• Colin Lewis

This course is part of the Fundamentals of eCommerce ExpertTrack

Research and Prepare: Understand eCommerce Customers, Products, and Propositions

Explore how to research your target shopper, understand how they discover products on the digital shelf, and capture reviews.

Two people working in a clothes business
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 2 of 4
  • Get full ExpertTrack access

    $39/monthFind out more

Discover and target your audience for selling online

It’s difficult to create a successful eCommerce site if you don’t know who your customer is. Without understanding your target audience, you won’t know what will work and what won’t.

On this course, you’ll discover how to select, segment, and target your market through creating personas. This will help you adapt your eCommerce business and marketing to better suit your customer and increase conversions.

Build customer personas to create a great eCommerce experience

To truly know your target customer and understand their problems and perspective, you need to create a buyer or customer persona. This will give you a representation of your typical customer and encompasses important characteristics to help you adapt to their needs.

You’ll learn how to build customer personas, what content to write for them, and why they are useful tools for eCommerce. This will give you a foundation to start thinking about customer propositions.

Understand how your customers engage with your product

As part of this course, you’ll look at how your customers find, and then engage with, your eCommerce store.

This will take you through creating the structure of your website as well as tips for the layout and content of your pages, specifically your product pages.

Learn to utilise ratings and reviews to drive sales

The idea of social proof has been used in marketing for decades, providing potential customers with proof that others are happy with a product and service, and leading to more conversions.

You’ll finish this course by looking specifically at ratings and reviews, why they’re so important, and how you can build your value proposition by actively collecting them.


  • Week 1

    Discover your customers

    • Welcome to the course

      We are going to start Course 2 with one part of our 9Ps framework: 'People'. By 'people' we mean our target customer segment. We are going to describe this ideal customer this week using a tool called 'customer personas'.

    • Select, segment and target customers

      All businesses must focus their efforts on a specific set of customers - not just anyone. This activity shows us how to select, segment and target customers.

    • Introduction to customer personas

      We need our customer segments but we also need to understand our customers deeply to know who they really are and what problems we are trying to solve for them. That's why we create 'customer personas'.

    • How to create a customer persona

      Now that you are excited about customer personas and why they are important, use your creativity to flesh out customer personas for your eCommerce business.

    • Weekly wrap up

      We have learnt about one of the 9Ps this week - 'People'. Customer segments help to know the size and shape of our target market while customer personas help us to understand their emotional and behavioural likes and dislikes.

  • Week 2

    Winning on the 'digital shelf'

    • Welcome to Week 2

      The 'digital shelf' is how and where shoppers engage with an eCommerce store. This week we are diving into the details of it and exploring how to get customers to buy from your store. Let's call it 'winning on the digital shelf'!

    • How customers browse, discover and purchase products

      To be successful in eCommerce, we need to help customers find, discover and pay for our products. We are going to use the idea of the 'digital shelf'' to explain everything you need to do to capture a sale.

    • How shoppers discover and engage with your homepage

      The homepage is the main ‘page’ of your eCommerce store – think of it as the entrance to your shop. To ensure our products make their way into shoppers’ online baskets, you will need to follow homepage best practice.

    • How shoppers discover and engage with category pages

      Category pages are like the store aisles in a high street shop – rows of digital shelves. To ensure our products make their way into shoppers’ online baskets, you will need to follow category pages best practice.

    • How shoppers discover and engage with product pages

      A product page is where a customer is presented with product they want. Just like when you pick up a product in a shop, the product page is where potential consumers make up their mind whether to buy or not.

    • Creating great imagery

      A picture paints a thousand words. For eCommerce stores, visual content is made up of product images, supplementary images and product videos. Create and use them all if you can.

    • Weekly wrap up

      The digital shelf is the collection of diverse digital touchpoints used by shoppers to engage with your eCommerce store to discover, research, and purchase products. This week we learnt the best practice for the digital shelf.

  • Week 3

    Customer propositions and the role of ratings and reviews

    • Welcome to Week 3

      This week we are talking about 'P' for 'Proposition'. Fundamental to the success of any eCommerce store is the online value proposition of the store and the role of ratings and reviews.

    • Value propositions: why should anyone buy from you?

      Value propositions are a fundamental part of persuading customers to buy from us. If there are endless options to choose from, shoppers should know what makes our store so special - so that they choose us!

    • The importance of ratings and reviews

      Shoppers are leaving more reviews and rating more products more than ever before. Good ratings and reviews increase your sales and profits and drive eCommerce store loyalty.

    • How to collect ratings and reviews

      Rating and reviews are the primary feature shoppers rely on to make informed purchase decisions, more so than product page descriptions, visuals or advertising. Having an active strategy to collect ratings and rating is paramount.

    • Course wrap up

      Thinking through your customer value proposition is about telling a potential customer why they should buy from you. Ratings and reviews are about existing customers telling prospective shoppers why they should choose you.

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore your customer, customer segments and their real needs
  • Demonstrate how to plan advertising and marketing spend
  • Improve your decision making, making better, cheaper and more effective decisions around marketing your eCommerce store
  • Evaluate where your customers spend their time
  • Produce persona-specific content that really speaks to your customers.

Who is the course for?

This course has been designed for anyone responsible for eCommerce in their organisation. If you’re new to the role, this is a great course to develop your expertise.

It’s also a good opportunity to upgrade your skills if you’re a small business owner looking to develop the eCommerce channel in your business.

Who developed the course?

Colin Lewis

Multi-award-winning author, speaker, investor and eCommerce expert, Colin has over 25 years of hands-on international marketing experience. An adviser and active investor in eCommerce, Colin ran his first eCommerce site in 2006 and been teaching eCommerce since 2011.

About this ExpertTrack

Whether you’re starting up or scaling up, discover the strategies, tactics, tools, and platforms to grow your eCommerce business.

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