The content below is an excerpt from my extensive Conversion Rate Optimization online course I’m currently working on, and available to purchase online later in 2018. Click at the bottom of the article to be notified when the course is available.
[…] Now, let’s bite into a customer research phase. What is this and why do we need it?
Well, do you need customers? Yes – and you need to get to know them too. You see, without really understanding them and their needs you will have a very hard time delivering what they want – whether you are selling beach parasols, clothing or used cars.
As a store owner, you need to be on top of the trends – bah, even surpass them – to meet your customers’ expectations better than your competitors.
How do you do that?
By running a regular customer and market research.
Let’s keep our beach umbrella store example. In order for you to sell a lot of your products, you need to know what are your customers looking for from the products. Sturdiness? Compactability, so the umbrella can be folded easily and stored in a small car boot? Or perhaps UV protection, as the ozone layer problem is quite severe in the location you are selling at?
Research will put you ahead of your competitors
Not all customers are the same, and they all are looking for different features, often different each year. What might have worked for you last year [due to a rainy summer, people were looking for bigger umbrellas they could set up easily in their backyard, as they were not going to the beach], might not work for you this year [winds are coming, so everyone is looking for the best windproof beach parasols].
See – being close to the market and to your target customers will put you ahead of your competitorswho might be lacking on the research front and were not aware of the changing trends. So make a research as a compulsory task for you, performed on a regular basis.
What are the types of research?
- Customer research [we’ll focus on it first]
- Market research
- Competitor research
Building Buyer Personas
Who is your target customer? Where do they live? What is their family situation, annual income, spending habits?
Knowing this will help you understand your customers better, get to know how they shop, and how much they are willing to spend. You will also understand what their main issues and problems are, so you could solve them better. And we already know that solving your customers’ problems is the most effective business strategy.
So how do we start our customer research?
We start from an internet search. Let’s say we want to find who is our ideal target customer for the beach umbrellas. We type in Google: “best beach umbrella to buy + discussion” which will give us the search results from the discussion groups where people discuss their buying needs:
As we can see, the gold mine of a research. Let’s dig in and see who is discussing the topic [hint: your target customers] and what issues do they mention.
The first link [Trip Advisor forum] and the first question already highlights an important topic:
Protecting from the sun while having fair skin. You know what people are searching for, and if you notice, that this topic returns often, you know this is a common issue. You found a problem you can solve [in a profitable way] with your product!