All businesses have to develop as times goes by. It’s just something that is a necessity of running your own organisation.
Processes need to change, approaches have to be amended and at the end of the day, it all comes back to the fact that consumer habits and requirements are constantly developing themselves.
In many ways, businesses understand this. They know that they can’t stand still and that to see the most success possible, they have to always be on the ball, looking at what new technologies could be utilised to enhance the customer experience, for example.
But although a lot of businesses do understand this, so many fail on something that’s related – and that’s understanding that your offline customers are different to your digital customers.
In essence, they both want the same things, such as to buy a product or find out more information about a service. The way they want it to happen, however, could be completely different.
And the only way you can guarantee you’re getting this right within your small business is to ensure you don’t make any assumptions about your target audience. No matter how well you think you know your customers, unless you have proof to back your beliefs up, there’s every possibility that your thoughts could be way off mark.
We’re not saying this is always the case, but in the age of social media and mobile web where everyone can be a potential customer, it can so often be the case.
Take something like tablet use as an example. You might think that because tablets are new technology and it seems that every child you see is playing on one, your mobile strategy needs to be tailored to the younger part of your audience.
Looking at most research into tablet usage, however, you’ll find that it’s actually adults in their 30s and 40s who make up the highest demographic when it comes to usage statistics.
Obviously these statistics don’t apply to every organisation, but they’re a prime example of where your misconceptions can be completely wrong.
Audience research is without doubt the way forward here, but it doesn’t have to be anywhere near as expensive as you may first believe.
For example, you could send out a survey to all of your past customers that asks a selection of questions, such as what platform they used to shop with you, what age bracket they fall into and whether they would return as a customer in the same way. This would give you a whole range of data to analyse and could present some interesting findings, such as whether your customers only used mobile web because they absolutely had to and whether all of your 75+ customers only plan on shopping online with you once or twice.
Although no business can guarantee success, the more you know about your customers – and that means both those online and off – the more likely it is you’ll see the success you both expect and need in the future.
This post originally appeared on February 5, 2013.