eCommerce Insiders

7 Things You Must Know About Your Customers

Your customers want something.

They expect things from you.

And of course, they assume you to know what they are.

But I bet you don’t. In fact, I’d say you know nothing about your customers beyond speculated demographic information.

To me, one of the key aspects of marketing is to find out what your customers lack or need and let them know that you have a solution.

But it’s damn hard to do if you don’t actively collect any information about people who buy from you.

Collecting information about your customers can give you a clear picture of your target market and help you improve your communications. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Collecting customer data will also help you to:

Stay ahead of the changing market. 

I am sure you researched your market before launching your store. But that market may have changed since then, it’s not that uncommon. Customers who you thought to be your target audience may no longer be.

Customer research will help you keep your brand and marketing in line with the changing market.

Improve customer communications

I am sure you know the power of customer communications – from sales emails, newsletters, ads to customer service. There is a depth of benefits for an ecommerce business, if done right. But it’s hard to know what to send if you don’t know your customers. That’s where customer insights come in handy.

Solve your customers problems better

Did you know that around 90% of unhappy customers will not use your company ever again? But if you resolve their issue in timely and effective manner, 70% of them are willing to buy from you again! But again, how can you do so without knowing your customers expectations?

A proper customer research and knowledge will improve your service and help you deliver it exactly as your customers want it.

What Information Should You Find Out About Your Customers

There might be an unlimited number of things you could find out about your customers. But not all of them will be helpful in growing your store. These 7 however reveal the most crucial information every online retailer should know:

  1. Why they buy from you. There is a reason why customers choose your store over your competitors. It might be lower price or free shipping but it might also be your brand, authority or something else you don’t even realise. Knowing what makes you unique in the eyes of your customers will help you increase the effectiveness of your marketing.
  2. How often do they shop for the type of product you sell. Your clients might be buying your products only in certain situations. Knowing them can help you better target your marketing message – from ad copy to landing pages, keywords and ever where you advertise.
  3. What influences their choice. How do your customers choose product to buy. Do they pick the cheapest one or is it free shipping that makes them to click buy now? Optimising your message and store to highlight those benefits will help you increase conversions.
  4. How price sensitive are they. How sensitive to price are your customers? Do they always seek the best deal or prefer to pay more for the security of better support? This will help you with pricing strategy.
  5. How they find vendors to buy from. Do they use search or prefer to rely on word of mouth? If and to what degree advertising affects their choice? This information will help you create their pyramid of influence – a list of sources they find authoritative when searching for similar solutions to yours. Based on this you will know what marketing channels to focus on.
  6. What problem does your product solve for them. What is it that your products help your audience with? Ask them to be specific, this will help you write better product descriptions, ad copy, marketing messages and website information.
  7. Is buying online their first shopping preference. Lastly, how important is online shopping for them. Do they prefer brick and mortar stores and resort to online if all other options fail? Or are they avid online shoppers? How tech advanced are they?

How to Gain this Insight

Existing Customers

A simple survey is the best tool to gather data about your customers and their shopping preferences. Tools like Survey Monkey are easy to use and allow to create even the most advanced surveys.

Survey your existing customers asking them questions that would reveal the information you want to find out. You can email them a link to your survey in a newsletter. Of course, not everyone will respond to your survey but if you plan it well, you should get a decent number to respond.

If you don’t know how to design your survey, check out this guide by Gregory Ciotti.

New Customers and Casual Website Visitors

Existing customers are easy to reach. The situation is different for new customers and casual website visitors. Here’s how you can gain knowledge about them

  • Visitor feedback software. Apps like Qualaroo or Temper  allow to gain feedback from website visitors by asking them a specific question about a site, individual pages, products etc. They provide very quick albeit not 100% accurate data. Temper for instance allows you to place a simple widget with one simple question  on any page of your site (i.e. “does this product description contain all information you were looking for?”). But instead of having to either write their answer or pick various options, visitors only have to pick from three symbols: a sad, indifferent and happy face to reveal their attitude towards the question. This is a quick feedback but might not reveal much detail.
  • Live Chat. In spite of their usefulness, visitor feedback apps are somewhat limited when it comes to revealing the customers true feelings and stories. For that, you need a more personal, live connection. I already wrote about the importance of using a live chat in ecommerce., you can read my original post here. But to reiterate, live chat is a convenient way to improve your customer service while gaining a valuable insights from your visitors. Everyone visiting your site has a story. A personal, live connection you can build through a live chat can reveal more than analysing Google Analytics data might. Not to mention that you can also ask your visitors to answer your survey as well.


It’s impossible to grow an online store without gaining customer insights. Knowledge about your customers needs, wants and preferences is crucial for delivering the best possible service. Not to mention increasing conversions by delivering exactly on their needs.

Creative commons image by Alberto G. / Flickr
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About Pawel Grabowski (120 Posts)

Pawel Grabowski is a copywriter and content marketer obsessed with helping companies attract new customers, build engaged audience & drive more sales. And he’s pretty good at it. See for yourself at

Twitter: @pawelgra77

Linkedin: Pawel Grabowski

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