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What Do Your Shopping Preferences Reveal About Your Own Personality?

“Never judge a book by its cover, and don’t discount someone until you know their personality.

Your mother or grandmother probably told you this as a young child when you told them that you didn’t like Billy because he was weird. But just like Billy, you can’t and shouldn’t judge a store by its name or building alone. Each store and brand has a unique personality to them that makes them who they are, for better or worse.

Stores don’t have personalities as humans do, obviously, but each has distinct traits that separate it from other stores. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular examples of differing brand personalities that we know of:

Walmart versus Target

This is probably the biggest example out there of two competitors being essentially the same, yet still vastly different. Walmart has the market cornered for making every day necessities available, and we usually just buy the brand we’re most loyal to (cereal, laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.). Target seems to attract the fun splurges that won’t break the bank but give us a shot of that happy feeling following a purchase. This could be a new shower curtain, maybe a bright and cheery bedspread, or even just a cute sweater that’s under $15.

Gas or cash? Depends on where you shop.

Walmart’s main appeal to customers is their low prices, while Target combines low prices and designer offerings that don’t make us cry when we read over the receipt later on. This speaks volumes about these differing brands, even down to how they attract customers. Walmart goes after America’s concern for their pocketbook by offering discounts on their gasoline, while Target gives customers a 5% discount when they use their Target REDcard.

If you need one more reason showing how these two stores differ, just look at their interiors. You walk into a Walmart and you instantly feel like you’re in a warehouse with its high and exposed ceilings. You can’t help but feel like you’re getting a deal because they certainly aren’t spending money on making the place seem warm or inviting. The first things you notice when walking into a Target are the banners they have hanging down from the ceiling mentioning their latest sale or upcoming holiday. The use of carpet and linoleum tiles separates the departments, but yet still makes it easy to maneuver and wander around. They don’t have night and day differences, but comparing them is like comparing apples and pears — similar yet different.

Google versus Bing

Homepage of Bing or the cover of 'National Geographic'?

We’ve written many things about Google here on our blog, but we haven’t yet discussed the actual search engine (only their various services). Look at Google’s homepage compared to Bing and you’ll see what I mean when I bring up their unique personalities. Google is nice and clean and easy to navigate; everything you need is right there in the middle of the screen. Type, boom, done. Bing, on the other hand, is like looking at a National Geographic cover, which many people may appreciate more than a white screen staring back at them. If Google were a store, it’d probably be like an Apple store. If Bing were a store, it’d be like a Discovery store: tons of stuff that will make you smart, but there’s a lot of clutter in the way before you get to it.

Starbucks versus Dunkin’ Donuts

I will keep my personal bias towards these two coffeehouses to a minimum (promise). Even though I have written quite a bit about Dunkin’ Donuts (here and here), I still really enjoy going to Starbucks every now and then. Both brands have created a unique feel to their locations and their differences easily stack up. Walking into a Starbucks always reminds me of walking into a living room because it’s nice and cozy and easy to sit for a while with a laptop or book. However, Dunkin’ Donuts has more of a diner feel, in that you get your things and go. Sure there are tables available, but have you ever noticed that people never take their coats off while they sit there? Just saying.

Someone who doesn't know how to order a medium-sized drink.

Their offerings couldn’t be any different, either. Starbucks prides themselves on offering hundreds of drink combinations that make even the least decisive people feel like they’ve made a decision. Dunkin’ Donuts is a bit more relaxed with their offerings; sure, they offer mochas and lattes, but you don’t have the customers standing in line rambling off a huge order for one drink. One final note that must be made about these two brands is the experiences they offer to their customers are vastly different. Starbucks has the prestige of being a high-end coffee retailer and they extend that onto their customers with all their available products. Dunkin’ Donuts, on the other hand, has a more approachable personality. You don’t have to know another language to order a medium-sized black coffee. Neither one is bad nor the “right” one, but they offer different experiences to their customers.

"Oops, just a small knot!"

They say you can tell a lot about a person based on a variety of things: what shoes they wear, how clean their fingernails are, and my personal favorite, how they deal with tangled Christmas lights. But, I think you can gain a glimpse of a stranger’s personality based on where the stores and brands they prefer. Are they budget conscious? Do they favor sleek and clean over vibrant and eye-catching? Do they prefer to stop and sit or get going right away? Depending on what their answers are, you can guess there’s a store with that exact same personality out there!

