5 ways engaging in consumer research can benefit your E-commerce business

The e-commerce consumer journey is complex, with many “invisible” moments along the way, where brand owners have little to no visibility of their customers. In the absence of “in the moment” data, retailers & manufacturers rely on customer reviews, sales and retention figures or online data sources to try to piece together a picture of their consumer’s experience. Is this fragmented picture enough?

While online reviews are important to monitor, it can be hard to understand whether or not that bad or good review represents your average customer experience. What is perhaps more concerning, is the inability to determine any true rate of an issue from online reviews alone. However, as the penetration of mobile devices continue to rise, engaging with your customers in the moments that matter is becoming easier, allowing retailers and manufacturers to finally understand their true customer experience.

In a recent study, Eolas engaged consumers through their mobile devices, around key moments in their e-commerce journey with a major online retailer. The results were enough to warrant 5 reasons retailers and manufacturers should be engaging in e-commerce consumer research, to help drive a successful e-commerce strategy:

  1. 1. Measure product & packaging quality through the eyes of your consumersIn a recently conducted study on over 1,000 personal care and food products purchased from a popular online retailer, over a ¼ of the products had an observed defect upon receipt. How robust is your product packaging, and is it arriving to your consumers as intended? By   engaging with your brand’s consumers, you can gain an understanding of your product or packaging issues and the rate they are occurring, allowing you to focus your efforts where they are most needed.
  2. 2. Identify potential or existing issues in your product’s fulfilment We asked 100 consumers to order a premium beauty product online, and found that only 10% received the product in the designed e-commerce ready packaging.Is the fulfilment process affecting your customer’s experience? You may have taken extra measures to ensure your products unboxing experience delights your consumers, but how do you know for certain your products are being fulfilled and received as intended? By engaging directly with consumers you can get an understanding of how your products are arriving and their honest reactions to the experience.
  1. 3. Get ahead of the competition, how does your product compare?By engaging with consumers of both your brand and the brands of your competitors, you can gain a competitive advantage by understanding the motivations, behaviours, and purchasing habits of your competitor’s consumers, and how they intersect or differ. Understand the key differentiators to help better position your brand to your consumers and competitor’s consumers alike.
  2. 4. Understand how issues affect purchase intent and brand perceptionWhether you are retailer or brand owner, one of the key questions you most likely have is, “how issues throughout the e-commerce journey impact on your consumer’s perception of your brand, and how they may affect future purchase intent?”
    By engaging directly with consumers, it takes the guess work out of trying to understand what exactly is affecting brand perception and purchase intent. Why try to piece together multiple data points and online reviews, when a piece of targeted consumer research can open your eyes to where your brand is most vulnerable?
  3. 5. Understand the entire journey, not just a pieceThis last point may seem cliché, but when it comes to fine tuning your e-commerce business strategy, understanding your consumers is paramount. By engaging in consumer research, you can control the questions you ask, and the parts of the e-commerce journey that you are most interested in, allowing you to understand the entire journey.
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