Knowing and understanding customers is key for any retailer’s success.
Successful businesses study their shoppers, learning what they like – which can be as important as figuring out what they don’t like – and using that information to help predict what they’ll buy in the future.
Studying consumer behavior helps retailers determine factors that influence their buying decisions, which allows them to offer products that satisfy their customers’ needs.
If you want to really understand your customers, consider developing buyer personas.
- Who is your typical buyer?
The answer to this can be one type of person (e.g., a soccer outfitter) or a number of types (e.g., a general sporting goods store).
Using purchase data from your POS, you can discover who your end customers tend to be.
Hopefully, the results won’t be entirely shocking.
- Look at Their Product Purchases
Next, look at your products and connect the dots to the buyers.
Are your customers buying for themselves or others?
Some stores may find clear evidence that they are a gift-giving destination, while others may find it’s parents rather than teenagers who are doing the buying.
Consider creating a persona not just for the shoppers buying for themselves, but also for the ones buying on behalf of someone else.
At first, you are simply defining your clientele and placing them in large categories.
- Refine Your Search
The next step is refining your research:
Where do your customers live?
What are their ages?
Some of these distinguishing traits will be more important than others.
Furthermore, there may be additional questions that are particularly relevant to your business.
- Draw Conclusions
Ultimately, you want to take the answers and compare that to what is being purchased and draw conclusions.
That can be accomplished by gathering reams of data not only from the point of sale terminal but also (potentially) from contest submissions or newsletter subscriptions.
Don’t forget past or inactive customers.
- Test Your Findings
It’s beneficial to understand why they may have stopped shopping at your business, so pick up the phone, send an email, create a survey – and find out you’re your shortcomings are; whether they are perceived or real they are valuable.
Offer an incentive, such as a coupon code and not only will they be more apt to respond, but they may also give your business a second shot.
- Tie in Online Data
If you have an e-commerce site in addition to brick and mortar, use tools such as Google Analytics Audience reports to nail down the demographics of online shoppers.
Take it one step further and unite all that data – POS, ecommerce, Google Analytics, and any other retail software you use – into an analytics platform that can help you predict what your customers will do next.
Successful retailers know their customers.
They not only know what they are buying and what they want to purchase but also their likes and dislikes outside of the store environment.
They know personal details.
And they’ve analyzed all that information so they can provide a stellar customer experience, not just today but for well into the future.
They know that the day they stop knowing their customer is the day they lose that customer.