How to find your target customer in 2021

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Identifying and understanding your target audience is the first step towards more sales


Do you know who your target customer is? According to retail strategist Debra Templar any retailer without a clear understanding of their target consumer is “flying blind”.


And while you might be hoping to simply woo anyone who enters your store, Templar says a successful retailer can’t be all things to everyone.


Here’s how to pinpoint your ideal customer, in order to get the right people through the door (or into your online store).


Research existing customers


How well do you know your existing customers? Understanding who’s already buying your products or services offers important clues about who to target next – and where to place any advertising.


Mellissah Smith, founder of Marketing Eye, says there are plenty of ways to better understand your audience.


“If you have an e-commerce site for your retail store, it’s easier to understand who your customer is by using a technology plug or simply HubSpot, Preezie or any other automated tool that collects customer insights,” she says.


You could also comb through social media data; Facebook and Instagram analytics, for example, offer information about followers’ ages, gender and location.


Go in-depth


Once you’ve gathered basic information about your existing customers, start crafting a more detailed “target persona”, taking into account age, buyer habits, geographic location, occupation and income. “The next level is capturing their online habits, likes and dislikes – which is where the fun in getting to know your customer really is,” says Smith.


Often the life stage of your customers, and their interests, can be more important than targeting a specific age group, explains Templar.


Are they single or married, do they have young kids, teenagers? What do they do for fun?


“For example, don’t ever send anything to me about babies and children – I don’t have any, I’m not interested,” says Templar. “But if you send me something about books or stuff I’m interested in, I’m going to open it.”


Focus groups and customer surveys can help uncover this type of information, and if you do want to know your customers’ ages, a birthday club – including a discount – is one way to find out, says retailer Carly Flecknoe.


Consider your product and price point


 When Flecknoe opened her high-end fashion, skincare and lifestyle store, Dot and Frankie, in the Grampians last March, she already had an ideal customer in mind.


She wanted to work with ethical, sustainable brands, and knew that because she was opening in a tourism destination focused on nature, her customers would probably care about the environment.


While an 18-year-old might share her ethos, it is unlikely they’d have the money to spend, say, $380, on a pair of pants made through slow fashion. So, Flecknoe targets educated professionals.


“I would say my target customer would be women aged probably about 28 through to 45, generally Melbourne-based, or from an affluent rural background,” she says.


“It’s what we would classify as SINK, which is single income no kids, or they’re double income no kids, so you tend to look at someone who individually is probably making about $80,000 or $90,000-plus.”

And she has used this information to decide on everything from website design to the aesthetic of her store.


Don’t forget COVID-19


Smith warns that the global pandemic has upended many shoppers’ habits – and, as a result, retailers should consider revisiting their customer personas.


Templar gives the example of one shopping strip that effectively targeted its marketing to reach locals within 15 kilometres.

“This is the year to really concentrate, I think, on local, on your state, on your country because that’s who your market has to be,” she says.

Larissa Ham is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Age.


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