Identifying customer needs

Before you start promoting your business you need to know what your customers want and why. Good customer research helps you work out how to convince your customers that they need your products and services.

Identify your customers

The first step of customer research is identifying your customers. Your market research should help you understand your potential customers. Further customer research can help you develop a more detailed picture of them and understand how to target them. It will also highlight key characteristics your customers share, such as:

  • gender
  • age
  • occupation
  • disposable income
  • residential location
  • recreational activities.

Understand why they shop

Once you've identified who your customers are, you can find out what motivates them to buy products and services. For example, consider if they make decisions based on:

  • work demands
  • family needs
  • budget pressures
  • social or emotional needs
  • brand preferences.

Identify preferred shopping methods

As well as understanding why they shop, you will also want to understand how they shop. To learn about your customers' preferred method and means of shopping, consider if they:

  • shop online, over the phone or in stores
  • make spontaneous or carefully considered buying decisions.

Consider their spending habits

Different types of customers will be willing to spend different amounts. Find out what financial capacity and spending habits your customers have. For example, consider:

  • their average income
  • the portion of their income they spend on the type of products or services you sell
  • if they budget.

Find out what they think of you

Learn about your customers' views and expectations of your business and rivals. For example, find out what they think of your:

  • products and services
  • customer service
  • competitors.

Also consider...