online retail sales


10th November, 2023

How to better understand your target market for improved online retail sales

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best techniques for better understanding your target market and applying this knowledge as practical methods of how to increase sales in online retail.

Know your target market

Like any eCommerce leader, you probably carried out an audience research project when your business ‌first started.

However, a lot can happen following a business’s inception, and you may need to revisit the way you’ve defined your target market.

This ensures you’re as well-informed as possible before you start analysing your audience.

Before you think about carrying out any analysis, it’s worth revisiting the way you’ve defined your target market. Make sure this information reflects the current state of your online store.

To re-familiarise yourself with who your target market is:

  • Compile data on your active customers, using tools like a CRM or Google Analytics. These can help you analyse important data sets like your customers’ age range, their location and timezone, their browsing patterns, and the amount of money they’re spending during a typical session.
  • Incorporate data from your social media channels and social listening that shows the kind of people who are interacting with your brand and the content they’re most engaged with.

Getting re-acquainted with the people who are shopping with your brand is the first step towards building a thorough understanding of their wants, needs, and challenges.

READ THIS NEXT: Retail vs wholesale: Which model is right for your business?

online retail sales

Build customer personas

Carrying on from your initial audience research, you should try to segment your target audience into more specific customer personas.

Use these profiles to better visualise how customers will interact and make more informed decisions as a result.

Getting to know these personas as if they were real people, will build your understanding of each customer segment’s journey. 

This will inform decisions that will create a better customer experience across all segments of your audience.

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Leverage A/B testing

The basic process of A/B testing involves choosing something that you’re going to test, for example, a different page headline or button position, then using an A/B testing tool to randomly vary which version of the page shoppers are shown when they visit your site.

From there, collect data showing how your site visitors interacted with different versions of the site, such as time spent on page, hyperlinks and other elements interacted with, scroll distance, and more.

A/B testing tools can offer a powerful method of understanding how your target market interacts with your site. 

If you’re looking to try A/B testing for the first time, just be sure of two things:

  • You’re starting each test with a valid testing hypothesis, including the targeted issue with conversion, a possible solution, and the data sets you’ll be looking at to see whether or not your solution was effective.
  • Rigourously test the new versions of pages before going live. A/B testing can be exciting, but you don’t want to show a broken version of a page. Hosting services like 20i have intuitive staging features that can help you “create a replica of your site with a single click and carry out testing”. This ensures you maintain high customer experience standards.

Run customer surveys

Data on the way people interact with your site can be immensely useful, but also has its limits.

Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to gather more direct feedback on how well you’re meeting your customers’ needs.

Also, you’ll find new opportunities to improve the online shopping experience.

Additionally, you’ll be able to harvest more data on the kinds of audience segments who are buying your products.

Moreover, the kinds of people who are most satisfied by the products and online experience you’re providing.

Tools like SurveyMonkey can make it easier to build, distribute, and analyse surveys. One of the biggest challenges of surveys is getting customers to take time to do them.

online retail sales

A few good ways to improve the response rate from your surveys include:

  • Keep surveys as short as possible so people aren’t put off by a seemingly long or complex process.
  • Personalise the survey delivery method and let your customers know they’re valued.
  • Make use of several delivery channels and meet your customers where they spend their time.
  • Keep track of how often you’re inviting customers to complete surveys and don’t get too repetitive.

Getting to know your audience

Knowing how to increase retail online sales requires a thorough understanding of the people who are already interacting with your brand, and new shoppers who are looking for an eCommerce store like yours.

We hope this quick online retail guide has given you a strong starting point as you learn who your audience is, how they interact with your site, and what they want to see from you.