The animal buyer types

Hi ,

A great way to think about Ecommerce store conversion rate optimisation is to split the traffic into the animal buyer types.

Doing so highlights where your store is losing customers and what you can do about it immediately. 

There are four types of animal behaviour present in all people and each person can be any one of those animal types in different circumstances.

Generally, they are one type dominant most of the time.

Because you can’t change the dominant behaviour of visitors you need a website that caters to all behaviour types at once.

At specific times of the year, say when it is sale time, that environment may change the behaviour of people to mostly become monkey types, so you can cater your site to that behaviour, at that time.

Using the four animal buyer types can increase the conversion rate of your online store.

These four buyer types are present in all your buyers and whichever is ‘activated’ when they visit your site will dominate their behaviour.

We need to understand which animal is activated in the buyers to optimise the sales funnel.


The wolf is buying for status.

The wolf is usually dominant in about 10% of buyers. This buyer buys quickly and without fuss, however they are looking for best in class products that are clearly superior.

The Wolf is more common on B2B sites than B2C sites. This buyer is competitive and likes the best. To cater for the wolf the following can work well

* Celebrity endorsement from a sports person

* Award winning products

* Authority presence e.g. Dr’s testimonial on a back-pain website

* Marketing associated with authority events, Paris Fashion Show, High Profile Industry Events

* Higher price than competition but backed up by the above

* Fast loading site

* Add Wolf elements where they can see them without scrolling


The monkey likes simplicity, is also a fast buyer and tends to be activated during sales periods.

They will also come to your site outside of sale times but in smaller numbers.

They like bright colours, simple messaging and clearly defined offers that are believable and they like the ‘work’ of finding items on the site done for them.

To cater to the monkey try

* Reducing the sales banners on the homepage from revolving carousels to one offer.

* Clear reasons to buy today rather than tomorrow – time limit, banner countdowns

* Personalised recommendations based on previous purchases

* Home page ‘buyer’s wizards’ that quickly reduce the options based on their preferences

* Fast loading site

* Elements where they can be seen without scrolling


The Owl likes information.

Usually most stores have a lot of Owl’s visiting during off sale times.

They buy slowly and research a purchase, needing to know all the information about the product.

They hate to make a bad decision and prefer inaction to risk. To entice the Owl try

* Remarketing to build trust with the brand over the longer sales cycle

* Long product pages with lots of questions and answers from previous customers

* Many clear and detailed product images

* Third party review score clearly displayed

* Delivery information above the fold

* Clear returns policy above the fold

* Good SSL rating

* Clear payment methods shown on the basket page

* Will scroll so use full space


The Hippo wants to feel good about their purchase.

This is a large buyer type on most stores especially selling more feminine targeted products.

This animal type likes to buy slowly and does research to understand how the purchase would affect others in their lives.

How have others felt about buying this product, how will their family like it? To help the Hippo buy try

* Bringing recent third-party reviews onto the product page good and bad

* Warm imagery that creates an emotion rather than a material product

* Product copy and website copy written in a caring nurturing voice

* Pictures from people who have bought the product, e.g. Instagram feed

* Pictures of the happy team behind the website

* Blog posts that promote community and caring

* Being more than just a shop and having a mission for the business that’s communicated

We also have to think about the ‘animals’ for our adwords optimisation and I cover this in my Adwords case study video here

Thanks again!

Mark (Zoo Keeper) Hammersley

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Hammersley Brothers

Ian and I have been working at the coal face of Ecommerce for 15 years and have recently started to mentor and teach others how to grow Ecommerce revenue.

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