Have you ever wondered if you can know all details about your customers? But it is not simple to get into the minds of the customers who’re easily distracted by your competition! Coming to ecommerce sales, which accounted for more than 18% of the total retail sales in 2020, it is important to learn about e-commerce consumers. Let us know all about the ecommerce consumer personas in this article. Starting with a quick definition of the customer persona.
What Is A Customer/Consumer Persona?
The customer or consumer persona represents the main traits of a large section of the business’ audience. It is created using the data collected from web analytics and user research. It is a tool to understand the existing and prospective customers better. Customer persona offers quantitative and qualitative data, a treasure for any business.
Quantitative data offers customer information that can be calculated, measured, and counted. On the other hand, qualitative data is subjective data about customer interviews, ethnographic research, focus groups, etc. These consumer persona details help businesses craft product development, messaging, services, and other content based on customer needs. These match the concerns of the target audience, customer behaviors, etc.
Not only this, consumer personas benefit other business segments, including product leadership teams, UX designers, product engineers, etc. Hence, all these departments can improve their functionality by knowing consumer insights from the consumer persona. Further, it is divided into three categories:
1. User Persona
It offers details about customers or users of the business products or services. The user persona creates all the product or service features and designs.
2. Website Persona
It offers details about the visitors, which can be partners, leads, investors, clients, or existing customers needed to be served by your website. All the designs are created using a website persona.
3. Buyer Persona
Details the ideal target customers buying the business products or services. All the sales funnel and marketing strategies are created based on buyer persona only.
Some Key Advantages Of Consumer Personas
- It can be a much-needed tool for the entire business team to help serve customers better and offer an unparalleled experience. These happy customers stay with your brand for long.
- It helps eliminate redundancy from the marketing campaigns, user experiences, product development process, etc.
- Creating a customer-centric team in your business is no more a gigantic task with consumer personas. It is an effective way to create a team that cares for the customers. Consumer persona helps align business teams with collaborative target information and drive employee connectivity.
- Marketers can quickly personalize messaging and marketing content based on the consumer persona. Hence, it is easy to prioritize campaigns, updates, and marketing initiatives, saving time and money.
- The product development team can add features to the company’s products or services based on the consumer persona data. Hence, the early chances of customer churn are eliminated with dedicated feedback from the consumer persona.
How To Create Actionable Customer Personas?
After knowing all about the customer personas, it all comes down to how to create one. All you need to do is take care of the different viewpoints in the following steps to ensure that the customer personas thus created can support different teams like customer success, sales, marketing, product, etc. Let us go through the foundation steps of creating an actionable customer persona.
1. Conduct Audience Research
The first step is to conduct the audience research. It can be started with the questions like who are your customers, how do customers behave, what are the customers interested in, and what kind of challenges are faced by the customers? The key data points for conducting the audience research include
|1||Career||Google, online forums, LinkedIn, CRM, etc.||Retirement plans, experience level, job title, industry, etc.|
|2||Demographics or backstory||Social media analytics, public records, CRM, etc.||Location, first job, childhood memories, family history, birthplace, name, etc.|
|3||Goals and challenges||Online comments, focus groups, feedback, customer surveys, customer service database, CRM, etc.||Regrettable purchases, customer service experiences, dream job, etc.|
|4||Objections||Focus groups, interviews, customer surveys, customer support database, CRM, etc.||Purchasing methods, product features, communication issues, etc.|
|5||Online behaviour||Comments, forums, online groups, social media activities, etc.||Mobile devices, search engines, social media platforms, etc.|
|6||Personal life||Social media, public records, etc.||Fitness habits, diet, pets, family size, marital status, etc.|
|7||Personality traits||Online comments, free personality traits, interviews, customer surveys, social media, etc.||Optimistic/ pessimistic, right brain/ left brain, introvert/extrovert, etc.|
|8||Purchasing behaviour||Previous campaign analytics, retargeting tools/ remarketing, Tag Manager, Google Analytics, etc.||Spending habits, payment methods, favorite online retailers, etc.|
2. Look at Current Customers
The current customers can be the ideal guiding light when designing consumer personas. The key things to consider here can be the immediate needs of the current customers, the main topics in which they’re interested, etc. It can offer quick but verified information about the scope for improvement in the company’s products or services.
