The main thought on every business owner’s head – what do my customers want to buy and how can I offer it to them in the best way? Understanding customer intent has always been the main purpose of every marketer to help them grow their sales.
In the offline stores, understanding the customer intent is easy. Imagine a woman entering the shop and directly walking towards the shoes sections. It is easy for the salesperson to understand what she is looking for and how to properly serve her.
In the online world, the behavior of this woman will be the same. After visiting the homepage of the e-shop, she will move directly to the shoes category page. Being able to record this intent in real-time, analyze it and take appropriate actions is what will keep this customer engaged with your e-shop. Moreover, it will help you understand easier future customers that will have similar behavior, and this will result in higher customer satisfaction.
What is user intent
User intent, or search intent is what the name implies. It states the desires or the goals of the user when entering a search term into a search engine or navigating in any e-shop.
Most of the businesses are basing their SEO strategy on user intent so that they end up among the first results in the search engines. If they manage that, they should be proud to say they know their customers.
However, there is also the intent of the user when they are already in your website and are willing to buy a product or just “looking around” for new products. In this case, it is important to understand in what kind of products the user is interested. Then you can offer the same suggestions and the same experience as the salesperson in the offline store would do by observing the customers.
User intent and user preference
User preference is a more generic way of understanding customer behavior. Every user has specific preferences and interests that drive their decisions. For example, a university student that prefers to get dressed in casual clothes will most likely prefer jeans and sports shoes. Their behavior online and intentions when shopping for clothes will be based on this preference.
However, at any time and for any reason the same student may intent to buy a suit. This intention may be one-off, but it is important to understand and even foresee this behavior too. At the end, the intention is the one that will get the click and not the general preference.
How you can understand your users’ intent
You don’t need to guess your users’ intent as they are already telling you what they want. They use your search bar; they visit product and category pages, and they add products to their wish list or basket.
Behind every search term and every page visit, there is user intent!
All you have to do is gather this data and analyze them in real time so that you can provide the user with the products they want and react to any intent in the best way possible. This way your customers will be satisfied and will return for more.
In order to do that, the new technologies are there to help you! Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence could be the ones that save the day. By gathering valuable information about the user behavior, fine-grated customer personas can be created to segment your customers and understand better which product each of them wants.
Why is it important for the e-shops
The purpose of each e-shop is to increase their sales. To do that, you need to keep your customers satisfied and happy. You need to show them you understand their needs and – why not – intent every time they visit your e-shop.
As mentioned above, this is easier to be done in the offline store. The salesperson is there to greet the customer, monitor their behavior in the store and eventually help them through their shopping experience.
Understanding user intent online can be trickier. You need to build the relationship with your users in real time in order to improve their experience and always be relevant so that they know you understand them.
De-coding user intent online can be the key to differentiate from your competitors.
Ok… I know their intent now. What’s next?
Use this knowledge to satisfy your customers while increasing the buying decisions in your favor! There are many ways to do that, for example:
You know what kind of product your customers intent on buying. Why not use this knowledge to show them product recommendations? This will help them make a quicker decision and save time.
With Reccodo’s personalized product recommendations you can show to your customers the products most relevant to them, based on their intent, needs and wishes. This is done by using the segmentation by customer personas that was mentioned above. A widget with recommended relevant products will appear on the page that the user visits to help him check alternative or even complementary products too.
While building your email marketing strategy there are normally two basic goals. First, you need to stand out from all the generic emails your customers receive daily in their inbox. Then, you have to keep them engaged with your emails. It is a challenge!
The best way to do that is to use all the data you have from them and treat them in a unique way. You can achieve this by sending emails relevant to their intent and preferences.
For example, you should not send email about offers in men clothing when the user is always checking girl dresses on your website. You need to understand beforehand what they like in general and what they may be interested in soon.
As mentioned in previous blog post, up to 30% of visitors to a website will use the search box during the shopping journey, and 43% will immediately use it after visiting the e-shop. You can understand then that the data from the search bar queries can be the best guide for your users’ intent!
With eCommerce search you can make sure to engage with your customers and keep them happy. If you already know their intent, there is no reason to show the same generic results to a search query to every customer. Show them the most relevant ones based on their specific needs. Not to mention that you can help them find a product easier with autocomplete, synonyms and fuzzy match features in your search bar!
You can easily check the keywords people use in their queries while also trying to understand the context behind those words. For example, whether the user is just looking for information about a product or really wants to make a transaction.
When you have this information, you should tailor the content of your website based on the user intent in order to be more successful in the search engines but also be relevant to the user and keep them happy by the result.
If you know what someone is looking for, you can deliver the right information at the right time to help them find what they need. This is what every user – and potential customer – needs.
Moreover, this also helps your business. By taking advantage of user intent knowledge, you can:
- Increase engagement rate
- Strengthen you positioning
- Improve your conversion rate
- Optimize the resources you invest in marketing
- Increase your sales
Of course, these cannot happen from one day to another. It needs a lot of planning and data analysis to have a good result. In case you are looking from somewhere to start already – let us know! In Reccodo, we can take over the data analysis for you in order to understand your customers and provide services that can keep them – and you – happy!
Understanding user intent can be the key to skyrocket your business. However, it can only help you if you use this information wisely and carefully.
There are many tools that can help you gather and analyze information about your users, including user intent, and can offer you value-added services on top of that. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel – take advantage of them to provide a great customer experience!
Business Development Manager at Reccodo