Understanding consumer behavior and taking measures to cater to customers’ wants and needs are crucial pillars of any business’s long-term success and profitability.
It’s important to know everything you can about your target market: their spending habits, what they’re looking for, and why they decide to buy certain products or services.
This comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about tracking consumer behavior online and how you can use this data to grow your ecommerce business.
What is Consumer Behavior?
Consumer behavior centers on studying the processes of choosing, using, and disposing of products and services. This includes the emotional, mental, and behavioral responses incited in customers, incorporating concepts from economics, chemistry, biology, and psychology.
Demographics, statistics, and other data are used to analyze how consumers will behave in certain situations. Once you understand consumer behavior, you can develop strategies to engage your target market and boost revenue.
What is Online Behavior Tracking, and How Does It Work?
In the world of ecommerce, digital tracking of consumer behavior involves just about everything a customer does online: what websites and platforms they browse, their preferred payment option, their entire purchasing history, the ads they click and the ones they ignore, their location, the device they use to shop, and so on. Online behavior tracking gathers crucial information that can then be interpreted and leveraged to a company’s advantage in terms of marketing, product research, and customer service.
Why Is it Important for Your ECommerce?
Ecommerce businesses thrive on customer engagement, even long before they purchase anything. Tracking every point of interaction with a website (we’ve discussed how to track user activity on your website here), shopping platform, and social media account allows companies to observe three factors of online user activity: drivers, barriers, and hooks. Understanding these will lead to intelligent business decisions that will improve sales performance.
Drivers are the content that attracts traffic to your store, such as blog articles, social media posts, and ads. Observing and analyzing customer interaction with these drivers will show you which of your marketing efforts are leading to sales.
Barriers are factors that make your leads leave their customer journey. Identifying these pain points will help you eliminate them and encourage purchases at every turn.
Hooks are types of content that encourage leads to convert and spend money on products and services.
Identifying the drivers, barriers and hooks will help you understand your target market’s preferences. You can track your leads’ customer journey and observe which types of content will trigger a sale, what part of the process impedes the customer journey, and why customers do or do not convert.
Once you have this data, you can calibrate your strategies to improve customer experience, generate leads, and boost conversions.
There are four ways marketers can track consumers’ buying decisions and habits. These are the following:
Use ecommerce tracking apps and software.
Study the target market’s social media presence and habits.
Track in-store behavior and website visits.
Analyze the cross-channel or omnichannel behavior.
How to Use Consumer Behavior Tracking to Grow Your ECommerce
Consumer behavior tracking can help businesses understand consumer wants and needs and the best way to meet those demands. However, they need to know how to use the data they have gathered.
Ecommerce brands can use behavior tracking to identify when demand for a product increases. Studying seasonal trends and long-term purchasing patterns over a certain period can help you forecast production and personnel requirements to meet consumer demand.
Online behavior tracking is also crucial for brands to create targeted advertising and digital marketing campaigns for a specific market segment. Social media marketing will likely lead to conversions for younger consumers, while email marketing can target another demographic that responds more to this type of advertising than any other channel.
Brands can also improve the quality of their customer service at every step of the marketing and sales funnel. Consumer behavior tracking provides insights into what serves customers best and what type of service they find valuable during certain parts of the sales journey. Marketers and customer service teams alike can predict the kind of support their target expects, so they can deliver them and nurture these leads.
Seven Ways to Track the Behavior of Consumers Online and Collect Data
Online consumer behavior tracking or digital tracking includes data about what customers buy on ecommerce sites, what sites and products they browse, and what their online profiles reveal about them, such as their interests and views.
Online tracking gives companies several insights into how consumers engage with the product and its competitors.
The business landscape is ever-changing, but the same technology that is driving those changes is also helping businesses track their target market’s online behavior.
Marketers now have many tools at their disposal to gather data that will help them provide better experiences, encourage customer loyalty, and generate continuous revenue.
There are different ways to approach data collection. Traditionally, marketers used surveys, interviews, and focus groups to track and assess customer behavior. These days, digital tools can monitor social media sites, websites, email subscriptions, online transactions, and web traffic.
These apps and platforms use AI and data analytics for data mining and analysis to help marketers design campaigns and create relevant content that would successfully reach their target market and sales revenue goals. The insights they glean from such tools are valuable for their next campaign.
Here are seven ways you can track consumer behavior online:
1. Review Customer Feedback
Customer feedback will help you engage with customers and understand what motivates and frustrates them at specific touchpoints. Product reviews, social media comments, and even direct messages from your customers are valuable data points that you must consider.
If you want a more in-depth understanding of your target market, conduct an online survey to get feedback about your products and your brand. These surveys will show you exactly what customers respond to and how you can improve your products or services.
2. Use Analytics
Artificial intelligence (AI) and quantitative analysis are now vital tools for understanding consumer behavior. Analytics can help study patterns and trends that affect customer behavior, such as customer health score, satisfaction scores, first-time conversions, and transaction frequency. Using analytics can help you plan your strategy and become proactive in your marketing efforts.
This data can tell you if you need to include certain processes or relevant information on your website, what kind of customer service will most help your target audience, and even whether you need additional personnel during certain times of the year when you expect high volumes of orders and traffic.
Verfacto is one example of software that helps marketers with analytics. It combines data sources to create real-time customer profiling and connect you to individual users through sessions on any platform or channel. You only need to install the ecommerce plugin, and it will automatically collect and analyze the right data you need.
PS: if you want to learn more about profiling, check out this article with the best customer profiling tools!
3. Explore Community Forums
You can create a community forum for your brand as a form of customer service. This can lead to another benefit of building camaraderie within your target audience, providing a sense of belonging, which could then encourage brand loyalty. It can become a place where industry experts share knowledge.
Helping consumers through communication and first-hand interaction can also be a very effective lead generator.
4. Explore Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing focuses on customer behavior across different channels to link all online interactions to streamline the customer journey. Messaging must be constant regardless of where these customer touchpoints take place.
Use email to connect your subscribers to promotions and new updates on your website. Social media posts will show you who clicks your links and what kind of content triggers sales.
Omnichannel marketing will give you a better picture of who your target audience is and all the ways you can calibrate your marketing strategy to engage them.
5. Use Google Surveys
You can survey old and new customers within a specified segment of your audience. Google Analytics can add a layer of questions that marketers find valuable, and along with pre-existing demographics data, you can assess your customer’s digital behavior and plan your subsequent campaigns.
6. Use QR Codes
QR codes have become ubiquitous tools in ecommerce digital marketing campaigns. Companies can link consumers to a specific product and track their transaction history and frequency of purchase. You can capture this critical data and see if the customer visits your website or responds to your social media posts and ads.
Encourage your customer base to use QR codes through incentives such as discounts, sale promos, and even free products and delivery services. Doing this will give you a more profound understanding of their purchasing behavior and which situations trigger conversion or sales.
7. Optimize Your Keywords
Search engine optimization (SEO) is still one of the best ways to increase online traffic and site ranking. Choosing the right keywords to use on your web pages is a great way to determine what your market is looking for on search engines. This knowledge can improve your site’s ranking and give your target audience exactly what they’re looking for.
Tracking consumer behavior online is a crucial factor that should inform a brand’s digital marketing campaigns and customer service efforts. If you want to engage your target market, you must know all about their preferences, shopping habits, what types of content will trigger a sale, and many other vital details.
Data collection and analytics regarding consumer behavior can have a tremendous impact on your ecommerce success.