: shoppers today exhibit less brand loyalty than in the past. They’re price-conscious, continually seeking the best value that aligns with their personal values, and they certainly don’t want to miss out on the best offers.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. For years, the abundance of choices and the accessibility of information have empowered consumers to make informed decisions. They’ve enjoyed the luxury of experimenting with various brands, products, and services across multiple channels.

World events, such as the COVID pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, have further heightened the emphasis on value for money. Shoppers are not only seeking good deals but also experiences or rewards beyond the basic transaction.

Seasonal retail periods like Black Friday and Christmas amplify this behaviour. The sheer volume of purchases and the multitude of competing brands give consumers leverage to demand not just value, but also alignment with their ethical and cultural values.

Let’s face it, there has never been a better time to be a consumer. The plethora of options, the ease of accessing reviews, and the intensified efforts of brands to satisfy their customers have encouraged a more exploratory approach to shopping. Embracing diverse brand relationships is becoming the norm.

Promiscuous Shoppers – What Makes Them Tick?

At a busy time like the run-up to Christmas, brands need relevant and eye-catching strategies to cut through the noise and resonate with these value driven shoppers.

More and more, shoppers are beginning their purchase journey with no brand in mind, completely open to all possible options. However, perceived value for money, personalisation, not feeling like they are missing out, and shared eco, social, and cultural values are key drivers in capturing their attention in the first place.

Let’s take a look at some key considerations of promiscuous shoppers and how your brand can tap into them.

Incentivising with Rewards

Sensitive to price, promiscuous shoppers are drawn to competitive discounts. However, with the market often inundated with such offers – particularly during festive seasons – alternative strategies may prove more effective.

Promotions involving cashback or complimentary gifts can offer financial benefits or added value, enhancing the appeal of an initial purchase and potentially swaying promiscuous shoppers in search of an excellent deal.

Type of promotion that meets this need: Gift With Purchase (GWP)

A well-chosen complimentary gift can make shoppers feel recognised and amplify the perceived value of their transaction, thereby increasing sales and satisfaction, and positioning your brand favourably against competitors. This approach is also an opportunity to acquaint previous customers with new products or ranges.

To optimise your GWP campaign, it’s crucial to tailor your offerings to the diverse needs and preferences of your customer segments. Promiscuous shoppers might include both new and high-spending customers – a trend that often intensifies during the Christmas period. An offering that enhances their shopping experience, perhaps through a tiered GWP system, could incentivise increased spending, particularly for those purchasing for families, positioning your brand as a one-stop destination for high-value, multiple-item purchases.

Ensure a lasting impression on promiscuous shoppers by presenting gifts that exemplify the best of your brand and maintain a straightforward redemption process for a positive initial experience.

Research indicates that complimentary gifts can preserve quality perceptions and augment the value of a deal more effectively than regular low-price or discount offers (Darke & Chung, 2005).

Forming Deeper Connections

A recent survey by the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) revealed that 31% of consumers are more inclined to do Christmas shopping with brands that prioritise sustainability, a figure that rises to 51% among 18-34-year-olds.

Understanding the social, cultural, and environmental causes that resonate with your key demographics is crucial. Presenting your aligned brand values clearly can foster a deeper connection between promiscuous shoppers and your brand, potentially giving you an advantage over competitors.

Collaborating with other brands or retailers for bundled deals or cross-promotions is another effective tactic. If a larger charity or social cause aligns with your brand and resonates with your target customers, consider a partnership to bolster your offering. This can also attract promiscuous shoppers seeking variety and unique offers.

By allowing shoppers to align their personal values with those of a brand, marketers can transform purchases into positive social change, creating a lasting impression that extends beyond a one-off purchase.

Type of promotion that meets this need: Charity-linked promotions

Charity-linked promotions Charity-linked promotions let shoppers feel they’re giving back, satisfying their philanthropic desires. While such promotions might not offer direct price cuts, they can provide something more valuable: the feeling of making a difference.

These promotions can elevate your brand and offer customers a fulfilling shopping experience. Whether it’s donating a percentage of sales, matching customer donations, or rounding up purchases for charity, these promotions create a rewarding experience and foster positive brand connection, particularly effective during holiday seasons like Christmas.

Create a sense of urgency and FOMO

Instilling a sense of urgency is key to captivating promiscuous shoppers. Limited-time offers and flash sales are compelling and catalytic. They tap into the shopper’s fear of missing out (FOMO), driving quick and decisive action. This is especially effective for those undecided, nudging them from contemplation to action.

