In most cases, budding online entrepreneurs who are just starting out with their ecommerce ventures often get too excited about the idea of having an online store, and in the midst of all this excitement, they often forget about one of the most crucial aspects of starting a business – the customers. More often than not, they usually focus on developing their product lines and their online store’s website, so much so that they neglect to conduct market research.
Market Research is the simple notion of getting to know your customers, or if you have any at all. After all, what use would your product be if no one is interested in it anyway? Do note that market research, and all the process that it entails like market segmentation and all can be quite time-consuming and tedious, but the benefits that this brings are definitely worth all the trouble.
How to Know More about Your Customers
Getting to know your customers is a pretty straightforward task, and there are a variety of ways for you to do this.
For one, you can conduct an online survey which you can ask your potential and existing customers to answer as they go over your site. Surveys are pretty easy to conduct, and there are third party applications which you can use in order to make it a lot easier like Key Survey – an online survey tool which allows you to collect and analyze your data with ease (there’s a free 30 day trial – but charges will come after that.)
There are other methods which you can use of course like doing keyword research and looking at the trend (how many people are searching for your products’ keywords) or by reading about competing businesses and see how well they are doing and working out what edge you have in order to be competitive (do they offer free shipping or coupons, for instance).
What to Know about Your Customers
After you have decided on a method to use in gathering your data, you should now start thinking about the different things that you need to know about your customers – with focus on how they relate to your online business of course. Here is a short list of things that you can ask (by the way, when doing online surveys, try to make your questionnaires as short as possible – you don’t want to tire and bore a potential customer, do you?)
Who are your customers?
Knowing your customers demographics can greatly affect the way you design and build your online store, as well as the marketing strategies that you intend to use. You wouldn’t create a black and gold themed website if you’re selling children’s clothes, would you? When looking at your customers demographics, get to know their age, status, occupation, and gender (e.g. stay at home moms with two toddlers and a baby) and try to pattern your strategy based on the data.
What influences their buying decision?
Another thing you need to consider is what makes your customers tick – or what makes them want or consider buying your product. Do they buy because of the free shipping that you offer, or perhaps because of the online coupon with a 20% discount? There are many reasons why customers buy online, and knowing which ones will definitely be an advantage.
How much do they spend when shopping online?
Customers spend very differently – some are content with buying a single product while others continue to browse and look for other products to purchase. By knowing how price tolerant or how much a customer is willing to spend your product and online store, you should get a fairly good idea of whether you can use up-selling and cross-selling techniques with them, either through pop-ups or emails. Shopio, allows you to see these data in our reports feature.
What do they think about you?
Of course, you also need to know how the customers perceive you, your products, and your online store in general. Ask them how their online shopping experience was, and if they have any recommendations to make (e.g. shortening the checkout process, or adding more product viewing options, etc.) By improving the customer’s shopping experience with your online store and letting them know that you listen and value their inputs, you are on your way to building better relationships with your customers.
Getting to know who your customers takes a lot of work, but it is crucial if you want your online store to succeed. By spending time and effort on doing surveys and research, you can save yourself from a lot of problems in the future brought about by the lack of knowledge about your online shoppers.