Customer persona (aka. buyer persona, user persona) is a compilation of information about a customer’s problems, ideas, the infrastructure they’re using and any other information that will help you understand your customers more.
Ardath Albee, one of the leading expert for customer persona creation on her marketinginteractions.com blog define a persona as;
a composite sketch of a target market based on validated commonalities
She also mentions;
Customer personas are not representative of a real person. Buyer personas are a composite sketch of a segment of your target market designed to help brands align with these specific buyers’ needs and priorities to build engagement that results in a profitable relationship.
So, for your eCommerce, creating and using customer persona will:
Having a customer persona is important in any business, but it’s nonetheless crucial for e-commerce. In e-commerce, it’s not enough to vaguely know your customers, you need to truly understand their psychology to create and sell your products most effectively.
By creating customer personas, you get an idea of the real people who buy—or might buy your products.
1. Persona in eCommerce
2. Know your customer better with persona
3. The pitfalls of not embracing persona as the main tool of a customer-first approach
4. Who needs to be involved in persona creation
5. How much expertise do you need to have
6. How much does it take to create a persona
Persona is a term you've heard of if you’re coming from UX, design, marketing or sales department within the eCommerce industry.
There are a lot of persona templates on the internet but the majority of them are not usable at all. The usual template is based on not actionable data and it has a very small impact on the design, marketing, sales department and forgotten in a couple of weeks. A customer persona is often overseen because your staff simply don’t see any value in it.
A persona should have meaning and impact your company choices daily and referred to throughout the year. A persona should also be updated and adjusted every quarter, or, at least once a year.
Having a persona as a guiding point of what problems are you solving for the customer will:
In our next blog post, we will explain how you can build a very detailed and actionable persona that your eCommerce team will be able to use.
If there is a disconnect in your company, your staff is either not aligned with the goal or the strategy to reach that goal.
Without personas, eCommerce companies risk:
Having empathy for your customers will help you identify a better goal, one that is customer-oriented. Your staff will understand the main point of why they are doing what they do - to help customers.
For example, one eCommerce client of ours was having difficulties reaching a specific goal. Through initial research and communication, we determined that the problem occurred because they lacked a clear image of who their customers are. Each team had their vision of customers, so they have approached them differently.
In that process we noticed several problems:
We’ve learned that the entire team didn’t have a clear overview of the customer's problems they are solving.
After assembling all the notes from the stakeholders, we’ve created 3 different customer personas. Out of those three, two customer personas did not fit into the strategic picture.
A single, clear and detailed persona helped them segment their customers better. It also leads to a better taxonomy organisation of the shopping experience.
With proper persona creation, the whole team aligned and empathised better with the customer. Persona generally improved the work process, efficiency, and overall strategic company potential.
Of course, a persona is not a magic bullet that will solve all your problems but is it a major step and basis for all your customer-focused eCommerce efforts.
Today’s increase in the competitive eCommerce landscape only makes room for eCommerce shops who get to know and understand their customers.
For example, Forever21, a fast-fashion company that went bankrupt in 2019 offered trendy clothes for low prices. With time, Forever21 started to please a too broad audience, which led them to be less original and to loose their genuine customers.
They also failed to recognise that their customers are getting to shop increasingly though eCommerce while they opened more physical shops.
This resulted in Forever21 coming to a point where they have lost touch with their core customers. Their competitors, like Zara and H&M on the other hand, remained focused which allowed them an opportunity to rise to the top.
With proper persona creation and implementation, it is possible to avoid or at least to detect some of those problems. A persona is a vital tool for defining the pain points of a customer journey and your shop long-term strategy. Personas take out the guesswork out of the equation and provide you with actionable data.
Your eCommerce can, of course, be successful without a persona, but with low entry barriers to the eCommerce market, the competition is rising. You will need all available tools and help you can get to keep on climbing to the top and remain there.
First, you need to create a core team or outsource a UX eCommerce agency to build a persona, the team can consist of:
Ideally, you should have an experienced UX/CX designer that has experience with user interviews.
The persona creation team should talk to the following in-house teams to find out their view of the customer:
Talking to internal teams will offer you a better understanding of how desired customers are perceived. From them, you can also get to know where previous push-backs occurred.
Then, you should talk to your end customers to confirm your internal team's assumptions.
The persona creation process will be explained in detail in our next blog post so subscribe to our blog posts below.
You will need to invest a lot of time and expertise if you want to achieve a high-quality persona. Persona creation might seem easy, but it is quite demanding to create it and requires a lot of skills.
The internal or external agency team must be able to recruit interview participants and be experienced in conducting user interviews.
For the recruitment of external customers, we recommend that you reach out to your existing customers and ask them for an interview.
When it comes to conducting interviews the hardest part is making sure that the facilitator doesn’t influence the participants, which happens even to the best.
After you have enough data, your team should know how to analyse it. Sometimes participants might say things that would please or protect the facilitator’s feelings. It is then up to the interview facilitator to know how to determine which data should be omitted from an interview.
If you’re thinking “What if I don’t have enough time" or "we do not have enough experience to create a persona”?. In that case, you can always hire an external agency for the creation of a persona process. We offer free consultation on the best approach for your eCommerce. Just email us here
There is no one-size-fits-all persona, every company is unique. Because of that, it is hard to tell how much time is required to create a persona.
There can be multiple factors that influence such as:
The more detailed the work is the more time will be required to conduct thorough interviews and to go over all gathered data.
Usually, in our experience, the persona creation can range from two weeks up to two months.
Creation of customer persona (if done properly) is a great step to understand your customer better, answer key questions, solve bottlenecks and improve the overall customer experience of your e-commerce.
Stop making assumptions and start talking to your end customers to understand better what are their needs and how you can solve them.
We will delegate senior UX and CRO specialist to consult you on the best way you can build or edit your product.
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