3. Fill in Demographics
All the demographic data like income, job title, location, age, etc., can help create a consumer persona. These can reflect light on the interests, wants, and needs of the prospective customers.
4. Determine Psychographics
The next step is to determine the psychographic data like values, pain points, goals, etc. These key points help find the reasons for attracting customers to your website, brainstorm the ways to improve the experience, eliminate customer obstacles, etc.
5. Identify Pain Points
Not to miss in this consumer persona-building process is identifying the pain points. These points paint a clear picture of the customers and help channel the marketing efforts accordingly. Some of the questions that can be answered in this route are the current obstacles customers face, potential answers trying to be resolved by customers, etc.
6. Determine Goals
After identifying the pain points, the next point is to determine the customer goals. Knowing the key goals that are trying to be solved with the business’s products or services is important. It becomes easy to align these goals with the customer persona and tie them to the products or services. Hence, based on these goals, marketing strategies can be channelized.
7. List Sources of Information
The next line is to determine the potential sources of the information for your customers. These include online searches, reviews or blogs, social media, etc. It is easy to add additional resources or content in the consumer personas based on this list of the customers’ sources of information.
8. Find out Preferred Social Channels
Any business must know the right messaging types on the right channels for overall success. Hence, it is important to know the preferred social media channels used by the customers, the type of content consumed, the amount of time spent on these channels, etc. Further, it is important to go through the key initiatives of the competitors on social media and their high-performing content on these channels.
9. Complete Your Buyer Persona
After going through all the mentioned above, it comes down to completing the persona. It is started by searching for the commonalities that can be grouped in the consumer persona. All these characteristics can be turned into a list. The buyer’s persona thus created can be given a home, job title, name, etc., allowing it easy for the businesses to connect the products or services with the customers.
10. Narrow Your Scope
After completing the buyer persona, it is important to narrow the scope as different people have unique struggles or issues. Hence, all customer persona can match the visitor needs based on this scope. It is all about understanding the types of website visitors and their reasons for selecting your website. These reasons can be demographics, order history, budget, etc.
11. Practice Social Listening
Social listening is listening to the people talking about your products or services. It is all about reading the audience’s responses about your brand on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. These thoughts on social media can help a business know all about the customers’ minds.
For example, any e-commerce can know all about the good things like great pricing, quick shipping, etc., and issues like the unavailability of any product from social media hashtags. The only concern in social listening is validating the customer feedback and cutting down on the noise. All the helpful information from social listening can improve consumer personas.
12. Review Feedback and Customer Support Tickets
Businesses present different feedback forms to website visitors and new customers. These forms cover the topics like website appearance, specific products or services, etc. The main point is to look for the customers feeling about your brand. Similarly, the customer support tickets offer a dedicated survey at the conversation end. Businesses can get this information from customer support tickets like price information to design actionable consumer personas.
13. Allow Email Subscribers to Self-Segment
It is important to allow the email subscribers to self-segment using the topics selected from sign-up or other online forms. There is no mismatch as the marketing team can aggressively design the campaigns based on the topics selected by the customers only. It is easy to oversee the different audience groups, send preferred emails, get high click-through rates, and improve website traffic.
14. Look at Your Google Analytics
The website visitor’s demographics can be determined using Google Analytics. Some of the key points to consider include
a. Acquisition > Search Console > Queries
Which reflects the different keywords used by the visitors to reach your website. It is easy to find interesting and non-interested keywords from the search console.
b. Acquisition > Social > Overview
It shares information about website visitors’ right social media channels.
c. Audience > Demographics > Overview
It shares details about the age and gender of the audience.
d. Audience > Geo > Location
It shares the location details of the audience.
e. Audience > Interests > Affinity Categories
It shares the lifestyle activities of the audience based on their recent online activities.
f. Audience > Technology > Browser & OS and Audience > Technology > Mobile > Overview
It shares details about the devices used to connect with the business website. This device information further offers insights into the lifestyle status of the audience.
Types of Customer Personas
After going through the detailed steps to create an actionable customer persona, it is essential to understand the main but different types. A quick list of the top seven types of customer personas include
1. The Value Hunter
This segment is interested in securing exclusive deals and prices on the required items and is ready to spend on them. The value hunters can be motivated to purchase the products or services by promoting a compelling value proposition sharing the worth and advantages of the specific products or services. This segment is highly attracted to the exclusive website promotions, flash sales, limited-time coupons, etc.
