Three Ways to Use Surveys to Increase Ecommerce Sales

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The survey is a staple in our society and dates all the way back to 1824, when it was first used to gauge the public’s interest for the upcoming presidential election. Since then, surveys have been used to perform research, measure the efficacy of certain people, and gauge levels of customer satisfaction. The last one there in particular is most relevant to ecommerce. Surveys provide key pieces of information that can reveal a lot about the customer experience with your store. As a result, you can incorporate feedback into your store’s operations and improve them, ultimately netting you a better brand and sales figures.

The Art of Survey Creation

The first thing you need to do before sending out customer surveys is choosing a platform that works best for you. There are a lot of options out there, so you have time to research and weigh in on each one. Try to find a survey system that can cater to your strengths and size. For instance, you don’t want to be stuck with a program designed for multi-national enterprises if you’re still in startup mode. You can also take a look at platforms’ design templates to see if their motifs and colors mesh with your brand.

Once you have your survey program chosen, you now have to create survey content. Typically, you want to remain as brief as possible when you send a survey out. You need to create a concise title line that tells the customer what the survey is all about. For the questions themselves, try to make surveys doable in under 10 minutes. You want customers to remain sharp and focused so that their feedback is on-point. If you make things too long and daunting, they will likely abandon the survey midway or be distracted by other things.

Think about other ways you can motivate people into filling out your questionnaires. Contemplate adding a contest or coupon to each survey so you can build your response bank faster. The more answers you have, the more accurate your data will be. After all, if you work with a small sample size, the aggregate will be skewed a certain inaccurate direction.

Finding out Which Products the Customers Want

Using online surveys is an easy way to gauge what types of goods best resonate with your audience. You can use this data to steer the direction of your product line or find new offerings that may entice people. From a Google Consumer Surveys case study, online pet toy store PrideBites was able to use surveys to identify key traits pet owners look out for when purchasing toys. The distributed survey contained nine questions detailing mean expected pet toy cost, important features for a toy, and typical ways a toy is used.

After the survey went out and thousands of replies came in, PrideBites took a look at all the data and began to offer more products that would satisfy customers’ desires and expectations. For instance, the company learned that owners do not usually play with dogs in the water. As a result, waterproof features were no longer prioritized. Additionally, survey results showed that people expected the average toy to linger around the $10 price range. You can theoretically apply this piece of information to your product line by deemphasizing premiere, luxury goods. Lastly, PrideBites found out that durability was by far (41.7%) the most sought-after feature in a toy. The company had known from general statistics about durability already but not to this extent. Needless to say, rubber toys began to populate the ecommerce store more.

Eliminating Problems before They Appear Again

From a Key Survey case study involving National Dodge, some Dodge dealerships automatically sent out online surveys to customers as soon as purchases fully went through. These dealerships wanted to know if the car buying process was as smooth as possible for people and asked the appropriate questions. How were waiting times? What did you think about our prices? Was the delivery seamless? What National Dodge ultimately built was a customer visit profile that showed the strengths and weaknesses of each Dodge dealership.

You can apply this strategy to ecommerce by sending out questions that talk about the online purchasing experience. Instead of asking about pricing, have your customers weigh in on how well your site loads and processes transactions. Site optimization is actually an important aspect of your store since long load times are notorious for making people abandon their carts. If you ask about the quality of customer service, you can find which agents perform the best and use them during high leverage opportunities. You can also get customers to critique your mobile site and see which features work the best from a mobile device. What you ask your customer is entirely up to you, and if you’re looking to focus on identifying specific weaknesses, surveys are a great tool.

Market Intelligence on the Cheap

If you run a small online store, chances are that you don’t have the budget for a formal market research study. Online surveys can bridge this gap so you can have your finger on the market’s pulse. From another case study with Google Consumer Surveys, messenger bag vendor Timbuk2 sent out surveys asking about its brand perception. Customers were asked how they first encountered the Timbuk2 brand and general awareness about the store’s products. The company then took the data from these two questions and shifted marketing resources to areas where they have been most successful. Google Consumer Surveys in particular can sort out responses by a number of user-defined criteria, including age and gender. This is the way to go if you want to make a push towards a specific demographic.

You also have the opportunity to ask why customers stuck with your brand and not your competitors’. Doing this allows you to see the reasons behind customer loyalty. Answers for this could range from small things like pricing and word of mouth to much larger trends like shifts in the consumer mindset and larger marketplace. If it turns out that a customer uses your store because there are no other options out there, he or she will probably jump shift as soon as an alternative pops up. It’s important to know your net promoter score because the happier your customers are, the more likely they are going to send some referrals your way.


Online surveys are a great way to collect information from your customer base without having to spend a whole lot of money. You can easily find ways to improve your ecommerce operations, which types of products best resonate with your customers, and methods of improving the customer experience. You do need to put some time and effort into your survey efforts, though. Before you launch a survey campaign, try to outline some goals and find a survey platform that best suits your organization. From there, you need to develop insightful questions and a strategy to get people to actually submit answers. At the end of the day, surveys are a great way to let customers know you care about them and what you say matters.

Bogdan Rancea

Bogdan is a founding member of Inspired Mag, having accumulated almost 6 years of experience over this period. In his spare time he likes to study classical music and explore visual arts. He’s quite obsessed with fixies as well. He owns 5 already.

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