How do you build a customer profile for e-Commerce?

Alexander Wijninga

Alexander Wijninga

| 4 min

Do you really know who your customer is? The answer to this question is the silver bullet to success. Businesses that know their customers well understand how to exactly cater to the needs of their customers. For example, do you know what search terms your customers are using to find your business and your products?

By building customer profiles, you give your whole team insight into your customer’s buying behavior. With these insights, you can make better business decisions, anticipate customer needs and wants, and be more customer-oriented. This article describes at a high level the approach to build a customer profile.

What is a customer profile?

A customer profile or a persona is a detailed description of your target audience. It’s a summary of your ideal customer, describing what his or her wishes are and how this manifests itself in buying behaviour. It will likely also include which (online) channels they frequent. A customer profile also includes demographic and psychographic data on your ideal customer. Psychographic data includes motivations, dreams and ambitions. What would be on the bucket list of your ideal customers?

Demographic data includes but is not limited to age, gender, place of residence and income. This information gives an indicator as to the type of customer that’s looking for your product. This data allows you to better estimate the best approaches to reaching your customers. A complete, accurate customer profile can be an essential part of your go-to-market strategy.

Create a customer profile in 4 (big) steps

It might not surprise you that data is the key to a successful customer profile. Where you’re going to get this data is another question. In order to learn about your customers, it’s important to gather data from a variety of sources and examine it from several perspectives. Read on below to discover the steps to follow when creating a customer profile.

Step 1: Find the similarities between your satisfied customers

Your current customer database is probably the most important source of information for your customer profile. Pull together all your customers that were the most satisfied about your product and/or service. Are there similarities between these customers that stand out? What trends can you uncover in terms of what they have in common? Anything conspicuously obvious? Also incorporate demographic and psychographic information on these customers in your analysis. If you’re a B2B company, also consider the average revenue, the number of employees, the business location and the company culture.

Step 2: Who wants to buy your product?

It’s perhaps obvious, but this is a point that’s often forgotten. Your ideal customer is one that’s prepared and ready to buy your product. Take out your metaphorical magnifying glass and critically examine your target audience. Consider the following three points: Is your product or service a solution to your customer’s problem(s)? Is there enough budget available? Does this person need permission from someone else or from another organisation in order to make a purchase?

Step 3: Qualitative interviews

You’ll only truly understand your customers once you’ve spoken with them and have had a chance to understand their motives. Qualitative interviews can help. We often advise our clients to structure the interviews into three groups: existing customers, potential customers and people who don’t know about your business. You’ll ask the interviewees questions that will reveal both psychographic and demographic data. By asking existing customers about obstacles to customer service, for example, you’ll reveal the pain points in your customer journey. You can also ask them how they ended up on your website in the first place. When you have the customer journey mapped out, building a persona will be that much easier.

Step 4: Let your CRM system do the heavy lifting

A CRM system can be an endless source of data about your customers. Yes, it can help when you’re building a customer profile, but perhaps more importantly it can signal trends among your target audience. By continuously collecting customer information at every point of contact, you’re making the most of each opportunity to get to know your customers better. There are a variety of software systems that can automate the collection of customer data so this doesn’t become a huge time suck for your team. A chatbot can be incredibly helpful by asking customers for additional information during conversations and funnelling this information to your CRM system.

Combine your data and sketch a profile

Organise the data you’ve collected in the steps above and try to compare the insights you’ve gathered along the way. Are there specific regions or cities that stand out? Is the age range of your customers aligned with what you were thinking? Are there motivations or wishes revealed in qualitative interviews that would inform your sales strategy?

Maybe one customer profile isn’t enough to capture everything. It might be relevant to build multiple profiles, and that’s okay too! We don’t advise building more than three profiles, to avoid confusion and loose ends when it comes to using the profiles to make decisions.

The final step

Continue to collect data and optimise your customer profiles! When your business grows, it’s almost certain that your industry will change as well. Stay focused on the customer - use all available tools to gather information from your customers and target audience and monitor the customer journey.

Still curious?

Want to learn more about how to build customer profiles in the Watermelon platform? Our chatbot software enables your business to build 360 degree customer profiles! Request a free demo!

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