4 Market Research Tips to Boost Online Sales During COVID-19

As the times change, and more and more customers visit websites to purchase products and services, market research can set you up for success. It’s likely each day, each week, and each month your website is drawing more and more customers in for online sales as customers become more and more comfortable with making purchases from your website.

In some cases, like COVID-19, consumers may not have any choice. When it comes to purchasing behavior, the more you know about the customer, the better chance you have at strengthening your sales in both the short-term and long-term.

Although there are many different types of studies our eCommerce market research company could offer, we highlight four below. The highlighted studies are a mix of both qualitative and quantitative studies which all focus on improving your eCommerce website. 

Read more about (1) website user experience (UX) research, (2) follow-up purchase surveys, (3) buyer segmentation and personas, and (4) mobile ethnography below.

boost online sales covid-19

As the times change, and more and more customers visit websites to purchase products and services, market research can set you up for success. Here are 4 market research tips to help boost online sales during Covid-19.


Tip 1: Website User Experience (UX) Research

With likely a flood of existing and new customers coming to your website to research and make a purchase, now is the time to ensure your website is easy to navigate, offers what users are looking for, and helps promote next steps in the path to purchase.

If your website is not operating at 100%, it’s a lot like running a grand opening sale and the front door is busted.

Particularly if you continue to run marketing campaigns. All of these marketing campaigns intend to push traffic to your website to make a purchase. Poor UX or issues with service on the website could result in a significant amount of lost sales. Advertising includes:

  • Pay-per-click: paid advertisements result in clicks to landing pages on your website.
  • SEO: organic search results in traffic to specific pages on your website.
  • Social media advertising: using advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, etc. to draw visitors.
  • Television advertising: although this is offline, it builds awareness which often transitions online.
  • Other(s): no matter the source, it will likely result in traffic to your website.

User experience (UX) market research provides the answers.

What is involved in a UX market research project?

A traditional UX interview project involves a moderator and participant. Participants, which could include current customers, potential customers, or non-customers, are recruited to take part in a live interview while they browse your website.

Participants are first screened to ensure they qualify based on the criteria determined for the study. After they qualify they are scheduled for an interview with a team member from Drive Research.

For our eCommerce market research company, the interview is scheduled via Google Hangouts. The participant signs-in at the date and time and is joined by a moderator.

The moderator has a pre-scripted list of questions to ask the participant about:

  • His or her decision-making process
  • Competition
  • How they typically arrive at the website
  • What they are most satisfied with 
  • What areas of the website can be improved 

Then the moderator asks the participant to browse the site and think out loud while the moderator asks follow-up questions. This interaction is live.

At the conclusion of the UX interviews, the Drive Research team puts together a full report with recommendations from the interviews. Our consultant team provides actionable changes to the website to boost conversion rates and increase sales.

The UX market research identifies major issues with the site and offers actionable recommendations to improve. It ensures your website is running smoothly and all current and potential customers stand the strongest chance of making a purchase.

Learn more about pairing your web analytics with user experience research.


Tip 2: Follow-up Purchase Surveys

There is a good chance that if your business offers online sales or eCommerce, many of your customers are making that transition more than ever in these different times. As a result, the volume of transactions has likely increased significantly recently.

This results in more sales on the website and more shipments and more customer service experiences. With the increased volume and sales, your organization should make sure you are meeting all customer expectations.

These are some example questions of what can be covered in a follow-up transactional survey.

  • How satisfied was the customer with the product? 
  • How satisfied were they with the customer service? 
  • How satisfied are your customers with the shipping process? 
  • Did the product arrive on-time? 
  • Was the product described accurately on the website?

Value add: Increase positive online reviews by integrating online reputation management

A nice value-added benefit to the follow-up eCommerce purchase surveys is the ability to integrate online reputation management (ORM). At the end of the follow-up survey, the customer can be redirected to your Google rating or Facebook rating page to leave a positive rating.

Skip patterns can be developed in the survey by our Drive Research analyst to not route those customers who were less than satisfied to this rating page.

With the flood of customers going online, consumer reviews will be more important than ever before. People will likely research your brand and read the reviews. ORM can help boost your scores.

The follow-up surveys help you monitor the pulse of your growing eCommerce and online sales business when volume and transactions begin to uptick rapidly. In the past, it might have been easier to get a handle on these cases but when online sales double or triple it is important to streamline and scale these invites so you can continue to monitor the cases through a formal survey process.

Learn more about the power of online reputation management with a market research company in this 60-second video.


Tip 3: Buyer Segmentation and Personas

There is a strong chance your website is now attracting an entirely new demographic or segment of customers. Particularly those who may have purchased solely from your brick and mortar store before who are now transitioning online.

These customers may have no other choice now but to purchase your products or services online if your store-front shuts down. Segmentation market research is an excellent way to understand the ins and outs of your customers including all demographics, characteristics, and buying behaviors.

Our eCommerce market research company uses your database of customers as a starting point. We request an Excel or CSV file of your customer addresses. This file is then mapped using our third-party resources to create segments and clusters of customers.

Our segmentation market research company provides a wealth of information on your customers who purchase from your website including breakdowns of your customer base by:

  • Geography
  • Urbanicity
  • Ages
  • Genders
  • Marital status
  • Incomes
  • Education
  • Household make-up
  • Tenure in a household
  • Home value
  • Top interests
  • Branded PersonicX® clusters.

Drive Research will provide full breakdowns and profiles of your online customers. Example segments might include Golden Years, Early Achievers, Urban Wealth, Penny-wise Parents, or Born Digitals.


Tip 4: Mobile Ethnography

Mobile ethnography is the fourth and final suggestion from our eCommerce market research company. This is an excellent tool to simply watch or observe customers who use your website via a mobile device, tablet, or laptop.

The respondents are sent a link as part of an activity that involves visiting your website. As part of the mobile ethnography project, our market research firm sets up activities.

  1. Activity 1 might be to find Product ABC and add it to your cart.
  2. Activity 2 might be to find out how to ask a question about Product XYZ.

As part of the mobile ethnography project your customers browse the site and answer these questions while our analyst team watches. The videos are also made available for your team.

These videos are analyzed at the conclusion of the project and a report is created with recommendations to improve your site. The benefit of mobile ethnography over UX interviews is the process is more natural since there is no facilitator interrupting live and asking questions.

However, when a facilitator is present it does offer the ability to gather more detail and context. There are pros and cons to each approach.


Contact Our eCommerce Market Research Company

Drive Research works with brands and organizations all across North America. Our eCommerce market research company has helped guide some of the biggest brands in the retail space including Amazon. Learn about how you can leverage our expertise for your business.

Have questions? Need a quote? Need a proposal? Contact us below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com (we'll respond quickly)
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

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