Read more about harnessing the power of FOMO here.

Showcasing customer reviews and ratings can also amplify trust. Positive experiences of others solidify decision-making for potential customers. Real stories and testimonials add credibility, allowing shoppers to envision the benefits, turning the indecision of promiscuous shoppers into action.

By employing these strategies, you can create a shopping environment that drives immediate sales and builds lasting brand affinity. The sense of urgency, coupled with the reassurance of peer approval, forms a powerful combination that enhances the appeal of your offerings.


Find the Perfect Fit For Your Brand


Remember, it’s business…and it’s personal

Brands need to get personal. By leveraging data, you can tailor your marketing efforts and promotions to speak to these promiscuous shoppers on a personal level. Tailoring promotions or giveaways based on key audience segment preferences and past behaviour can result in really relevant offers that speak directly to key groups.

When promiscuous shoppers are doing their research and weighing up options, a brand that speaks to them and their personal situation or offers a solution to their pain points will truly resonate and stand a cut above the rest.

How to win loyalty in the age of the promiscuous consumer

So, is brand loyalty really dead?  We don’t think so.

It’s just evolved.

Shoppers seek brands that consistently offer something extra—be it through value, values, or experiences. This doesn’t mean loyalty is gone; it’s just taking on a new shape.

Before we dive into strategies that can win over these discerning customers, let’s acknowledge the broader landscape they’re navigating:

Navigating the Consumer Behaviour Climate in Uncertain Times

In an era marked by economic uncertainty, consumers are adapting. They’re not just looking for value; they’re looking for values. Brands that align with their principles, like sustainability and social responsibility, are standing out. This shift underscores the need for brands to adapt their strategies to these new consumer expectations.

The Reality of Consumer Diversity

Not every shopper is going to resonate with our brand, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s not a failure; it’s just the reality of a diverse marketplace. We can’t win over every shopper, but there are plenty of opportunities to create meaningful connections by being authentic, providing value, and staying relevant.

Now, let’s explore the strategies that can help us achieve this:

Customer experience is key

Focus on providing an exceptional in-store or online shopping experience. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, easy navigation, and a hassle-free return policy can encourage repeat visits.

If you are running a promotion like a cashback campaign, be sure to make the customer journey super slick and accessible to all. Make sure your T&Cs are clear and easily found and your customer service team is available to help with any queries. A negative first customer experience can put a promiscuous shopper off for life.

Blow them away with your customer experience the first time, and they may well consider you again.

Ongoing value-add

Implement loyalty programs that reward frequent purchases. These programs can offer discounts, cashback, or exclusive access to products or events, incentivising repeat business. Promiscuous shoppers want to feel they are getting value. If you can keep that feeling going past a first purchase, you might be on to a winner.

According to a survey, 67% of consumers report that they not only shop more frequently but also spend more at retailers where they participate in a loyalty program (Bombaij & Dekimpe, 2020).

Sectors where customers make frequent, habitual purchases—like groceries, cosmetics, and dining— work best for loyalty programmes. If you can reward their routine, you’ll keep them hooked.

If your industry is a bit crowded, loyalty programs can help you rise above the noise and get noticed. Use the data you’ve gathered to tailor rewards to your customers and give them the personal touch.

And remember, with so many loyalty programs out there, customers can get a bit jaded. Keep yours fresh and exciting to keep them engaged.

Transparency and Trust

Be transparent about your products, pricing, and policies. Trust is essential for retaining promiscuous shoppers who may be wary of hidden fees or misleading marketing.

Transparency and authenticity directly contribute to a brand’s image in the marketplace. Authentic and transparent brands often therefore enjoy higher customer retention rates.

Customers, when convinced of a brand’s genuineness and openness, are also less inclined to consider competitors and they are more likely to buy from and remain loyal to brands they believe are genuine.

Final Thoughts: A Realistic Approach to Consumer Engagement

Navigating the behaviours of ‘promiscuous shoppers’ requires a balance between optimism and realism. While these consumers present opportunities for growth, not all will transition into loyal customers—and that’s a natural part of the diverse consumer landscape. Instead of relying on isolated tactics, we advocate viewing promotions as part of a broader, integrated strategy aimed at building loyalty and retention.

At Benamic, we’re committed to guiding you in creating promotions and loyalty programmes that resonate with today’s savvy shoppers. Our expertise lies in crafting experiences that not only drive sales but also foster genuine connections. Reach out to us, and let’s collaborate to make your brand a preferred choice for consumers, one promotion at a time.