An Easy Guide to Conducting Ecommerce Market Research

2019/04/15 08:00

ecommerce market research

Before you launch your online store, you’re going to need to do a little research. This is what you need to know.

There is a lot more that goes into making a purchase decision than price point. Brand differentiation and reputation and customer service are just a few of the factors that the modern day customer will consider before making a purchase.

Ecommerce is not the easiest space to break into, which is why retailers need as much information as they can find on their target audience before they launch an online store. Naturally, there will always be some degree of uncertainty as you start a new business but taking out as much of the guesswork as you can, will work in your favour.

There is always the option of getting an agency to conduct your market research for you but it is possible to do it yourself.

Market Research 101

Market research is primarily about collecting information on the needs and preferences of your customers but there is more to it too.

Market research is designed to help you understand your customer’s deeper motives and why they want to buy certain products. Having this information will shape everything from the products you stock and how you market to your customers to the copy you create for your site.

Market research outlines your customer’s personal makeup as well as the cultural, geographic and societal factors that drive their decisions.

Ecommerce Research Categories

While you will probably mostly be focusing on your target audience, it’s important to know what other categories fall under the market research umbrella, all of which can make a difference to the success of your online store.

  • Target Market Research. Discover who your target audience is, where they live, what’s important to them and how they make decisions so that you know how your brand can fulfill those needs. Questionnaires and focus groups are one way to conduct market research but most ecommerce brands turn to the array of online tools that are available to them since they tend to offer more data.
  • Product Research. When you’re starting an online store, sometimes you need to limit the number of products you stock in an effort to gauge what your audience truly wants.
  • Brand Research. Brand analysis refers to analysing why consumers are loyal to specific brands and how your brand can appeal to these needs.
  • Post-Sale Research. Sometimes the best way to understand your customers is to speak to them after they convert. Why did they purchase from your store? What did they find the most useful and what features do they feel your ecommerce store is missing? Research is an ongoing process if you want your store to be successful.

Ecommerce Research Tips

Here are some of the ways that you can conduct research online before you launch your online store.

1- Conduct Keyword Research

Tools such as Google Keyword Planner are one of the best ways to get an idea of the products that your customers are searching for, plus it’s free to use. Along with researching your own keywords, Google will also provide you with suggestions that you may not have thought about. Knowing what users are searching for will give you a better idea of their intentions and needs and whether or not your products will appeal to them.

2- Identify Trends

Google Trends is another handy and free tool that you can use to conduct research for your online store. Type in a topic or search term to discover the interest in that topic over time in different locations across the world.

3- Explore Customer Segments

Claritas has a great resource called My Best Segments that you can use to explore different types of customer personas that may be relevant to your online store. If you have some budget to spend, you can also create your own reports based on specific criteria.

4- Listen on Social Media

Spending time on social media will allow you to understand the conversations and mentions that are taking place around the products you want to offer. Social media listening can provide you with valuable data that you can use to shape your marketing efforts later on. Spending time on different social media platforms will also give you an idea of where your potential customers are spending most of their time online and what language they use to communicate.

5- Test the Waters

Finally, there is always the option of taking your site live and slowly finding your feet once you see how your audience responds to your brand and your offering. Some ecommerce stores take the route of collecting pre-orders in an effort to gauge what they should be stocking.

Ecommerce can be a challenging space to be in so even if you decide to launch your store early on, it’s still best to at least have a general idea of who you are targeting so that you have something to build on.