There’s nothing more important in business than success and stability: you need both, in the long term if your business is going to go the distance. You need money coming in from customers (or clients, depending on your business model) and you need it happening reliably in order to feel confident about the future and make plans for it.
Achieving that needs lots of different tactics, but one of the most important ones is listening to your customers. Today we’re looking at why that’s important and some of the ways you can achieve it.
Watching Customer Behaviour
One of the simplest ways to get some insight into how your customers are thinking and making their decisions is to simply observe what they do. How long do they spend in your stores? When do they come in? How much do they spend, on what and after how long spent searching?
If you know what people come in looking for, and how they look for it, you can design a journey for your customers to ensure their path through your shops offers them lots of chances to discover other products, and presenting them with your key products before their patience is exhausted.
You can do the same thing online. Heat mapping tools allow you to find the most visited, clicked on and read pages of your website. You can follow the customer journey in the same way: finding out where people arrive from to browse your site, what they search for, what they click past and what they pore over allows you to optimise your site for the customer experience, finding the perfect balance between a frictionless purchase experience and opportunities for discovery.
There are lots of different ways market research can inform and improve your approach to your business. One of the most basic and vital is brand tracking. This is a form of survey that asks members of the public to rank your business against your rivals on the key qualities that define your brand, so you can recognise whether your plans for communicating your business to customers have been successfully. If customers are not rating you for the main qualities you’ve been trying to communicate to them, it’s evidence you need to rethink your plans or find the customers your branding efforts are working for and target them instead.