Someone bought a product from your online store. How does that feel? Pretty terrific, right?
It is eCommerce at its best, isn’t it?
But, then, for some of you, it is old hat. Or is it?
Where Do We Start?
Granted, compared to the Mayflower, it is very new. But, it has been around for a while. (Can you imagine that there was even a time when PayPal didn’t exist? Yes, paying by “email” used to be a foreign concept.)
Mini-Course in Making Money With an Online Store
The reason I am calling this a mini-course is because it is a quickie listing of some of the things that you will have to consider, as an online ecommerce store owner.
Ok, so back to our customer that just made a purchase. We are excited, aren’t we? But, now what? Do you let it go by the wayside or do you give them extra attention to make them want to return?
This is the beginning of an entire list of things that could come to mind and possibly overwhelm us in our efforts to master the art and science of success in the ecommerce world.
Why is ECommerce Important to Us?
This question is probably pretty easy to answer. Ecommerce is important to us because we want to make money and either 1) we have already been doing it to some level of success online; or 2) we have heard that the online money-making process is intriguing and may be our “thing.”
Ok, let’s take a moment to understand that eCommerce is not some sort of “get rich quick” scheme. But, then, I know you already knew that. It doesn’t mean that we can’t take the few moments that are required to learn the science of success with eCommerce, apply that, and find our own secret sauce that works for us.
So, back to our mini-course and what we need to understand about ecommerce success.
Step 1: You Don’t Have to Learn it All in One Day
The first step is to understand just how important the customer is. I mean, without the customer, you wouldn’t have the sales and without the sales, what value does the ecommerce have?
That is the easy part, accepting that we need to focus on the customer. After all, that is the title of this article, understanding the customer, as well as the personas. In this way, we can adapt our eCommerce site to the customer and the customer’s buying persona.
In psychology, we learn about behavioral patterns and the similarities between people, when it comes to behavior patterns. It is like people can be somewhat grouped according to their behavioral patterns. That is part of what identifying the buying persona relates to, in understanding the person, their persona, and specifically how that relates to their buying behavioral patterns.
So, what is this word, persona? To simplify it, it would be the buyer persona. So, you may have different personas for the people with whom you deal. You may have investors, coming under the category of investor persona. You may have partners, coming under the category of partner persona (but, I wouldn’t recommend over-analyzing your partners as they may not be thrilled with you!).
In a more complex or advanced view, you may have several different buyer personas. You may have the reluctant buyer persona, the one who doesn’t spend money without a threat of doom or an arm twisted behind his or her back. You may have an “easy come easy go” buyer persona which is the buyer who spends on anything and everything (and is likely the one who would ask for the refund the most readily).
Do you see what I am doing here? I am actually starting to describe the personas for you! That is a place to start.
So, what we are really doing, is describing a sort of behavioral pattern and then smacking a label on it. It is easiest if we picture a type of buyer when we do that. Then, describe that person we are picturing in our mind. But, do you know what is easier yet? Go back to the name of this step, in not trying to over-complicate it, and just stick with the “buyer persona” for starters. We can always come up with variations on those personas later. But, we recall that we don’t have to learn all of this in one day.
Step 2: Keeping the Balance While Learning, Understanding, Adapting
Or, Know What You Know and What You Need to Know.
We have covered the step about understanding that we don’t have to build Rome in a day, but that doesn’t mean that we sit back and eat bonbons and watch TV, hoping that our ecommerce site works out on its own, without our intervention or management.
When we are ready, we can dig in deeper and build a more detailed buyer persona and when we have figured out what those are, add more. By taking these steps (when we are ready), we can apply that to our online store in a manner that helps to address all of the potential buyer personas and have a better chance of pleasing them and more importantly, negotiating that sale! But, we need to stay balanced while we edge our way forward in this journey, right?
No, we need to figure out what we need to learn. Take it at a reasonable pace and apply what you can without burning yourself out and crashing. What I have found is that it is helpful to identify what you want to study (learn) each day and then scale it back to about 50% of that and implementing 25-50% of that per day. Also, allow certain days to be your day off, like maybe a Wednesday in addition to a day on the weekend. By taking these steps, you can help to balance your time, ensure that you are more likely to be consistent, and help to avoid that dreaded burnout and crashing moment (which I hope none of you experience!)
That was a bit of a confusing description? Let’s simplify it. Stay balanced and don’t bite off more than you can chew at any given time. How’s that?
See a pattern here?
Step 2: Using Our Understanding of Personas
True story >> I once nicely asked someone why it was that my monthly subscription was not available for download. Their response was a bit curt. It was as if he was saying, “You should know better than to ask me because it won’t be ready for one more day, even though you already paid for it two days ago.” Nowhere on their site was there any sort of explanation and even if there were some sort of explanation, could he not have added warmth? A response like, “Oh, we are so appreciative of your monthly subscription and patronage. We may have forgotten to let you know that sometimes the downloads take a couple of days to appear on the site, but if that causes any difficulty, please do let us know. We aim to please!”
Now, which response is going to keep YOU as a customer? I agree. The warmer presentation is going to go a lot further.
Show the warmth!
This is a great place to review our descriptions of the buyer persona(s) and understand how each persona responds to messaging. Some of this can be done with split testing. But, some of it is common sense. While I recommend, in steps one and two, to start with one buyer persona, let’s pretend that we have defined multiple buyer personas, ok? In that case, if we have a buyer persona that is more sensitive and especially when it comes to messaging, they will need that warmer response. However, let’s say we have a buyer persona that will buy no matter what and does not require the “touchy-feely approach.” What about messaging? Well, two things about that buyer persona, 1) Find out how you found that buyer and find more of them! Also, ensure the retention and loyalty of that type of buyer to reduce refund requests, etc., but that is beyond the scope of this article; and 2) the warm fuzzy messaging is not likely to deter this buyer, based on the buyer persona, so there is nothing that is “lost” in creating that warmth, because it will likely help with other buyer personas.
Suggestion for Implementation
- Create a spreadsheet.
- Add the description of the buyer persona
- Create columns for messaging, potential perks, and other ideas that come to mind when it comes to dealing with each of the personas.
- Implement the changes in your online store when you are able to implement it. Create a “done” column in your spreadsheet so that you can indicate when you have implemented the necessary changes or modifications.
- You may want to include a column for notes, as well.
Excellent customer support and service is a requirement if you want to succeed online. If you are wondering about that, check out my little story, above, about warmth and presentation. Sort of drives it home, doesn’t it? But, keep in mind that there are different needs for different buyer personas. Also, keep in mind that we are keeping it simple, to start. You can always bookmark this article and come back later to dig in deeper, right?
Wrapping It Up and Getting Started
All sorts of ideas can come to mind when you start to brainstorm on how you can serve your customers, eh? As you make your list, keep in mind that you want to build customer loyalty. Ask yourself what you can do to help to attract your customers, help them to have a pleasant experience, and retain them as customers.
And, start with that buyer persona. Put yourself in their place and ask what you would want to see on your eCommerce site. Great place to start and there is always room for growth beyond that.
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