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How to create a customer persona

Learn how to create a customer persona.
A person holding a coffee cup with digital symbols in front of them indicating money, car, medical, phone and internet.

As we started to explore in the previous steps, a customer persona is a fictional profile of a typical customer or a cluster of customers who exhibit similar patterns relating to what they buy and how they live. Customer personas help drive content, messaging, product choice and product pricing.

So, how do we actually create a customer persona?

If you have lots of budget and have an existing business, you can conduct interviews directly with a targeted audience or customer. Most of us don’t. We might be earlier in our eCommerce journey, so we will have to use ‘best guesses’ and aim to be as objective as possible.

What does a customer persona look like? Here is an example of one:

Customer persona template: showing the characteristics of Freya including likes, dislikes, employment, education and interests(Click to expand)

This is an example of a customer persona.

So, to start creating an idea in your mind as to who your customers are, use the following six steps.

Create a sketch: a rough idea or a template of who your ideal customer might be.

  1. Answer a question: who do I want to attract to my eCommerce store? to give you a starting point.
  2. Product: examine the sort of product you are selling – or will sell. Who normally buys this product?
  3. Motivation: try to understand the motivation behind a customer buying your product.
  4. Roles: you may have two personas. For example, if your product is a gift, like jewellery or flowers, there might be two buyer personas – one for the gift-giver and one for the gift-receiver.
  5. Competitors: envisage who your competitors are and use a tool such as Similarweb to analyse the traffic on the competitor’s website to get an idea of where their site traffic is coming from and other useful data. Reverse-engineer the competitor personas based on this traffic to aid the personas you are creating for your business.
  6. Simple research: if you have an existing website with an email database, use a simple tool such as SurveyMonkey and send them an email with a (short) simple questionnaire containing questions such as:
    a) Age/location/gender – use approximates: age ranges and rough locations are enough
    b) Why did you choose our eCommerce store (leave this open-ended for an answer)
    c) What concerns did you have before deciding to buy our product?
    d) What would you also like us to sell?

Yes, you might be saying, I don’t know the product and I don’t have a product. That may be true, but you are in business when you have a customer, not when you have a product – the product comes second, the customer comes first.

Spend time thinking through who you think the customer will be and start applying it now to create a full ‘technicolour’ description of who you want to target. Be as vivid as you can.

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

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