How A Small Business Can Build Consumer Profiles
Recently, the talk of privacy and data storage by businesses has come to the forefront of public discussion. Facebook and Google are among the various companies that are being questioned on how they use their customers’ data.
It’s true that if you are selling off consumer data, that is a very precarious road and could be verging on bad ethical guidelines. However, building up a customer profile is absolutely fine and more businesses should be doing so.
Small businesses have the opportunity of building their own consumer profiles from the very beginning. This means that you have an increased chance not only making more of your customers loyal, but keeping a hold of them throughout the years.
But where to begin?
Voluntary data relinquishing
The best way to get customer data is to have them give it to you. When a customer feel pressured to hand over their data, they will not only refuse but trust the business doing this to them even less.
Any business that is consumed by gathering customer data is sure to run into this hurdle. You have to slip the opportunity in subtly. For example, don’t force shoppers who want to buy something from your online business to login to an account before they can go to the checkout.
Instead, they should be encouraged to register by offering them one-time only discount deals for signing up. A mere 5 or 10% isn’t going to hurt too much if you plan it right for certain items.
Study the past
Customers shouldn’t inherently be looked at as complete strangers who you are trying to win over. Those that have been with you before should have their browning and purchase habits stored onto an online server.
Using something like Cloud Solutions by Online Computers, you have the ability to store all your customers’ data and not have it filling up your main hardware drives.
It’s also best to make a backup of all your customer profiles so that throughout the years you can study the past and see how they have changed. You might end up predicting a consumer trend in the making if you kept your finger on the pulse this way.
Pick examples and understand
- During a meeting, you should pick 10 male and 10 female customer profiles.
- Their name is irrelevant, but their age, sex and geography is relevant.
- Ask your boardroom team to study their profiles and compare their different spending habits.
- Various patterns will emerge about what products interest them and why.
- The marketing team especially can be involved in this exercise.
- Study the impact your creative decisions had on their behaviour. Maybe they began to visit your website more when you chose a new design for it.
- Perhaps you created a better pricing system which made you more competitive in their eyes.
Consumer profiles take a lot of time to curate. They offer you a lot of information about how your customers use your business which is more than worth the trouble.
Consider storing previous data of each customer to better understand their consumer evolution over the years.
Image credit: pxhere
Have you started building consumer profiles so you can better serve your audience? One of the quickest ways to analyze a small online business is simply by understanding your website analytics. There’s a wealth of information about your audience in Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools. If you are a one-woman team like I am, I recommend you start there.