January 7, 2020 | 5 minute read

5 Savvy Market Research Methods

Find your competitive edge and amplify your marketing efforts by better understanding your customers' wants, needs, and nuances.

Avatar image for Etsy Staff by Etsy Staff
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By making market research part of your regular routine, you can glean the meaningful insights you need to make informed, strategic decisions about your business, marketing, and products. Common ways to collect information directly from target customers (known as “primary market research”), include examining data from your Stats and social media sites, combing through customer reviews, conducting focus groups and surveys, and observing customers’ behavior online and in person. You can also dig into outside reports and analysis by government agencies or trade organizations on trends and shopping behavior. (This is known as “secondary market research.”) For example, research giant Nielsen has in-depth studies and reports on consumer habits in more than 100 countries.

These five tips are designed to help you get started with your own market research and gain a deeper understanding of your core customers.

1. Watch what sells (and what doesn’t)

Keep an eye on what inventory is moving through your shop quickly, and try to better understand why it’s selling at a higher rate. Look at your search terms list on the Traffic tab of your Stats to determine which high performers are bringing the most traffic to your shop, and think about developing a more robust product line based on those top sellers. Consider what kind of audience is drawn to those products, and why other types of listings might not be receiving similar attention. Are you highlighting a potential gift recipient or using demographic-specific keywords in one listing, but not the other? Search terms, budget, and relevant trends all vary between types of shoppers. If one product isn’t connecting with one audience, consider repositioning it with varied language to increase visibility. Explore the Customers tab of your Stats to learn more about the kinds of items your customers shop for on Etsy, where in the world they’re located, and whether they shop from their mobile device or computer.

2. Capture information from customer questions and habits

Paying close attention to the details your customers are sharing via email, social media, and Conversations can help you inform and update your approach. Are you receiving a lot of custom orders for a specific variation on your product, or ongoing requests for rush shipping close to a certain holiday? Do shoppers repeatedly ask you the same question? Consider how each time you communicate with your customers can help you better understand the unique needs of your audience. Then create a shopper persona based on those common characteristics. You can also take a more proactive approach by offering additional product variations or services (personalization or gift wrapping, for example) and gauging customer demand for those offerings.

3. See what shoppers are saying in reviews

Encourage buyers to leave feedback with a short note in the Message to Buyers section of the Etsy order confirmation email. Not only will buyer feedback reassure new visitors to your shop, it will also help you learn more about the use-cases and expectations of your customers. Pay close attention to whether customers are satisfied with the quality of your products, and if they mention buying your item for themselves or as a gift. It can also be helpful to research reviews for similar products or categories around the web for ideas on how to get ahead of your competition.

4. Amplify your in-person efforts

Any time you show off your wares face-to-face at craft fairs or pop-up sales, take note of what captures customer interest. What questions are they asking? How do they interpret your product’s purpose and value? When you’re a primarily online business, in-person interactions are a rare opportunity to actually put a face to the abstract definition of your target market. The people your items resonate with the most might surprise you.

5. Learn about their lifestyle from social media

Think of social media as an opportunity to communicate directly with customers. It’s a chance to bounce ideas off your followers, giving them an opportunity to weigh in and be involved. Pay close attention to which posts generate more conversation than others, to ensure repeat success down the line. Every social media channel can help you learn new and different things about your market. Digging into the re-pinning of your products on Pinterest can lead you to robust visual galleries illustrating style preferences and lifestyle information about your most-likely customer. Both Twitter and Instagram allow users to tag their posts with hashtags, creating content streams that surface other relevant posts (and their followers), painting a much broader picture of your competition and directing you to avid content consumers. From Facebook’s demographic tools (available for brand pages), you can learn more about the average age, gender and location of those who “Like” your shop’s page.

Utilizing all of the available information will give you a more complete picture of your target market, keeping you and your marketing efforts nimble and on point.

Go back > The Ultimate Guide to Marketing

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