A Step-by-Step Guide to Defining and Targeting Your eCommerce Target Audience


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Your target audience is the backbone of your marketing strategy, influencing everything from the design and pricing of your product to where ads are displayed. Your goal is to create an optimized experience that appeals specifically to these customers.

The more accurately you appeal to your target audience, the more relevant traffic and high-value customers you’ll bring to your eCommerce website. But how do you go about identifying your target audience in the first place?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to defining and targeting the right eCommerce audience to increase high-value customers, traffic, and sales.

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1. Defining Your Target Audience

While there are many groups of people who will benefit from your product, identify the one that most needs what you’re selling. These are the customers who’ll repeatedly engage with your brand and purchase your product.

Here are some steps you can take to find them.

Know Your Product Well

If you’re just starting out with a new product, you might have to make initial assumptions about your audience. This will save you a considerable amount of money and time by ensuring you target the right demographic during market research.

It will also help you pitch your product to the right niche as you’ll have a better idea of the pain points it addresses.

The more you know about your product, the better. What problem does it solve? What desire does it fulfill? What’s your unique selling point?

Analyze Your Current Customer Base

If you’re already bringing in paying customers, performing customer analysis is one of the easiest ways to gain insight into your target audience.

There are plenty of customer analytics tools you can use to gather demographic information and behavior data, which will be incredibly useful when it comes to categorizing your audience later on.

Conduct Surveys

Surveys and feedback forms are an invaluable tool for gathering customer research. They allow you to delve into your customers’ thoughts about a product and gather more specific demographic and psychographic information.

If you’re conducting marketing research, ask potential customers whether or not they
would buy your product and their reasons why. Make sure questions are open-ended and don’t forget to ask their age, profession, salary, hobbies, and anything else that might influence their decision to purchase.

You can also survey existing customers. It’s a good idea to do this as close as you can to their engagement, as this is when your product/brand will be freshest in their mind.

For example, along with your sales order documents, you might send a thank you email and ask why they chose your product over another brand. For customers who’ve recently received their product, you could ask how it’s benefited their lives and if there’s anything they’d change about it.

These answers can provide useful insights into your strengths, as well as any pain points you might have missed.

Perform Competitor Analysis

Investigate who your competitors are selling to and how they market their products too. Which platforms do they use? What are their highest-performing keywords? What does your product offer that their product doesn’t?

2. Categorizing Your Audience

After completing the above tasks, you should be able to accurately define potential customers. If you’re selling dresses, for example, you might have discovered your target audience is women between the ages of 20-30 who want budget-friendly going-out outfits.

Now, it’s time to get a little more specific and identify the segments your target audience consists of. Why? Because categorizing can help you create customer personas – semi-fictional customer models that help you delve deeper into your audience’s motivations, desires, and needs. This can be a huge help when it comes to personalizing your marketing campaigns.

You can categorize your target audience using demographics and psychographics. Demographics are things like age, gender, income, location, and marital status. Psychographics relate to things like attitudes, hobbies, personality types, etc.

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3. Reaching Your Audience

Now you’ve defined and categorized your target audience, you need to take the appropriate steps to reach them. Here are some tips on how to do this.

Get to Grips With Social Media Optimization

Growing an online following should be a top priority for your eCommerce brand, so be sure to focus on the social media platforms your target audience frequents. For example, if you’re running an eCommerce fashion store, you might invest heavily in Instagram. If you’re selling laptops to working professionals, you’d perhaps focus more on LinkedIn.

To reach your target audience, you need to be operating in the same circles. From there, utilize your best social media eCommerce skills by optimizing your profile and posts with relevant, high-traffic keywords and hashtags.

Speak Your Customers’ Language

The language you use in your content marketing, from landing pages to social media posts, should mirror the tone and voice of your target audience.

The more you understand them, the more naturally you’ll be able to achieve this. An IT company selling software to businesses might be more technical in their sales language, whereas a company targeting students would take a straightforward, informal approach. It’s all about attracting your audience’s attention with copy that resonates.

There are plenty of tricks to speak your customers’ language, but the main one to remember is you should communicate with them in the same way they communicate with each other. Drop the jargon, edit out those fancy sentences, and be as authentic and personable as you can.


Hopefully, you’re now able to define and reach your target audience. While this knowledge is integral to your marketing strategy, always remember consumer needs change frequently.

It’s normal for your target audience to shift and expand as the market changes. Just as you use continuous integration and delivery to update front-end interfaces in response to how customers use them, you should consistently undertake market research and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Getting your target audience wrong can cost you a significant amount of time and money, so the more comprehensive your understanding of them, the better your chances of eCommerce success.

What are you waiting for? Get to grips with your target audience today!

Nick Shaw
Nick Shaw has been Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Brightpearl, the number one retail-focused digital operations platform which encompasses sales, accounting, logistics, CRM and more, since July 2019 and is responsible for EMEA Sales, Global Marketing and Alliances. Before joining Brightpearl, Nick was GM and Vice President of the EMEA Consumer business at Symantec and was responsible for a $500m revenue business.


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