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Determining What Your Target Audience Wants and Needs

Any eCommerce store desiring success must sell products that customers want to buy. The perfect sales condition does not involve you trying to convince customers to buy what you sell. Rather, it is a condition where you simply convince customers who are already in search of the products you sell to buy from you. Here, both parties win.

This is not possible without prior knowledge of customers’ wants and needs. Also, this is a decision that should not be rushed as it determines your entire approach, business model and marketing efforts.

Make Your Target Market Even Narrower

The market in which you operate will largely determine what your target audience responds to. Figuring out consumers want can be difficult when your target market is broad—the more people you have to please, the harder pleasing them becomes. Smaller niches usually comprise consumers with more specific, uniform needs. For example, selling products to businesses in the tech space may seem like a narrow enough target market, but the range of businesses you would be catering to is still too wide, and the requirements for each too different for a small business to effectively interact with the entirety of their potential customer base. 

However, selling products for businesses in the data analysis subspace is more specific, and allows you to narrow your business strategies to optimize market penetration.

Narrowing down your target market enables you to create a better defined, more accurate customer profile. This customer profile can be used to understand your customers better, figure out what they have in common and even help select the most suitable dropship supplier that can deliver on time.

Carry Out Surveys

Surveys are still a viable way to determine what customers want. Surveys could be as flexible or as specific as you wish. They can range from simple surveys where you ask customers what they would like to purchase more complex surveys that involve mathematical theories like MaxDiff. These surveys are usually more accurate and can be used for scaling. Survey creation services like Survey King have the infrastructure for creating a range of simple to complex surveys.

Use Social Media

Social media is a great place to test products before stocking them on your digital shelf. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are great for doing just this. If you have a following on any of these sites, you can introduce products to your consumers here first and gauge their reactions. If it’s mostly positive, then that’s a go-ahead. If it’s negative or neutral then maybe tweak the product or change it completely.

Even if you don’t have a following, you can still leverage these sites by searching using hashtags related to your niche. These usually show products that people like and purchase more often.

Online forums are also an effective testing ground. Sites like Reddit comprise forums—called subreddits—that are dedicated to niche markets. Engaging with people on forums like these could generate valuable and actionable insights.

Study Your Competition

Take some time to study what others in the same space are doing. Take note of what products they sell, when they sell them e.g. seasonally or perennially and for what prices. This will give you some headway as to what works and what doesn’t. 

Be careful with this though—relying solely on what others do does not leave much room for creativity and innovation. And who knows, your store might be the one that comes up with the next best thing. So while you emulate the best of the best, also remember experiment every once in a while if only to test what could work.

Analytics And Trends

Analytics is probably the best way to measure your target market’s spending patterns and then draw useful conclusions. However, analytics is most useful when you already have an online store. If you are just starting and have not set up a store, you can still track the search volumes of several products in several niche markets using Google Trends. Trends show you useful information like how many people searched for a particular product for a while and where the searchers are from.


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