If I asked you about your customers, the chances are pretty good that you can tell me something about your typical customer – whether they’re male or female, how old they are, a little bit about what’s important to them. But what about your non-typical customers? Within any customer base, there are groups of people who share traits in common; marketers call these audience segments. Your typical customer represents one audience segment; additional audience segments may be smaller in size yet still very important to your business’ bottom line.
For example, let’s consider a florist’s shop. This particular florist would tell you their typical customer was an older woman who ordered fresh arrangements to be delivered to family and friends on special occasions; this represented the majority of their business. They also did a pretty good business with wedding flowers – the buyers here tended to be younger couples.
At this point, the florist was confident they understood their customer mix fairly well. Data analysis revealed they were wrong: they had a small but profitable audience segment they’d been previously unaware of. Real estate agents had been frequenting the florist for arrangements they could use to stage the houses they were showing: as the local property market boomed, this portion of the business had been steadily increasing right under the owner’s noses without them even noticing.
Data is useful because it provides an objective, accurate record of what’s actually happening in the business. This record can reveal things that you may not have observed yourself – but once you have the knowledge, you’re free to capitalize upon it. In the case of our florist, a loyalty program designed to reward realtors for their repeat business was an immediate hit with this audience segment; later analysis revealed sales from this audience segment increased more than 10% in a single month.
There are several ways to capture data about your customers. The florist uses the same marketing platforms many small business owners embrace: a website, Facebook and Instagram, and email marketing. Each one of these platforms come with their own systems for capturing user behavior. Website analytics currently offers the most in depth coverage of user demographics, interests and behaviors. If you’re feeling like you might be in the same position the florist was – not entirely informed about the number and relative value of the audience segments you have – your website data is the first place to start looking for answers. If you need help making this happen, let us know: our team of development wizards and retail experts will be happy to help.