How do you know who your customers are? Where do you find new customers? Do you know which customers you are targeting? You should have a clear picture of what your ideal customer looks like i.e. age, demographic, male or female. Every business should know who they are targeting because you can’t hope to understand your customer if you don’t get this right.

Hitting the nose on the head

Once upon a time, to use a quaint old-fashioned opener, your ideal customers would have probably walked through the door of a shop to purchase your products. It may even have been a corner shop where you didn’t have to complete with so many other possible products.

Next came the large supermarkets or stores where your brand had to learn to stand out from the crowd and attract your customer’s attention.

Now the route from shopper to your brand is much more complicated. And sometimes you’ll be surprised at who you attract. You may even have to revise your target audience!

The shopper’s journey

When we’re driving somewhere we used to have maps and mistakes were common place. Now we most likely have a GPS system of some sort to guide us by the hand straight to the place we want to go.

Just like driving has changed for us, so shopping has changed for customers. There are now many points where they come into contact with you but this may not make it clearer and faster like a GPS system does.

Do you know which of these connection or ‘touch points’ work best to get money in the till?

Engaging a market research agency to help you evaluate this is a good first step. With a variety of tools at their finger tips they can assess your strength at each of your contact points from the overall mix which might include:

In store i.e. face to face

Via Loyalty schemes

Via Post, text or telephone

Interaction on Social Media sites

On your website

The versatility of the mediums used to engage with your customers means that a variety of measurement tools will be needed to explore the current activity of all of these. Is it necessary to engage in so many places? This could depend on the average age of your target audience but no one is getting any younger and you can bet that the importance of many of these connection points will grow.

It is fairly common knowledge that many shoppers choose to look online before they make decisions about purchases, especially big ones, these days. Does this apply to your brand? How many of your customers use this route to actually make a purchase?

Assessment, plan and into practice

Engaging a market research agency that can work on all of these platforms to measure the benefit to the business is stage 1. It’s important to understand the route your customers take and how they make their decisions to purchase.

A comprehensive report of how these contact points work over a period of time and a plan to improve those where there is less engagement come into stage 2.

Stage 3 is making amends as necessary and continuing to monitor progress. Dividing up time and resources used for different platforms could make sense after you receive your assessment.

Like any research it is always good to revisit at regular intervals to see if there are any changes which you can react to. Best keep that market research company in the loop.