Ecommerce isn’t new. In fact, it’s an established industry that’s growing every year. According to industry analysts, ecommerce sales are projected to reach nearly $500 billion by 2018.
If you are an ecommerce store owner, this is obviously good news for you. However, it is also an alarming sign which says that from now on, there will be a slim margin of error, and every wrong step will cost more in the future.
On one hand, the ecommerce industry is growing, and more and more players are entering the market. Type in any possible retail-related keyword and you will find multiple websites selling your desired product with a variety of prices, colors and options ranging from various delivery schedules to payment modules.
On the flip side, ecommerce store owners are still a bit behind at providing the highest quality service to potential clients. We all know the importance of the live chat option on an ecommerce website, but there are several e-stores that aren’t using this very vital feature, causing their customers go to their competitors.
Mistakes like this and others, such as choosing the wrong CMS platform, not writing unique product descriptions and not recognizing target audiences can cost businesses dearly.
This is why ecommerce consultants are offering services to help you fix these and similar problems, and to help you acquire new customers and turn them into brand advocates.
The right CMS platform can be chosen for you by professional developers and content problems can be resolved by a team of writers, but there is one thing that you as a store owner need to do all by yourself: decide who your target audience is and sell to them accordingly.
Who is the right audience for my business?
Every ecommerce storeowner should be asking this essential question before setting up his next campaign: ”Who is my target audience?” The answer lies in persona research.
You need to conduct your persona research to find out who your target audience is and to create the kind of promotional campaigns that hit the right nerve.
Imagine that your target audience is businesswomen over the age of 35. They will naturally be more interested in purchasing high-quality products than going for discounts. As you launch your campaign, you give flash sales instead of quality products and choose funky colors instead of neutral, more professional tones. This kind of campaign will definitely fail, not because of how it was developed or executed, but because it wasn’t a good fit for your target audience.
How to research buyers persona?
There are many different ways to understand your target persona and the kind of content you should be creating for your audience. Here are some areas that will help you understand your target market better:
- Dive deep into your sales data
If you have a running business, this is the first place you can dig into in order to understand your target persona. The idea is to look at your sales data and segment your existing customers based on their age, location and interest.
You might have several different personas, but try to segment and give them a fictional character representation to understand your customers better. Then, develop and direct your content marketing strategies accordingly.
- Look into your Facebook data
As a business, you must already have a Facebook page set up that is used to interact with your potential audience.
The idea is to go deep into Facebook Insights, see details about the audience that is interacting with you most often, study them and add them to your list of ‘fictional characters.’
- Call your existing and potential customers
This may sound a bit pushy, but trust me, it works. The idea is to delve into your customer data (both existing and potential customers) and call them. Ask them a couple of questions that will help make your persona a little clearer.
What if I have a new business?
If you are a new business and you have very little or no data in Google Analytics and Facebook Insight, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Contact your potential customers
Even if you are a newbie in the ecommerce industry, you can start with this. Just create a couple of questions that will allow you to get a better picture of your target persona and call potential customers to see if they fit that persona.
If they are not your customers, there is a good chance they may hesitate a little in answering your questions, but a discount on their next order or some other kind of compensation might help you get your answers.
- Audience interests
As a new business, the best place to start would be a website like www.similarweb.com. Search for your competitors to see what kind of people buy from them. This will not give you an exact idea of your target audience, but it will be a great place to start.
You can also dig into social media trends, hashtags, blogs and similar materials to see what kind of audience is most active, and sketch your target persona accordingly.
You can use tools like ‘User Testing’ to run questions and see how people respond to them. Some websites also allow you to run remote user testing (with some follow-up questions). You’ll have less control over sessions, but it’s a great resource for quick user testing.
Also, if you are interviewing people, try to give something in return so that they feel comfortable answering your questions and feel that their time is worthy.
How to create a persona research document?
You have to create fictional characters of what your audience is like. Here is what a persona sketch of your target audience looks like:
What questions should you ask?
Go ahead and start asking them questions. Actually, the more questions you ask, the more detailed the sketch.
Needless to say, you have to limit questions to a degree in which people can easily answer them and feel good about the whole process.
Here are some important questions you can ask:
- What do you do? (Job title, position in the company.)
- What does your typical day look like? (This will tell you more about his/her routine.)
- What skills are required to do your particular job? (Ask this question only if your product requires it.)
- In what industry is your company?
- What is the size and revenue of your company?
- What is your biggest challenge?
- What do you read? (Both online and offline.)
- Which social media platforms do you use most? (Facebook, Twitter or any other?)
- What is your personal and educational background? (This covers name, age, location, educational background and anything else that’s relevant.)
- What is your preferred purchasing method, and why? (Also discuss his/her most recent purchase and why he/she made it.)
Persona Research is important for every ecommerce business, as it will give you a clearer picture of what your audience looks like. All of this will help you align your promotional and content marketing campaigns for your business success.
I have the persona document ready. What’s next?
Once you have the document, share it with your marketing and content team so they can understand your potential audience, and create promotional and content marketing campaigns accordingly.