It’s never been more important to listen to your customers as an eCommerce business.
The average consumer faces an insane amount of choice when shopping online – it’s a channel that has rocketed towards the stratosphere in the last few years.
Now, eCommerce businesses are in a constant fight for patronage. Competitors are only a click away, ads are running across every channel…
The differentiator for businesses that want to maintain a lasting edge? Listening.
Listening empowers you to learn from and talk to your customers, allowing you to create a consistently-improving experience that will deliver business outcomes.
But not all listening is made equal; eCommerce businesses with access to quality data are more likely to capture actionable customer insights that will make the tangible difference they’re after.
What exactly are consumer insights?
A consumer insight is an interpretation, used by a business, to gain a better understanding of how their customers think and feel. This goes beyond simply what a consumer might be looking for from an online shopping experience, and includes their buying motivations and feelings about the experience.
When conducted properly, consumer insight should also improve the effectiveness of how an online business communicates to its customers — changing behaviours, driving loyalty and increasing the bottom line.
But collecting these insights is where the challenge lies. There are four clear fundamentals you need for collecting and utilising customer insights properly:
1. Good quality data
Bad data kills insights before they even get started. Data needs to be high-quality, accurate and timely, otherwise you risk being misled in your conclusions.
2. A dedicated analytics team
Analytics already plays a crucial role within eCommerce; the beauty of the online experience being that any specific details can be captured and analysed. That same approach should be taken with customer insight data – expert teams will give you expert insight.
3. Consumer research
A staple of brick and mortar storefronts that is now just as applicable to online ones, consumer research gets you below behaviour and into the driving layers of customer emotion. Crucially, you need to adhere to these results, whether they are positive or negative.
4. Database and segment marketing
Database marketing uses databases of customers, with the goal of sending them personalised communications. With smart enough technology, these databases can be broken down into audience personas. Testing theoretical customer insight via database marketing is the only way to truly know if you have improved your digital storefront or not. It’s how you turn insight into facts.
But wait – what’s the difference between market research & consumer insight?
Often confused, there are clear differentiators between these two disciplines. Both have a part to play for successful online commerce ventures, but you first need clarity on what they are and what they do.
Market research focused on gathering information about a wider market and the customers within it. It’s the ‘what’ of customers and markets, focused on stats, knowledge and benchmarking.
Customer insight on the other hand, is one layer deeper, the ‘why’ which looks at the reasons behind what is happening. This added data can tell an eCommerce business both what it needs to change and why it’s important, and can often be used for specific goals like improving customer retention or CSAT metrics.
So, how do we turn these insights into tangible business and customer benefits?
1. Analyze the wider competition
Better the enemy you know. eCommerce is a razor-sharp business model with a lot of competition, so who better to (steal) learn from? Analysing your customers’ discussions around other businesses, products and services can help you to improve your own offerings – and steal a march on the competition.
2. Improve the customer journey
Consumer insights can provide a beacon to light up customer journeys, especially through a website. From awareness to purchase through to advocacy, insights can show you where customer journeys are thriving – or lacking.
One eCommerce example covered by Forbes looks at Wayfair, a multi-billion dollar online home goods store. After analysing their insights, Wayfair realised that the customer experience was lacking on their site. To combat this, they built an app, allowing customers to upload pictures of items they like and receive Wayfair recommendations based on them.
The result? Happier customers getting personalised recommendations and a happy business, which saw a 50% increase in customer retention.
3. Personalize your marketing
Mass marketing – there’s a reason it’s been around as long as it has: it works.
But as we shop via eCommerce more and more, it can be hard to break through the noise. And a major trend that is allowing online businesses to do just that, is hyper-personalisation. Customers like to be seen more as people than consumers, and so personalised messaging, deals and recommendations helps attract and retain them. From Spotify’s end of year personal ‘Wrapped’ playlist through to supermarket loyalty cards giving you discounts on your most common purchases, hyper-personalization has become a major marketing force.
Again consumer insights can fuel this personalisation, allowing you to see what people are buying and why. You can then start to segment your audience for clearer, bespoke marketing that appeals to them. From Spotify’s billboards based on listener data through to Netflix’s consistently learning algorithm, personalisation based on insight is powering some of the biggest brands.
Getting started with consumer insight
There are many more ways that insights can make a significant impact for online businesses, but oftentimes it can be tough to know where to start. You’re in luck: we’ve put together the following four-step plan for taking advantage of this powerful business strategy.
Establish your goals: What do you want to learn? Before research, ensure you have a goal for what you want to know – and how to get it.
Identify your resources: Ready to get stuck into insight? Make sure that you have allocated the internal or external resources for this. Time and resources are going to be needed to obtain, sort and analyse the data.
Sort a collection strategy: How are you going to get the data? This is extremely important. Is it from a specific audience? Existing customers? Via a survey/interviews/focus group? Our Review Insights Tool is a great way to approach this step.
Set data goals: How will you use the data? Insight gathered and shelved is a travesty; so plan ahead on how you’re going to use it. Once the data is in, you want a clear plan about what aspects of your online business and its strategies it is going to inform.
Finally – just get stuck in! Obtaining consumer insights can be a tricky job to tackle, but the payoffs are immense. Find out how Trustpilot reviews can help you collect great insights, learn about Trustpilot's Review Insights tool here, or create a free Trustpilot account today to get started.