They say that knowledge is power, and there’s a lot of truth to that, but you could say something different about the world of ecommerce: that knowledge is money.
The more you know about what your customers want, how they act, and what drives them, the more effectively you can market to them, cater to their needs, and drive them to convert.
The big question is how you can collect as much data as you can without breaking any privacy laws.
Platforms like Google Analytics and Finteza can give you a lot of insight into where your site users come from and how they interact with the site, based on their referring channel.
Most web analytics platforms also collect demographics data behind web traffic. That data includes average age, interests, household income, devices they ate using, countries and cities they access your site from.
This is a great deal of information to create buyer personas to better relate to your customers.
Keyword research can also help you and your team understand your target customers better. By analyzing searching patterns and questions your target audience tends to ask online, you will be able to relate to their problems, needs, etc.
Even simply searching Google and scrolling through results will help you understand your niche better:
Keyword research is much more than a regular SEO task marketers perform when creating and optimizing content. Keyword research helps them understand the problems their target audience is dealing with and align their marketing strategy to solving those problems in a more efficient way.
Social media offers lots of opportunities for direct communication with your customers, as well as generating information on what they discuss or how they feel about you or your competitors.
First, conduct research into which channels, topics and influencers your target audience typically shows interest in.
Do they prefer Twitter? Facebook? Snapchat, perhaps? Do they post frequently, share existing content, or just lurk? How do they express themselves?
Sparktoro is a great tool that helps identify where your target audience spends time, who they are influenced by and which sites they like to read:
Once you’ve tracked them down and become somewhat familiar with how they approach social media, start getting involved in discussions. Ask whatever questions you think are worth asking, and if pressed on why, provide an honest answer: that you’re trying to learn more about your target audience so you can offer a better service and make more sales. No one will have a problem with that because it’s a win-win situation.
Awario is another great tool to collect data from public social media channels. Set up brand monitoring for your business and your competitors and let the tool collect important information on online sentiment and trends for your target market:
If you don’t currently have any follow-up in the post-purchase period, you’re missing out in some major ways.
Firstly, it’s great for customer retention if you make an effort to keep in touch with people after they’ve bought from you: thank them for their purchase, give them some kind of minor incentive to return (a slight discount on their next order, perhaps), and generally wish them well.
Secondly, it’s a great time to gain some notable insights into how your customers perceive your brand and your product — and to do this, you should set up some automated post-purchase surveys.
You could configure the first survey to go out five days after an order has been fulfilled, for instance (allowing enough time for the product, or products, to be received and tested), then send another one after a month. Anyone who’s bought from you clearly sees some value in your business, so they’re unlikely to deceive you: the feedback they provide will be relevant and potentially very useful.
Social proof is a big deal for online businesses. We tend to instinctively want to make decisions that others would agree with, and fear being thought abnormal in our thinking — so being shown evidence that a product is popular with others has a lot of power in convincing shoppers that it’s worth their time and money. Specific testimonials can be even more impactful: reading about specifically why someone chose to buy a given product.
But that isn’t the only reason to interview happy customers: it’s also a fantastic way to gather feedback, because it makes them feel important and valued.
If they know they’re going to be featured on your website, they’ll be more than willing to talk at length about their problems and why they ultimately decided to buy from you. You can use that insight to make improvements: addressing their criticism and aligning your site to their needs.
One of the biggest issues with online interaction in general (not merely when it concerns ecommerce) is that it can’t replicate the overall experience of meeting your customers in real life and having a regular conversation with them. Even if you host virtual events with your clients, it’s not exactly the same.
Due to this, there’s a lot of value in creating opportunities to engage with your prospective customers in person — and the way to do that is by using real-world events. You can host them (e.g. arranging an industry gathering) or attend them. Either way, you’d get to speak to prospects, which would help a great deal with understanding them.
The more you know about the people you’re trying to sell to, the better you can position your product (what you sell, how you present it, and the nature of your brand) to suit them. In the end, you need to give people what they want, and there’s really no way around that — so make a commitment to gathering the data and, more importantly, using that data to make your product better and your website more user-friendly.