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This content is taken from the RMIT University's online course, Online Business: Customer Profiling for Success. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds It’s hard to profile and see who is your audience. And I think that is probably the biggest goal. And if we knew 100% of who’s going to like these products then things would be much easier. It really did start with myself. What do I like and then what would other people like.

Skip to 0 minutes and 35 seconds So when we’re thinking of customers, we think of their lifestyle and their habits, I guess. And how they’re going to use the products that we’re selling. We sell streetwear. But some of the streetwear is geared toward skateboarding. And some of it’s geared towards, let’s say, basketball. I know that will go with that kind of lifestyle.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds We definitely have to try and think about the customer. And where and how they would use the product and if it’s practical. Some things look amazing, but no one’s going to wear it, you know? [CHUCKLING]

Skip to 1 minute and 14 seconds Understanding the customers and their buying behaviour is critical to how we evolve this business. When I first started, I was actually a customer, myself, of overseas online car part retailers. So I had a real picture in my mind of the sort of are there people out there like me? A lot of the time a customer doesn’t want to be buying a car part, but they rely on their car. It’s broken down. They love these cars. They want to keep them going, and keep them going as well as they possibly can. But they want to do it as cheaply as possible. Our target customer is people who need parts. So they’re planning a job, they know that they’re doing this service.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 seconds So it’s really important to understand what sort of brands they’re looking for. And what sort of parts are going wrong on their cars that they need to replace. Also understanding how they like the information to be presented to them. So it’s convenient. Understanding our customer is so important to online business. To understand them, we know how we should evolve, how our business should change to accommodate what they’re wanting. Focusing with people that are online and are passionate about what they’re buying definitely makes it a lot easier.

Profiling your market

Profiling is the task of identifying characteristics of your customer or consumer. To keep it easy, think about profiling in terms of what your customer or consumer will ‘think, feel and do’.

Ultimately, profiling will help you understand the customer or consumer, their behaviours and how they will respond to marketing activities such as promotions, product offering, price and where they purchase.

It is important at this early stage to establish a definition of customer and consumer. When searching online for information, you may come across the terms ‘customer’ and ‘consumer’ being used interchangeably.

In this course the customer is defined as the person who purchases the product or service, and the consumer is the person who consumes it.

Whilst the meaning of customer is clear - they buy the goods - sometimes the meaning of consumer can be confusing. A consumer can be both the purchaser and consumer of the product or service.

We will leave it up to you to determine whether you are targeting a customer or the consumer of your products or services.

Why profiling is important

Profiling is about understanding who your customers are (or could be); and how they are likely to interact with your products or services.

Once you’ve understood who this group is, you can then apply segmentation. Segmentation is the breaking down of all the customers within the population into smaller groups, known as segments.

When profiling, it helps to identify the best group that will assist you in capturing the greatest opportunities to connect with the right people and ultimately sell your products or services online.

Understanding the profile of your customer allows you to adjust your marketing ideas and to better engage them by developing the right product, making it available at the right place, determining the right price to ask them to pay, and communicating the right messages to bring about a response to purchase.

When done right, profiling helps you:

  • Provide better customer value and satisfaction
  • Build longer term relationships with your customers and consumers, and
  • Retain customers and keep them coming back to purchase from your site

Profile your customers to understand and target those who value what you have on offer and to attract them to visit and buy from your site time and time again.

Remember, it is difficult to be all things to all people. When used together, profiling and segmentation allow you to generate better business plans and marketing plans and increase the likelihood of business success.


Being clear about your offering; and knowing who is going to value your offering the most, is critical to the success of selling your products or services online.

Do you know what makes your product or service stand out from the competition? What sort of person is going to buy from your site?

Take a read of the article below by Experian, ‘The art of Customer Profiling’

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This video is from the free online course:

Online Business: Customer Profiling for Success

RMIT University