It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume nearly every retailer would like to get inside the heads of their customers. And while mind-melding may still be the stuff of science fiction, it is possible to understand what your customers are thinking—if you ask the right questions. Continuous user research enables companies to get insider information about what their customers—and their competitor’s customers—want and need from their experience with a brand. If you’re conducting user research (hint: you should be!) then focus on these 27 questions every retailer should ask their customers at different stages of the customer journey to better understand the hearts and minds of your customers.
Branding and discovery
How your customers find you is just as important as what they purchase from you. Whether customers discover your company through word of mouth, social media, or even print advertising, it’s important to understand how they learn about your brand—and what they think of it.
- What devices do you use for shopping?
- Do you use social media to learn more about brands or products? If so, what platforms do you use?
- What’s your first impression of this site or app?
- How did you discover this site or app?
- Why did you visit this site or app?
- What do you think about [your company’s industry]?
- Do you trust the site or app? Why or why not?
- How will you use the product you’re searching for?
- Would you make a purchase on this site or app? Why or why not?
- If applicable, what competing sites or apps would you visit to comparison shop?
Searching and navigation
Making sure customers can easily find what they’re looking for when they get to your site or app is an important step.
- Are you able to easily find the item you’re searching for? Why or why not?
- Are you able to navigate the site or app? Why or why not?
- Are the site or app’s product categories helpful to your search? Why or why not?
- Try finding [a different product your company sells] without using the search bar. Were you able to successfully find it?
- Try using the search bar to find [a product your company sells]. Were you able to successfully find it?
Purchases, shopping cart, and shipping
- How does price impact your purchasing decision?
- Where do you go to compare prices and products?
- Are you able to find your shopping cart?
- Between the options of having your purchase shipped, or available to pick up in store, which do you prefer, and why?
- Are you able to find shipping information?
- Do you understand shipping information (if applicable)?
- What’s your ideal shipping time for a typical online or app purchase?
- Are you able to find information about returns and exchanges?
- How do you feel about the return and exchange policy?
Customer service and post-purchase
- What’s the first thing you look for after receiving an order you placed online or through an app?
- Do you feel you have enough information to follow up with customer service after a purchase has been made?
- Do you know who to contact if you have questions or concerns about your order?
Whether you’re working with loyal customers or folks just getting to know your brand, their impression of their experience with you is an important component to maintaining and growing those relationships—and their shopping carts. By asking real customers questions like these on a regular basis, you’ll ensure your site or app is not just meeting, but exceeding their shopping expectations.
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