Launching a direct-to-consumer (DTC) business may collect market data and make educated judgments about your offering. Still, they're all best guesses until you start generating sales. Data on your clients become more readily available and useful as your company expands. Understanding your clients and what they want is key to sustaining growth.
E-commerce firms that make a concerted effort to understand and anticipate their consumers' demands are better positioned for development and may prevent many problems from negatively impacting the company. But how can you get these vital insights from your customers?
There are several methods for getting to know your consumers. Some approaches may be better suited to your brand than others, but every brand should use at least one of these.
1: Client Satisfaction Surveys
Build satisfaction surveys into your website and/or trigger emails to collect your clients' first, second, and third impressions. Pop-up surveys from Survey Monkey, Google Forms, and Microsoft Forms may be set to display when a consumer is ready to leave your website or when they can't find what they're searching for. Trigger emails can be scheduled to appear immediately after a visit, after a transaction, or after an item is fulfilled using email marketing tools such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact.
You will not receive a response from all (or even the majority) of your clients, but every answer is valuable. Remember that those who respond usually fall toward one end of the spectrum – either very satisfied or unhappy. Make certain that your survey questions address the "why." Ask why they're content or not, not simply how satisfied they are.
2: Web and Email Analytics
Use the data provided by your shopping cart, third-party applications (such as Georgias, Returnly, and ShipStation), and marketing and email automation tools. You can track where clients come from, what they search for, where they go, and when they leave your website. Email software products measure open rates, click-through rates, and performance to help determine what works and doesn't. The primary purpose is to manage consumer expectations by providing information when and where it is required.
Many online firms and merchants know that these tools are accessible, but many make the error of not evaluating and analyzing the data regularly. Put someone in charge of this activity and ensure the information reaches the stakeholders who require it.
3: Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs)
Conduct frequent business evaluations to determine what is and isn't selling, sales peaks and troughs, operational problems, and promotional triumphs and failures. Include important stakeholders such as the product development team, IT, sales, marketing, operations, fulfillment, customer support, and finance.
4: Spend Time with Customers in Person
Engage your most (and least), happy consumers via social media, email, or even a handwritten message. Those willing to share their experiences and opinions with you can be a goldmine of knowledge.
5: Be Your Own Customer
Make it a point to shop on your website frequently to get a sense of what your consumers are going through, and seek the support of your workers to do the same. Given the ease of this research strategy, it's astonishing how many business owners don't use it. Set up a structured mechanism for transmitting and prioritizing any concerns that arise.
6: Talk to Your Partners
The e-commerce world relies on connections, both technological integrations and the physical movement of products handled by your 3PL fulfillment provider. These e-commerce enablement partners collaborate with hundreds of businesses that face similar difficulties. They may be a good source of information, especially on online buying trends and customer expectations. Furthermore, they constantly look for methods to enhance their goods and services. By working with these partners, you will receive insights into being more customer-centric and be among the first to learn about new technology and strategies to enhance your business.
7: When You Identify a Need, Act on it from All Perspectives
Maintain a punch list of issues or needs that have been recognized. Assign stakeholders from every department and external partners to who the change will impact. Estimate the expenses of each project, the time required to complete it, and the impact it will have on your firm, both short and long term. You can utilize this information to prioritize initiatives and allocate funding and efforts to where they will be most effective.
8: Make the Adjustments Early
Allow enough time to implement changes so that you do not arrange a site update, an operational overhaul during the peak shopping season, or a major campaign. Inform your partners, particularly your 3PL or fulfillment center, well in advance. Provide them with deadlines and sales predictions so they can plan for eventualities. Keep everyone up to date on any changes that occur along the process before going live, test, test, and test again.
9: Make it a continuous process rather than a one-time event
Maintain these processes after they have been established. Customer demands, preferences, and expectations change constantly, as do the technologies that might improve the customer experience with your business. You will never be "done" knowing your clients or improving your items and web shop to satisfy their demands better. It's a never-ending adventure.
In short, you cannot afford to wait for your consumers to tell you what they require. The finest hockey players, as Wayne Gretzky puts it, "skate to where the puck is going to be." You will always be one step ahead of the competition if you aggressively seek your consumers' opinions, ask the appropriate questions, and make the proper movements in response.
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