According to research made by Oracle, 86% of buyers would pay more for a better brand experience. At the same time, according to Salesforce, only 36% of buyers feel like retailers know them. So the main question is how to increase the number of users who find the website to be made for them, hence increasing their willingness to spend more.
Our answer is to do a user research and create user personas that would reveal the main opportunities. Since examples help understand the process better, in this article you can read about our experience when building user personas for a luxury clothing store in the USA.
Phase 1 — Demographics
When we started the CRO research we didn’t know much about the website’s target audience since the description of “luxury clothing company from the USA” can include many important details. The first step was to understand the basics and nothing is more basic than demographics.
By using Google Analytics data we found that the main transaction makers were men from USA. However, more interesting data was found when analysing the age of customers — about 65% of all transactions and more than 60% of revenue were made by gentlemen in the age group of 55–65+, which points to a different website using and purchase behaviour, when compared with younger audience i.e. in terms of knowledge of how to use specific functionalities.
User Behaviour by Age
Phase 2 — Purchase Behaviour
The next step was to find as much as possible related to purchase behaviour. So we started with a customer survey in order to understand where do they look for ideas and inspiration before making a purchase. And again, we were surprised that with an ability to choose more than one option the most popular choices were “Catalogs” and “Fashion Magazines”. In the same time, only 6% of respondents make purchases on catalogue released by the client while the majority of respondents make purchases on the website we did the research for.
Another valuable finding from the customer survey was that more than half of respondents make purchases on the website multiple times per month. Therefore, special attention should be paid to emphasize “New” collections or items and users should be able to find specific items and overlook categories without extra effort.
Finally, we wanted to understand how users consume products provided by the brand. By data of online orders was found that TOP 3 most bought products were shirts (1), jackets (2) and pants (3) which in total made almost 70% of all orders. Because of the high purchase data these categories can be used when planning monthly promotions, seasonal campaigns or deciding on category blocks on the homepage.
Phase 3 — Motivation and Concerns
After understanding the main characteristics of the website users and their interests, we wanted to find out more about the reasons why they are buying clothes exactly at this store and what are the main pain points that distract users from making a purchase. At this point, we read LiveChat transcripts, Surveymonkey post-purchase surveys, analysed User Interviews and Heatmaps, watched a lot of user session recordings and talked with Customer Service.
Our summary of findings revealed that there are 3 main reasons why customers prefer this store.
- They appreciate the style of clothes — it looks professional and fashionable, items are high-quality but still feel comfortable.
- The website allows users to easily find matching items and create a set, hence customers can look good without spending too much time on finding the perfect outfit.
- Many customers appreciate the ability to have a chat with fashion consultants to create personalized clothing or adjust items according to their sizes.
When analyzing the complaints and questions, we discovered three main pain points.
- The first one is worries about the item fit. Unlike when visiting a real-life clothing store, in an e-Commerce store users can’t touch the item, try it on and evaluate details e.g. colour.
- Users are worried about the delivery times. During user interviews a participant said that “I want to buy the item NOW”, hence the delivery policy should be clearly explained.
- Potential customers are worried about price-quality relationship. As this is a luxury store, the price level is high. Because of that users are worried if they’ll have any options to return an item and get their hard earned money back. This means that any information regarding the return policy should be easy to find.
Example of LiveChat Archive
Thanks to this information, we were able to divide two customer types to focus on when planning a user journey:
User Persona #1 who:
- cares about high-quality items
- pays attention to small details
- wants to wear an item today
- visits fashion consultants.
User Persona #2 who:
- is looking for sale items
- before making a purchase on the clients website will check other websites and department stores to find the best deal
- does not want to spend extra money on additional services.
Phase 4 — Other factors
In this phase, we prepared a summary of other factors that might affect purchase decisions but are not crucial when planning conversion rate improvements — what professions users have (customer survey), how they spend their free time (customer survey), how seasonality affects purchase behaviour (Google Analytics) and what customer characteristics can be found in social media (Instagram) e.g. how customers feel when they are wearing the brand and if there is a social proof that might affect buying decision.
Industries by Users
Final outcome — User Personas
The final step is to summarize all the insights. After user research, we had a clear understanding of what is the main target audience of the website, what users expect from the store, what motivates them and what stops them — a lot of helpful information to consider when planning website improvements. The next step was to plan the user journey but this already is a different case study.
Wireframe of final outcome — User Persona dashboard
Lessons to be learned
- Usually, when thinking about User Research, the main task is to create a fictional character with many details that would describe an actual customer. Therefore sometimes marketers might focus on finding as much information as possible instead of discovering the most important user journey changing details. That leads to distraction from actual motivation to play with or pain points to solve.
- Another detail to keep in mind is that fictional character should be built only because it is a way how to structure the findings in an easy-to-perceive manner. It does not describe an actual persona or customer. What’s more, when planning further activities marketers should not limit themselves with one type without taking into account that there might be exceptions or situations when the personas will overlap.
If you have other tips and tricks for building user personas share them with us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org!