If you ask eCommerce merchants how much they know about their customers, how well they know online shoppers, you may get a general reply. Many may only be able to describe their customers based on demographics of gender, age and level of income.
So do they really understand why, when, where and how their customers make their purchases?
The buying process is getting more complicated. People have hundreds of online places to purchase products that meet their needs. They may shop online, from home, from the grocery store or their Android phones, iPhone or Smartphones.
So how can a consumer be best understood?
Besides knowing their demographics, you can also benefit from other personal data such as:
- Daily activities
- Political affiliation
All of this information can be inferred through personal interaction. Acquiring this data is harder to achieve but there are databases that will allow you to target individuals based on the above mentioned criteria. These details aid in promoting the products that interest them easily.
What Do Customers Need to Know?
It is important that your customer know the ins and outs of a product:
- What do the products look like?
- How do they function?
- What sizes and colors are available?
- How much does it cost?
- Does it carry a discount?
- Is there a warranty?
- What is the procedure to purchase the product?
Online shoppers are gradually demanding more from retailers. They want more information at the start of the online experience, more options during checkout and delivery and more channels for interrelating with their favorite retailers. Free shipping, social and mobile access and simple return processes are evaluated among the most imperative needs for today’s online shoppers.
Customers look into different sources such as blogs, articles and websites to check for product details. So make sure that you understand how to answer these questions in an effective manner to meet your customer’s queries.
Use the three C’s:
Retailers can actually win shoppers over by providing a positive and consistent Omni channel experience. From social media platforms to mobile apps , today’s consumer expect and value services that work together across the whole shopping continuum from pre-purchase to post-purchase.
How Do Customers Learn About Products?
Today, product research is done in living rooms, offices, hospitals, coffee shops – anywhere and everywhere. Most importantly, products are compared among different websites and product reviews from other consumers.
Retailers need to understand the customer’s research strategies. Multiple factors can influence their research process:
- Research can be conducted by looking at the product’s picture or reading the description.
- Checking other brands and alternative products.
- An event can trigger interest in the product.
- Product reviews given by others.
- Discounts and sales.
- Instinctive buying.
Remember, the most crucial psychology behind their product research is that customers often make a purchase decision only after evaluating the products’ real value. They narrow their selection and then shop for price.
Where Do Customers Inquire About Products?
It has been found that approximately 86% of consumers go online to research products. However, the majority of consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated at multi-channel shopping. Therefore, retailers need to better align their business operating models with consumer expectations and sophistication.
Globally, research shows that 20% make their purchase direct online, 3% make their purchases via social networks and the remaining balance from other sources such as television shopping networks, mobile, Web , laptop, smartphones, Xboxes and physical stores. They also read trade publications, Facebook posts, check comparison shopping engines and their network of friends on Twitter.
Is it possible for every eCommerce merchant to be in all of these places? In many cases, it may not be practical. So the best thing to do is to identify where your customers are going to seek information while they move through their purchasing cycle. And then ensure that you are seen and present in those places and that your messages and content are mobile-friendly.
Shopping Photo via Shutterstock