2. The Researcher
This customer persona is difficult to crack as they want complete time to understand the company and its products or services. The different reviews, case studies, testimonials, etc., offer much-needed social proof to these customer personas. Hence, the audience will be attracted to the top reviews of the brand’s existing customers. The researchers can be motivated to buy by communicating how products deliver on the brand promise, explaining the difference added by the products to consumer lives, answering the researcher’s questions, etc.
3. The Brand Devotee
This consumer persona can be termed as the business’s loyal customers. These are aware of your business, its products, etc. The brand devotee can be motivated to go for the company’s products or services by offering amazing loyalty programs to keep them coming to the website and offering a high-end user experience. The brand devotees are usually the repeat customers and brand ambassadors.
4. The Social Butterfly
This customer persona is largely active on social media. The best examples are the social media influencer offering details, products, or services to their family, friends, and followers. It is easy for the social butterfly to personalize the product recommendations and offer high-end social media tools.
5. The Replenisher
This customer persona is the daily customer of your business and always buys from your website. The replenisher can be motivated to buy the company’s products or services by offering a personalized reordering experience, convenient reordering, treating them with exclusive VIP strategies, etc.
6. The Mobile Shopper
This consumer persona loves to buy things online using their mobile devices. Motivating mobile shoppers to buy is easy by using a distraction-free path to purchase, a convenient buying process, click-and-collect shopping options, etc. Further, all you need to ensure is their instant gratification and convenience in buying.
7. The Gifter
This consumer persona buys the products or services as gifts to friends and family. The Gifter can be motivated to buy your products or services by offering gifting services, promotions, product categories, gift guides, savings, praise, and other benefits. All you need to do is communicate to the gifters that your products or services are the best gifts for their needs.
Why Do Customer Personas Matter?
After going through different types of consumer personas, the key question that strikes our minds is if this really matters to the businesses? Some of the key points regarding the same include:
- The customer personas help businesses understand their customers at deeper levels, and hence it is easy to offer them empathy.
- These can be used to create highly customized and relevant content for the customers. Hence, it is easy to attract more customers and keep the existing ones happy.
- It is important that the customer personas should be created from real data and shouldn’t be based on guesswork.
Benefits of Creating Customer Personas
Let us now have a quick look at the benefits of creating customer personas for any business. The key departments getting benefitted from customer personas include:
1. Product or Service Development
It is easy for them to use customer personas in guiding and building products or services roadmap.
2. Marketing Strategies & Activities
It is easy to create effective marketing strategies and identify and prioritize the marketing activities.
3. Sales Prospecting & Sales Calls
It is easy to understand the customers’ needs and stay prepared to answer their concerns.
4. Customer Support
It is easy to train the customer support team on the top concerns, which can be quickly answered or resolved on the query.
It is easy to create UI and UX designs based on the customer experiences which match the business goals.
6. Competitive Intelligence
It is easy to discover different trends and generate competitive customer personas. All competitor details like partnership opportunities, advertising, content, etc., can be elaborated.
Different Approaches to Developing Your Customer Personas
After going through the noteworthy benefits of the customer personas, some of the different approaches to developing your customer personas include:
1. Data-Driven and Proto/ad HOC/lean Customer Personas
The data-driven customer persona is based on extensive audience research without making any assumptions. The proto/ Ad hoc/ or Lean persona is a dedicated approach included in the book “Lean UX” by Josh Seiden and Jeff Gothelf. These are created based on internal research and don’t include external audience research. Hence, it becomes crucial for the businesses to match the proto/ Ad hoc/ or Lean persona with market research. It can be gradually refined over time based on customer insights.
2. Initiatives-Based vs. Close-Up Customer Personas
The initiatives-based customer personas include the customers having top interests in specific initiatives. It represents the subset of the high-level target audience segmentation but never represents the same at the lowest levels. On the other hand, the close-up customer personas include the customers interested in specific actions, activities, products, services, etc. These represent a small set audience, and hence it is easy to target different customers and understand their commonality with others.
