How to create buyer personas for your ecommerce business

How to create buyer personas for your ecommerce business

A buyer persona is a fictional character based on your ideal customer. Creating buyer personas is a way to bring your target audiences to life by giving them real names and identities.

For example, an online sportswear store might have three buyer personas:

  • Anna, a mother in her mid-30s shopping for her children’s sports gear.
  • Christopher, an energetic rugby player in his mid-20s who loves all sports.
  • Katie, a fashion-conscious gym-goer in her early 20s shopping for stylish activewear.

Creating buyer personas is a useful exercise because it forces you to clearly articulate your customer’s needs, challenges and desires. It’s an opportunity to get to know your customers better.

Here’s how to create buyer personas for ecommerce in two simple steps.

Step 1: Learn as much about your target audience as you can

The best buyer personas are based on sound research, not guesswork. Instead of speculating about what your customers want, ask them directly through interviews or surveys.

Collect basic information (such as age, gender, occupation), but also ask questions that will encourage them to think deeply about their shopping challenges.

Here are some good examples:

  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What do they read/watch/listen to?
  • What are their favourite shops/brands?
  • What do they need/want more of?
  • Who do they shop for (friends/family)?
  • What makes them happy?

Asking these types of questions will help you move beyond a superficial understanding of your customers, towards a deeper, more authentic understanding. It is this deep understanding that will help you get an edge over your competitors.

Step 2: Bring your buyer personas to life

Once you have collected information about your customers, the next step is to bring 3-5 personas to life.

To start, give your personas these 12 key attributes (you can add to this list if you wish):

  1. Name
  2. Age
  3. Gender
  4. Occupation
  5. Income
  6. Family
  7. Education
  8. Location
  9. Hobbies
  10. Goals
  11. Dreams
  12. Fears

Next, write a few short, succinct paragraphs describing each persona. Try to incorporate quotes from real-life customers here, based on people’s answers to the questions in Step 1.

The goal is to make your personas come across as fully formed characters – to resemble someone who could easily be a real person, not just a fictional character on a piece of paper.

When you’re happy with your buyer personas, share them with your staff. Print them out and stick them on the walls as a constant reminder of who you’re ‘talking to’ when you market your products.

It’s also a good idea to review your personas every year – they should evolve as your products evolve.

Tips for success

Now that you know how to create buyer personas, here are a few helpful tips to ensure their success.

  • Work with a small team of people (at least 3-4). You can create buyer personas on your own, but it’s easier (and more enjoyable) when part of a team effort.
  • Keep buyer personas confidential. They should be treated as internal documents. You don’t want them to fall into the hands of your competitors.
  • If you don’t get it right the first time, don’t worry – do some more research, ask your customers more questions and keep trying until you’re satisfied.

Most of all, enjoy the experience – it’s creative, interesting and will hopefully help you attract more buyers to your online store.

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