Why do shoppers act the way they do? 

The answer to this question, argues author Eric Bowe, is the “Holy Grail” of marketing. Drawing on decades of experience in a variety of industries and settings, the author sets out a provocative new theory he calls the “Primal Shopper.”

The key to understanding why shoppers buy what they buy—and what they’ll buy in the future—lies not in the “what” of past behavior but in the “why” of their innate thoughts and behaviors. As Bowe puts it: “The window into the shopper soul is through their behaviors. In reading these behavioral tea leaves you will find something startling: nature has encoded us with shopper instincts governing how we shop, instincts I call shopper DNA. This DNA is predictable and consistent from shopper to shopper and lies within you.”

The author first identifies and explains the nature of the basic strands of “shopper DNA” that lie within us, before turning to the deeper motivational layers that translate innate preferences into real-world actions. In an ideal environment, shoppers default to their built-in DNA; but, of course, not all shopping decisions are made in that perfect world. By understanding these deeper motivations, marketers can predict what will happen when shopper preferences collide with real-world imperatives. And by isolating key decision in a shopper’s journey and examining them in the light of motivational principles, marketers can better predict where the shopper’s journey will lead next—and be there waiting, with the right product at the right time.

In the book’s final section, Bowe applies these learnings to such topics as the effect of advertising on shopper DNA and the difficult process of embedding an understanding of shopper behavior in a marketing organization’s own DNA. The result is a book that will leave you looking at shoppers and their behavior in an exciting and productive new way.

Eric Bowe’s passion is to discover what makes shoppers “tick” and design brand experiences to convert shoppers to buyers. He lives near Detroit. You can visit him online at

Canadian Orders

US & International Orders


Unlocking Shopper DNA to Power Your Marketing

Eric Bowe

Every so often something comes along in business of which you need to take notice: a new marketing channel, a new technology, a radical discovery. Primal Shopper is that radical discovery. Inspired by Myers-Briggs, Primal Shopper is the discovery of innate motivations guiding our shopping decisions. Think of these motivations as our Shopper DNA. This DNA is predictable and persistent across brands and product categories.