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Working out what your customer wants

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How do you know what your customer wants?

In this blog, I’m going to talk to you about figuring out what it is that your customer wants. By now, you will definitely have heard the advice that you need to find your ideal customer, and have positioned yourself in a specific niche.

However, it is an important ongoing process to be keeping in mind what your specific customer actually WANTS to buy. That is going to help you create a really compelling product offering for your customer.

Figuring it out can feel impossible

Working out what your customer wants can feel like a real struggle.

Even if you start with your niche, how do you go about creating their ideal product?

Some approaches don’t work

Many people either guess what it is their customer wants, or they don’t really think about it and just pick product that THEY like. Even if you are your own ideal customer (and let’s face it, many of us start businesses to serve people just like us), simply picking what you like is not the best place to start.

Equally, copying what your competitors are doing in the assumption that your customer will love it if your competitors can sell it, without putting your own spin on things is not a very effective method either.

You need to strike the balance between leading the customer towards great product that they might have never thoughts of before, and creating sure-fire winners.

Instead, monitor your customers in a systematic way

Wherever possible, you will want to be carrying out research on your customers, preferably on an ongoing basis, but at the very least at regular intervals - perhaps monthly but at the very least, twice a year.

  • Follow your customers on Social Media. Look at the other accounts they follows, and pay specific attention to popular posts and the products they feature.

  • Analyse your own figures - look for price points, product categories, colours and sizes that work better than others to build up a picture of what works

  • Use tools such as Facebook audience insights to understand who your customer also shops with, and look at the products that they are selling. Pay attention not just the product range, but their prices, customer service and packaging concepts as well.

  • Attend trade shows as a visitor where you can. Walking around the stands will give you an idea of trends that are up and coming, and you can often benefit from trend talks that are given at these events.

  • Conduct regular customer research. Always ask them about past purchases (e.g. tell me the last time you bought an item for your home) rather than asking them to predict future purchases (Would you spend £X for a new cushion?)

Above all, use this information to help you decide what your product should be, but always make sure that you are putting your unique twist on what you do.

The ultimate proof is in your sales figures

All of the above can take you a certain way towards figuring out what your customer wants, but I’m a huge advocate for trialling where at all possible. The ultimate proof of whether or not a product is desired by your customers is whether or not it sells!

Before you commit to large quantities of anything, make sure you have tested it - ideally by selling a smaller quantity first. If that’s not possible, can you post photos on social media to gauge reactions? Had a small focus group of your ideal customers

How do you tune into what your customer wants?

How do you work out what your customer will love? Have there been products that took you by surprise? Share your stories below.

Other Ways I Can Help

If you want a straight-forward set of steps to build your retail business - download my free roadmap “Retail Entrepreneur’s Roadmap to Profit” right here.

And don’t forget to join the discussion inside the Female Founders In Retail Facebook group where you can meet other women building amazing product-based businesses. If you’re not already in the group, click here to request to be let in. See you in there!

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