The Case for Building Customer Personas with Data-Driven Research
While creating data-driven research, all the actionable information is patched. Considering the case of the rebranding of JC Penney’s in 2012, the CEO Ron Johnson has launched a radical rebranding evolution. It changed the sales model of the business to “everyday low prices,” which collapsed the sales within a month only. He further changed the overall looks and feel of the brand, removed the price labels, and replaced them with designer-inspired labels.
The CEO of the business, Ron Johnson, admitted that he failed to understand his customers as he blindly created a plan without testing it anywhere. The inclusion of the data-driven customer personas could have solved the problem for the same.
How Does Facebook Use Persona Research to Improve Its Reporting System?
Facebook used to receive multiple complaints which are anonymous and hence felt difficulty in resolving all of them. The common issue in these anonymous complaints was the need to remove a photograph posted by another person. The company started talking to different teenage customer segments and found that the word “report” triggered friction. When the same was changed to “This post is a problem,” the teens felt more comfortable about this. The company also tested a change that allowed the people to share the complainant’s name and related emotions.
The data thus generated revealed that more than 85% of the photo post creators would reply to the person offended by these posts or simply remove the photos. Hence, Facebook adopted a comprehensive approach as qualitative research was applied to the persons, followed by quantitative testing.
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Customer Persona Tools & Resources
Some of the popular online tools and resources for creating an amazing customer persona are:
1. Hubspot’s Make My Persona
It is a step-by-step customer persona-creating wizard. It focuses business to business use, professional clients, customer, etc. It includes names, photos, job titles, career goals, tools used, reporting structure at work, etc. It can be used with the segmented data to offer detailed customer personas.
2. User Forge
It is the best tool if businesses are looking to create personalized customer personas. It helps businesses focus on their marketing efforts by narrowing down the data and creating blocks, quotes, etc., which can help the business.
It helps businesses create easy-to-user persona templates and is free. It only offers customer persona designing, and hence data analysis needs to be completed at some other point.
It offers a combination of the journey maps, stakeholder, and persona creator. The complete customer experience can be visualized using these tools. Hence, the steps were taken by the customers before purchasing, factors influencing their decisions, etc., can be known, which helps know about customers’ needs and wants.
5. Flow Mapp
It helps create customer journeys and customer personas. Its online collaborative tools can be used to design websites or apps. Flow Mapp helps create and update customer personas with a design editor, drag-and-drop content blocks, etc.
Customer Persona Template
There is no need to worry about creating the consumer personas when you can take the help of the dedicated templates. Some of the quick guidelines for creating customer persona templates are mentioned here:
1. Visit Their Social Profiles
All your customers are using different social media platforms. All you need to do is visit their social profiles, understand their posts, concerns, shared posts, interest in your products’ articles or images, interest in global or local news, expected social media behavior patterns, etc. All the information thus collected can be used to create customer personas.
2. Speak Their Language
The next step is to learn the way to interact with your audience. It is all about is they are engaged with hashtags, emojis, GIFs, trending new stories, old videos, etc. It becomes easy to interact with customers after knowing their ways of social media interaction.
3. Partner with People Your Personas Love
It is easy to know the love of your customers and then start partnering with them. The customers will feel attracted to your brands as you’ve already partnered with their interests.
4. Creating Persona-Specific Content
Last but not least is to reverse engineer the content from the customers’ social profiles. It is all about offering the content liked by your customers, topics like SaaS, peace, home décor, etc. Further, you can ask the customers directly about what type of content they want from you to eliminate redundancy.
Customer Persona Examples That Work
Let us quickly go through a couple of the customer persona examples here.
Coffee Shop Marketing Persona: From Alexa Blog
This persona includes the daily activities of the student, challenges, influencers, brand affinities, worries or fears, hopes or dreams, online behaviors, finances, background, etc. It is all about the student visiting a specific coffee shop daily.
Example of Software Developer Consumer Persona: From Xtensio
This persona includes demographic information, preferred social media channels, brands, personality, bio, goals, motivations, etc. All these profiles are created using online identities and images.
Example of Influencer Persona: From Dribble
We’ve understood their core needs, motivations, and events of Drew. It is easy to create a customized message for Drew using this customer persona and helps dig into the motivation of the customer.
We hope you learned why customer personas are beneficial for an ecommerce business. Also, we are a reputed ecommerce development firm that has been helping clients globally for more than eight years. If you ever need help with ecommerce development then get in touch with us.