How To Use Digital To Build Precise eCommerce Customer Profiles

Being able to target your customers effectively is essential to the success of any eCommerce store. You need to think about the motivations of your customer at every stage of the eCommerce process - building your online store, developing marketing strategies and managing customer service. Digital platforms give you access to more customer data than ever before, with access to their habits, interests, age, location and a whole lot more. So here’s how to use digital to build precise eCommerce customer profiles…

Why Do You Need Personas?

So at this point you may be thinking that you know your customer and target market pretty well, so why do you need to build a customer persona?

Having customer personas is a great way to make sure that everything you do as an online retailer is as targeted as possible towards your customer. In a market full of competing stores, it’s essential that your marketing campaigns are as effective as possible; that your product descriptions are as relevant as possible and that your content production speaks to your customers.

You have access to so much more customer data than ever before, but this also means you need a clear idea of exactly who your target customer is in order to fully take advantage of this great well of data.

Use Facebook Insights

Facebook’s page insights tools provide perhaps the most detailed customer picture of any social network. You have access to everything from your visitors’ age to their interests and the time of day they visit your page. All of this can be great for informing your customer personas.

Facebook Insights

You can look at how followers react to certain posts, which topics appeal to which segments of your follower base and begin to build up profiles of the people who follow you on social media. For example, you may see that your page is very popular among fitness enthusiasts and begin to build up a persona around this. You may also then look into their average age, other interests and where they are likely to be based - to create a single view of what this ‘fitness’ customer looks like.

You can see that a much more detailed profile is beginning to emerge. Look to put together a few different customer profiles. There’s no limit on how many you should produce and using your Facebook insights is a great way to get an idea of how many may be suitable for your business.

Questions to Ask:

What are some common interests of your audience?

Where are they usually based?

What age bracket do they fall under?

What devices are they using?

Take Advantage of Your Site Analytics

Site analytics tools like Google Analytics are another great way of gaining an insight into your customers’ behaviour. Being able to assess the search terms people use to reach your site can be a very useful tool for forming your customer personas.

Site Analytics

Go into detail and take a look at customer journeys through your site. See which pages are the most visited, which of your content pieces are most popular and use this information to create an even more detailed picture of your target customers.

Questions to Ask:

Which pages are most popular amongst your audience?

Which blog posts and content is most popular?

What affinity categories does your audience full under?

What devices are your audience using?

How does your audience tend to find your site?

Carry Out Customer Surveys

Once you’ve exhausted all of the data gathered through your website and social media accounts. You can use digital survey platforms like Survey Monkey and Google Forms to gather information and fill in any holes you feel there may be in your customer personas.

Survey Monkey

Carrying out surveys will allow you to humanise your personas somewhat and collect qualitative data that will give you more of an idea about your customers’ feelings and views.

Survey Monkey is a popular online customer research tool that offers a free option, so it’s a good place to start if you’re just looking to get an idea of how surveys could be useful. You could start by asking customers who’ve purchased from you what it was about you that led them to that decision, for example. Think about what areas of your customer knowledge will not be informed by data and ask participants for their reactions to certain products, campaigns or anything else you feel would be useful.

If you want even greater insight, you could try inviting some of your customers in for a workshop or focus group. This might not be feasible for some smaller eCommerce retailers, but will really add a lot of useful information to your profiles.

Questions to Ask:

How do your customers feel about your brand?

How do your customers feel about your products?

What comments do your customers have about your industry?

How do customers use your products?

Why do they buy your products over other brands?

Interact on Social Media

As well as asking your customers directly through surveys, there may be an ongoing conversation on social media for you to take advantage of.

Look at followers’ responses to your posts and the kind of questions they ask you in comments and messages. Taking account of how your customers interact with you on social media can be great for increasing your understanding of their needs and how willing they are to interact with particular topics and products.

In particular, the questions they ask about your products can be very useful for assessing their priorities. Understanding your customers’ intentions is essential for building strong personas. For example, if many of your customers ask about price as their first port of call in response to a post, you can begin to understand that your target market may be particularly price conscious, and you’ll need to take this into account when communicating with them.

Pay Attention to Your Customer Communications

Finally, the great thing about digital communication, when it comes to building customer personas, is that you have a comprehensive record of your communication history with customers. Look at your email and phone conversation history in a similar way that you would look at social. Again, you need to be thinking about the kind of questions customers are asking, their points of concern and what excites them.

Everything from the speed of their responses to the language they use can contribute to your customer profiles.

Questions to Ask:

What questions does your audience have about your products?

What complaints do they leave?

Are there any delivery-specific questions they have?

In Summary…

There’s a lot to think about if you want to build precise customer profiles. You need to be able to take in all of the data that your eCommerce site has accumulated, along with carrying out your own research. Make sure that you gain a good mix of qualitative and quantitative data and use it to make informed decisions about exactly who your customers are. If you can do this, you’ll be able to target your customers all the more effectively and you should be more successful as a result.

Have you been building profiles for your eCommerce store? Get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter and let us know which forms of data have been most useful to you.

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