The more you know your customers the more opportunity you have to resonate with them in both the products you offer and how you offer them. It is well worth the effort to gain a basic understanding of the people who visit your site and purchase your products. Once you have that knowledge, you will be able to put into practice customized marketing campaigns that will be much more effective than generalized strategies.
First we will go through ways to gather qualitative research about your visitors and next we can look at ways in which you can put that data into action.
Look at the data already available.
Almost all ecommerce platforms offer basic information about the buyers on your site. If you are using a CRM, this will certainly offer copious amounts of information to put together a great profile. Shopify for example, has several great apps that will complement the information and service they already provide. The goal is to put together a Buyer Persona which has become a popular exercise for companies to deeply understand their users.
To begin, you want to gather the basic information: Gender, Age, Location, Profession, Income
As a new retailer, it is normal to see a wide range of demographics in the beginning. The exercise is not meant to over simplify your audience. Instead, the purpose is to create a generalized character that represents your largest market. In fact, many companies go as far as putting a name and face on this persona so employees can visualize him/ her. Again, feel free to have multiple personas if you see you are reaching a wide customer base.
As you dive deeper into the exercise you can start gathering more physcographic data such as, what are your customer’s interests, hobbies, values, lifestyle etc. This will allow you to segment even more aggressively and create marketing campaigns that match their profile.
If you are able to reach your customers with relevant messages, you will become a trusted resource, which inevitably leads to more purchases.
Sounds simple but many businesses forget that most people are happy to share information if they think it will be to their advantage. As an ecommerce site, it is easy to frame these questions. For example, asking for their interests will help you select better products for them, thereby saving them time. That being said, you want to choose your questions carefully. The point is to gather useful information without disrupting their experience too much. Be sure you are asking questions with answers that are actionable.
There are different ways of approaching your customers but many choose an in-app experience. This means you have a pop up that will appear on a certain page or after a certain behavior. The key is to test out different scenarios and iterate based on reactions / opens / replies. As always, listen to the data and evolve the strategy accordingly.
Others choose to send surveys to customers through software like surveymonkey. To incentivize more answers, provide a reward at the end such as a coupon code or free shipping on their next purchase. Many of these survey software’s will also help you analyze the data into nice charts and graphs to better visualize the responses.
Organize Focus Groups.
I truly believe that watching someone navigate your site in person will provide you with invaluable feedback. You can apply all the advanced software in the world to track behavior and you still won’t be able to see the emotional reaction of users as they explore your site.
Invite a few friends to come by (who have never seen your site before) and record them as they navigate the store. What you think seemed obvious, may not be obvious to them and this can inform you on simple text changes or button placement that may make a huge difference. Never underestimate a pair of fresh eyes.
Now that you have strategies on how to gather information about your users, what do you do withthis data?
Create Emotional Triggers.
Data about your customers is ammunition for you to use to entice them to stay engaged and ultimately purchase your product. The messages you deploy for your 50 year old man who is purchasing $400 leather loafers is going to be different from the ones you send to your 20 year old buying a $60 cocktail dress. Language is a powerful tool to connect on a personal level.
Take your personas and create narratives for each one to imagine when they may be most receptive to a message. Maybe you have a user adding lots of items to their shopping cart but never purchasing. Explore what may be stopping them by looking at their profile. Then compose a message that addresses that directly. IF you think it’s price, offer them a coupon. If you think it’s indecisiveness, offer advice.
Personalize the Experience.
Go through your site and explore places that are appropriate to customize based on your persona. Consider the “frequently bought together” tactic by suggesting items that are related to the product your user is currently viewing. Be sure to reference your personas for this so you can offer relevant supplemental products. For example, cross-selling cameras to professional and amateur photographers will likely require different products. The more relevant your suggestions are, the more likely you will get them to purchase one. This is a tremendous opportunity for you to not only build trust but sales. In 2006, Amazon reported 35% of the year’s sales came from cross-selling. Wow.
Buyer personas are fabulous tools with which to build an effective marketing strategy. Just remember to constantly refine the profiles based on data and evolve your strategies to suit those users.