What are your thoughts? Do you share a personality with one of these stores? Is it one that you regularly shop at? Sound off below!



Amy Swanson

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ content developers and social media coordinators. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can connect with Amy on

Comments

  1. Eric

    Wal-Mart? Open 24 hours. And the prices are freakin’ unbeatable. If there’s ever a DVD set you want, look it up on their website. Chances are it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than most stores, and you can have it delivered to your local store for pick-up. No shipping charges, and the same great online price. It’s saved us some serious money when it comes to boxed sets. Target’s a much nicer shopping atmosphere, given, but I like the Walton no-frills approach to picking up what you need. Nice post, Amy!

    • Amy Swanson

      You seem like a “no-frills” sorta guy, Eric. Walmart keeps their decorations and in-store design to an absolute minimum I think to keep their prices low. It seems to be working for them ;)

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Jeff Porretto

    Holy moly Amy! This is GREAT stuff! It totally sums up my thoughts about these places that have been floating in my brain but I could never concisely get out. I think each of these places have their own pluses. I go to Wal mart when I need the price, and Target when I need the quality. I go to DD when I need something fast, and SB when I need something special. And I just never go to Bing ;) Not a fan.

    P.S. I hope you feel safe saying Google is like Apple. Results for “Amy Swanson” just got sent down to page 8 =]

    • Amy Swanson

      Aww, thanks Jeff :) I’m glad you liked this post, it’s been one that I’ve been working on for a couple months and have been adding to it whenever I thought of something. Glad the final product didn’t just sound like a bunch of random thoughts haha

      Pfft, I ain’t afraid of no Google ;) (my incredibly lame attempt at a Ghostbusters’ quote, my sincere apologizes haha)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      But just got bumped up to page one on Bing. ;)

  3. Joseph Giorgi

    I’ll usually opt for Starbucks over Dunkin’ Donuts any day of the week (sorry, Amy), but I do appreciate DD’s more streamlined selections from time to time, especially when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere.

    As far as Wal-Mart and Target, well, I hate to say it: I’m more partial to Wal-Mart. Target has ‘nicer’ selections, sure, but they can’t beat Wal-Mart’s prices — which is unfortunate, because I’d probably shop at Target a lot more often if their prices were more reasonable.

    Google vs. Bing? Yeah, no contest there.

    Great post, Amy!

    • Amy Swanson

      Oh man, I’m just striking out left and right with you here, Joe hahaha. No but really, it’s so nice that you can choose to go to Walmart over Target and not have to drive another forty-five minutes to get there. Plus, y’know the whole “saving money” angle Walmart has going for them is pretty sweet ;)

  4. Jaimie Smith

    Amy I can’t even explain how awesome this post is!! You worded everything perfect. Like Jeff said, i have thought about all this too, its just hard to actually get the words down and out there.
    I will def say, though, I am more of a Target fan than Walmart! idk what it is, but i am obsessed with Target! I just love going in there. My best friend and I used to go in there to buy 1 thing…chapstick. We stand in that aisle for about 10 minutes deciding if were gonna try something new, or stick with what we usually do. Then we walk around the store for about a half hour and come out spending way more than just the two bucks for chapstick. i just love, target! all there is to it!
    Seriously, AWESOME post, Amy!!! :)

    • Amy Swanson

      Thanks so much, Jaimie! Like I said to Jeff, it’s so nice to hear that this came out clear and not random thought bubbles :)

      Anytime I go into Target for one lousy thing I end up walking out spending at least $40, every single time! It’s got to the point where I have to avoid going there, haha.

  5. Eric

    For the record, think I’ve gotta ask…

    …does anyone use Bing?

    • Amy Swanson

      I used it for the first time to be able to compare search results with Google for this blog. That was my first and last time.

  6. Mandy Kilinskis

    From this list: Target and Starbucks. I guess I like the more high-end finer things in life? Though I do enjoy Dunkin Donuts coffee now and again, I refuse to step foot in a Walmart. Fun fact 1: Many of the prices of everyday items are exactly the same at Target and Walmart. Produce is cheaper at Walmart, but if you want Poptarts, 97 out of 100 times they are the same price at both stores. (Yes, this former Target employee is biased, but facts back me up!)

