Let’s face it, the more information you can have about your customers, the better you can target the types of products they want and need directly to them. There are even companies that make millions of dollars per year just offering this type of service to retailers and other small businesses. However, though your customers should actually appreciate being offered products based on their personal preference, many of them don’t see it this way at all.In recent polling and research studies, it was discovered that an overwhelming number of customers have little to no interest in businesses having any personal information about them. In fact, over one-third of all consumers won’t trust a business enough to give them their name, email address, or phone number in fear of having an endless barrage of spam or bogus newsletters inundating them on a daily basis; and who can really blame them?
What NOT to Ask
Since the idea of collecting zero information about your customers is probably not as good ideas either, we have comprised this list of facts and percentages regarding things like political affiliation or religion. If you are still not convinced of why you shouldn’t ask about certain personal views and information, take a look at the statistics below.
- 76% of respondents are unwilling to share their political persuasion.
- 71% won’t share their religious affiliation.
- 54% won’t tell you their ethnicity.
- 45% won’t share their sexual preference.
When looking at the list above, you can see that some questions are just way too personal to ask you customers. What’s worse is that nearly 25% of people don’t even want to share their credit card information with a business; which is very troubling since this I more and more becoming the most accepted type of payment used. So as a business owner, what are you to do?
What You CAN Collect
Fortunately, the most useful types of information about your customers have very little to do with their personal life choices or point of view and can be collected completely anonymously. By simply tracking what items you sell in your store, you can get a good pulse on what types of items trend and what doesn’t sell at all.
Additionally, you can use targeted marketing campaigns to collect purchasing habits of your customers. For instance, you can run a marketing campaign for two months that targets woman from ages thirty to forty and see what types of trends emerge in your sales data. Any significant changes can indicate products that particular age group and gender prefer, which subsequently can help you choose a better selection of products to gain a more diverse customer base.
Lastly, many of the items your store carries has likely had substantial market done on it already by the manufacturer. Make sure you ask your product reps about this type of research because it can help you choose items when you’re targeting certain demographics. Though you may not want to directly ask a customer for personal information, you can still obtain vital information that will help you sell more items without delving into their personal lives.