Most people in the ecommerce website business (and indeed any business at all) agree that there are definite advantages to knowing your market. However, this is often easier said than done. Sure, you have probably identified a few target demographics and done research into who is visiting your website, but many ecommerce website owners get stuck there. The good news is that if you have subscribers or members of any kind, whether they subscribe to email updates or have merely registered with your website, you have a powerful tool for getting to know your customers. Here are a few ways of doing just that:
- Surveys. If you have an email address, send out a survey asking customers exactly what you want to know. You may be surprised by how many people answer, especially if you give an incentive such as a coupon or a store credit. This is a good strategy because it is direct, low cost, and gets you exactly the information you need. One drawback is that many surveys receive very few responses, especially if there is no incentive for completing it.
- Email preferences. When users sign up for your email updates, you can include a list of interests with a box next to each one for them to check. There are advantages and disadvantages to this strategy. It can add a little clutter and an additional step to sign-up, and it doesn’t always give a lot of relevant information. However, if you need to find out the basic interests of your visitors, this can be an effective strategy. An important fact to remember is: the more complicated this step, the less likely people will be to complete it.
- Adding fields to check-out and/or subscription. Another way of getting to know visitors and subscribers is to add fields that ask relevant questions. This gets the information that you need, but it has one serious drawback: it makes people much less likely to complete the process at hand. We have short attention spans, and no one likes discussing their favorite hobbies in order to buy a small item or get an occasional email. If this tip sounds like the one for you, proceed with caution.
- Social networking. One of the real benefits of social networking is that it allows your business to see what demographics are actually interacting with your business. You just may be surprised! Social networking websites such as Facebook allow you to see not just general shopper groups, but individuals as well. Moreover, you can actually interact with your customers if you desire. This is such as great way of getting to know your market because there are no drawbacks.
Armed with information about your ecommerce visitors and subscribers, you can begin to make meaningful changes that will actually make a difference in your ecommerce website success. Knowing your market is essential to developing a website that appeals to it, a product line that meets its needs, and a brand that it can identify with.