    Fun fact 2: Google has a patent on their homepage design! That’s why Bing can’t be as streamlined and focused. I guess that’s why they decided to have a fun nature picture instead. I don’t use Bing, but that’s more of a Google habit then any personal grudge against Bing. I should give it a try some time.

    Anyway, preferences aside, great post, Amy! Definitely gets you thinking! ;)

    • amy swanson

      You’d be a perfect member of the “Finer Things Club” apparently ;) I would probably shop more at Walmart if I could get over the “warehouse” feel and they had more brands available in their grocery department. I went in there one time for Diet Coke with Lime (yes, a very “niche” product but I loved it and couldn’t get enough of it one summer) and none of the Walmarts had it. They had Coke and Diet Coke. Since then I haven’t been real impressed with their product selection.

      Ps. I had no idea Google had a patent on their home page. *Mind Blown*

  7. Rachel

    I’m definitely a Target girl! I simply do not go to Walmart anymore. I think it’s because the one closest to my house is really dirty and messy, so I associate that with all Walmarts now. Anyway, great post, Amy! Lots of really cool comparisons here — you’re definitely right, each story has its own personality. Thanks for the rundown! :)

    • amy swanson

      Thanks so much, Rachel :D The Walmart closest to my house before another one was built is horrible. It’s from like 1985 and it’s so dingy and dark inside, it’s like the employees have completely given up. Target on the other hand, pristine and clean. Walmart 0 Target 1.

  8. Jen

    I loved how you compared Google to Apple, because I have always thought of them as similar in many ways. I used Bing once and gave up, it never gave me what I was searching for no matter how I searched for it. Bing=Lame.

    As far as Wal-Mart and Target, I like shopping Target more (better atmosphere and selection), but I pass a Wal-Mart on my way home from work, so I shop there more because of the convenience.

    I prefer Starbucks coffee to DD coffee, but I like the food selection at DD more than Starbucks. Therefore they are equal to me.

    Great post Amy! I really enjoyed your comparisons, they were very well thought out.

    • Amy Swanson

      I used Bing for the first time researching for this blog and I really disliked it. As someone who has internet ADHD I clicked onto Bing and then got distracted by the home page for ten minutes and almost forgot why I was on the site in the first place. Not cool Bing, not cool.

      I’m glad you liked it, Jen :) I’d love to do another one using different companies, so if you think of any just pass them along!

  9. Jen

    P.S. That picture at the top is super creepy.

    • amy swanson

      Haha, Mandy actually put her hand up to cover it up while she was reading. I’ll try to find something less creepy next time ;)

    • Jill Tooley

      It’s absolutely TERRIFYING. I think I had a nightmare about that guy last night… :(

  10. Amanda

    Great post Amy! I love Walmart and like Target. Walmart is nice because I don’t do much “for fun” shopping. I buy things like milk, dog food, laundry detergent, cleaners, food, body wash, etc. all the time! So for me, going to Walmart always turns out better because of selection and price on those kinds of items. Target is nice sometimes for leisurely shopping, and because of the 5% discount, but even the brand new one near my house that has groceries can’t compare in selection or price to our Walmart. I probably go to a Starbucks/DD 3x a year, so I don’t have a preference there. And for searching, I always use Google. Nice and simple. ;-)

    • amy swanson

      I think people’s perceptions of Walmart really depend on what their closest Walmart is like. The one closest to my house (before a newer one was built) is horrible. It’s old and dingy inside, not welcoming at all. But the Walmart by my grandparent’s place in Iowa is newer and really nice. It’s clean and bright and if it weren’t 2 hours away I would shop there.

      Thanks so much for commenting, Amanda! :)

  11. Jill Tooley

    Awesome post, Amy!

    I’m loyal to Target (haven’t shopped in a Wal-Mart for 3 years now!) because their stores are clean, organized, and their prices are reasonable. Plus, they have nice stuff! :) I also love DD over Starbucks — I can’t justify paying $3-$4 for a large cup of coffee, and the beans always taste burned to me.

    I really, really, REALLY want to like Bing. I do. Their commercials are somewhat interesting and I see what they’re trying to do with their ads, but it’s just never enough unfortunately. The search results I get are usually irrelevant or way outdated. C’mon, Bing! Step up your game! Someone needs to knock you-know-who off their thrones! ;)

    • Jill Tooley

      By the way, the personalities you mentioned for these brands are all dead-on. And I 100% identify with my “favorites” of the companies! :)

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