It’s tempting to believe your ecommerce store can attract any type of buyer under the sun. After all, you’ve worked hard to create an appealing website that’s friendly for desktop and mobile users alike. You believe in your product lineup and your brand. You work hard to provide responsive and personalized customer service to every website visitor. For these reasons and many more, it’s hard to imagine why someone wouldn’t want to shop at your store.
However, ecommerce merchants are better off getting to know their ecommerce target audience than they are trying to appeal to every online user. Why? Marketing is expensive. Paying to “cast a wide net” will cause your ad spend to skyrocket. Secondly, aiming to attract the most traffic possible will result in a high on-site bounce rate, meaning people are coming to your site but failing to browse and convert.
Since your bottom line depends on conversions, it’s more worthwhile to target the audience most likely to actually engage with your store in meaningful ways—completing transactions and enrolling in loyalty programs.
Identifying Your Target Audience
Your specific target audience depends on what you sell and your unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP is central to your brand. As Entrepreneur writes, “Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique in a world of homogeneous competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully.”
Some companies focus on competitive prices. Others espouse luxury or exclusivity. Some sellers make a name for their companies with free and fast shipping. Ecommerce sellers may prioritize immediate, hyper-helpful customer service. Some focus on making their branding recognizable, perhaps by creating unboxing experiences or building a social media empire. The point is: Your USP sets you apart from the crowd, but also helps determine what kind of shoppers will seek out your products and why.
According to ConversionXL, identifying your target audience involves considering the following factors:
- Your audience demographics
- Where these people spend time online
- How they browse and shop
- What they want from an online store
- What doesn’t influence their purchasing decisions
- How your brand can add value to their lives
When you consider these questions, it quickly becomes apparent how futile it is to try to appeal to everyone on the internet. Specificity may seem limiting at first, but it actually helps you refine your marketing strategies and make savvier merchandising decisions from the get go.
Conducting a Target Market Analysis
Performing a target market analysis will help you drive focused traffic to your cloud-based ecommerce platform and refine your on-site messaging to boost conversion rates. But how can you best unlock the mysteries of your online user base? Besides using analytics tools to determine the source of your traffic and their behavior on your website, it’s often useful to simply ask buyers about themselves.
One Forbes contributor recommends simply asking potential customers about their “interests, hobbies and needs” in addition to information about their online buying habits. Based on the answers you receive, you can figure out how your product lineup and its features can provide value to this subset of shoppers.
Messaging that puts your target audience first in its medium and content will always perform better than messaging that conveys what you want your brand to be. But you can only put your audience first if you know to whom you’re speaking. Hence, the preliminary step is performing a detailed target market analysis.
Getting to know your target audience is a matter of understanding the identities, wants, needs and expectations of its members. Only then can you refine your marketing and sales strategies accordingly.