Starting a business with a come-one-come-all mentality ends in one of two ways.
You either shovel mountains of cash into PPC advertising, or tumbleweeds roll around your online store and bank account.
If you want to achieve ecommerce success, you need to find a sizable, reliable customer base. The best way to do this is to hone in on a target audience who will care about your brand/products.
It’s way better to mean something to one person than not much to millions.
Susan Chritton, the author of Personal Branding For Dummies, likes to think of the market as a game of darts.
“You have to aim in order to hit the board,” Susan said.
“If you let your darts go without aiming them, you probably won’t be very popular.”
Simply, the success of an online business is dependent on establishing a clearly defined target audience. However, finding and chasing the right target audience is not a simple exercise – so this strategic planning might require some guidance and expertise.
We want to help you learn how to refine your ecommerce target audience, and develop an online shopping experience to exceed their expectations.
We’ve outlined 5 of the most important ways to help you attract and convert a defined ecommerce audience into bucket-loads of loyal, repeat customers.
#1 Analyse your current customers for quantitative data
The most valuable source of information when defining a target audience is your current customer base.
Your current customers have interacted with your online store, clicked through your filters, bounced through your checkout process, and purchased items.
They’ve experienced your service first-hand and must have found something special about it – otherwise the sale wouldn’t have gone through!
You need to find out how current customers are interacting with your webstore and track their behaviour leading up to the sale… then analyse the results.
Google Analytics is a valuable tool which can help measure the customer journey from start to finish and offer some real insight into how customers think.
Google Analytics provides a live stream of data which is loaded into detailed reports and shop owners can then analyse customer behaviour, the path customers follow to reach the checkout, and
the percentage of customers converting at the end of the day.
Google Analytics can help determine:
- How your customers think (under “Audience” section)
- How long they spend on the website (under “Behaviour” section)
- Where customers enter the website (under “Behaviour “ > “Behaviour Flow”)
- Where customers leave the website (under “Behaviour “ > “Behaviour Flow”)
- How much customers spend per transaction (under “Conversions” > “Overview”)
Your current customers offer a world of fascinating data – use their experiences to improve customer service, redesign your ecommerce store to encourage conversions and refine the target audience.
Want to learn more about Google Analytics? Check out our blog on the top five things all small ecommerce businesses should track with Analytics.
#2 Think about your target demographics and create a customer profile
Who do you want repping your products?
You need to consider the demographics of your target audience. Think age, gender, location, income, marital status, occupation, and ethnic background. All of these elements influence whether or not a customer is going to relate to or purchase your products/services.
The statistics from ecommerce giant, Big Commerce, don’t lie:
- 67% of Millennials and 56% of Generation X prefer to shop on online
- Millennials and Generation X spend 50% more time shopping online per week than older generations
- Parents spend 61% more online than non-parents
- Men reported spending 28% more online than women in 2017
- 38% of rural shoppers have strong concerns about online privacy
You can bet Millennials and Generation X will shop more online than older generations. In fact, according to marketing website, Market Watch, almost 50% of Millennials can’t live without their phones.
There are defined trends related to demographics. It’s worth taking note of them and creating a possible customer profile.
Consider the locations you ship to, the products you sell, and the data retrieved from Google Analytics.
Are there any obvious trends emerging? Who is interacting with the website? Think about whether this is the audience you want to target. If not, what changes can you make to steer your preferred market towards your business?
#3 Have your customers complete surveys for qualitative data i.e. what do they want?
You can learn a lot about customers from conducting primary research and sourcing opinions, suggestions, and feedback from current or potential customers.
Listening to people and measuring their satisfaction can help determine whether your service and products are all the rage or falling flat.
Image source: Genesys
Customer feedback surveys are a wildly successful method of measuring satisfaction and – in turn – improving customer retention. Hundreds of ecommerce business owners use SurveyMonkey to keep track of their performance and customer service.
SurveyMonkey provides users with attractive survey templates, image customisation, and design suggestions so people can collect market research in the most customer-friendly way possible.
The platform has over 36 million users and boasts an impressive list of high-class clients including PayPal.
Discover what customers want and what’s not working so far via customer surveys. They’re simple to create and provide a goldmine of data about what changes need to be made to cater to your target audience.
#4 Acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
So far, we’ve discussed how current customer behaviour, demographics and measuring customer satisfaction can help define your target audience. These elements are all part of the bigger picture and in the end, customers are the greatest resource business owners have.
Now, however, it’s time to explore how potential competitors are faring with the target audience you have in mind.
A smart business person will take note of competitor weaknesses, successes and overlooked areas, then capitalise on them to drive success and refined marketing efforts.
There are a few valuable areas to keep an eye on:
- What are customers purchasing from them?
- What is their pricing like? How much are customers willing to pay for their products and services?
- What are customers saying in reviews? Are they positive or alarmingly negative?
- What are customers saying on social media? Scroll through Facebook and Instagram for feedback regarding products and service
Consider how competitors are performing in your target market. Take inspiration from them in areas going well. Not looking the best? It might be wise to take your business in a different direction and capitalise on the areas their customers want to see improvement.
Competitors can offer a plethora of useful information and examples to work from, grow from and learn from in order to define your target audience.
#5 Offer a shipping experience which matches your target audience expectations
Once you’ve got a basic idea of the audience you’d like to target, it’s crucial to consider how best to service them in terms of shipping.
There’s no faster way to lose customers than getting to the checkout and discovering the store doesn’t ship to your location, or the item will take weeks (even months) to arrive at your doorstep.
You need to ask yourself a range of questions including:
- Who is my target audience?
- Are they overseas?
- What age bracket do they belong to?
- Do they require fast, direct shipping?
- Am I providing items for a business?
Once again, consider demographics when it comes to shipping and adjust your services according to expectations. For example, older target audiences are more aware of risks, so you’ll need to work harder to reduce FUD’s (fears, uncertainties and doubts).
Provide clear, simple access to shipping information and delivery expectations on all store pages, then ensure the checkout process is clear, easy to follow and fast-acting.
You want customers to feel reassured their package will arrive quickly and safely with minimal costs or stress involved.
We can help simplify the process. Our shipping integration plugins offer customers live shipping cost calculations, plus provide reliable tracking and faster-than-fast delivery worldwide.
Check out our Developer’s Centre for extra info and discover the possibilities for your ecommerce store.
The target audience you’re looking for is hiding in plain sight
It ain’t easy defining your target audience.
Customers can be frustratingly unpredictable, loving products one day and slamming them on social media the next. Your products might be intended for teenagers and kids but pick up unexpectedly with older generations.
Defining the market can be difficult, but getting a better grasp on how customers think can make all the difference in meeting target audience expectations.
Here are our top five methods of narrowing down the search:
- Consider your current customers and collect data about their behaviour through software like Google Analytics
- Watch out for demographic trends and focus on the groups performing best
- Discover how these groups think through feedback forms and email surveys
- Keep an eye on competitors in your target market and see how customers interact with their social media pages – their feedback could offer guidance on how to proceed in the market
Offer simple, integrated, insured shipping to meet expectations of all demographics
These tips are simple but crucial to finding your ideal customer base.
Your chances of hitting the target and getting a conversion are higher with a defined audience, so it’s essential to put in the extra research and consider who you think would benefit from your products/services most.
The next step to success? Providing fast, reliable shipping to deliver the goods with minimal costs and unbelievable speed.