Customer profiling is the process of identifying and grouping broad qualities, attitudes, and interests your ideal customers share. It combines information about your customers with insights into their motivations, pain points, and experiences to inform your marketing and advertising efforts. For retailers, customer profiling also contributes to market planning and site selection.
The better you understand who buys your products or services, the better equipped you are to find and reach more people like them.
Customer profiling has significant overlap with marketing concepts like segmentation and personas, but these terms don’t necessarily refer to the same process or serve the same purpose. Segmentation, for example, typically means splitting up a specific audience based on shared characteristics or behavior in a particular channel, such as advertising or email. Buyer personas or customer personas are more broadly applicable but usually involve creating a fictional version of each “type” of customer.
While every business benefits from customer profiling, it can be difficult for industries that appeal broadly to a wide range of people and rely on third parties to collect customer data. This is frequently the case in retail.
A gym naturally collects some useful “customer data” through memberships. A healthcare provider has a wealth of data about their members but not necessarily the information they need to group them into profiles. However, a grocery store or fast-food chain often knows very little about its customers without third-party data. Even with a thriving ecommerce business, delivery service, and/or rewards program, retailers often only learn about a fraction of their customer base.
So, how do you build customer profiles when you don’t know who your customers really are?
Given time, customer surveys can provide the insights you need—especially with the right incentives. But since customer profiling is so closely aligned with market planning and site selection, you can also learn about your customers through advanced tools like Tango Predictive Analytics. The capabilities you leverage to find the best locations for your stores can also uncover insights you can use to build customer profiles, which can help guide you toward opportunities with higher concentrations of people who fit them.
Here are some of the ways Tango helps you with customer profiling.
Census data and other broad sources of demographic information can’t tell you who patrons your business. And even customer surveys have limited value—can you be confident that people give honest responses, or that those who respond are representative of your customer base? Thankfully, modern retail businesses can learn exactly who sets foot in their stores. It all starts with mobile movement data.
Tango partners with Near Intelligence to display anonymized mobile movement data in our site selection software. Using GPS signals from mobile devices, UberMedia can reveal detailed demographic information about people who pass through a given area. Age, sex, income, marital status, job title, household size, and more. While this data provides excellent high-level insights about markets, you can take this capability even further with geofencing.
Geofencing lets you establish a virtual perimeter around all your stores. When mobile devices pass through that perimeter, you see this same anonymous demographic information, but isolated to the people who enter your store.
You can collect this information over time and even see the data that was collected before the geofence was established—so you can review anonymized information about all of your brick-and-mortar customers from all your stores in the past quarter, year, or several years. You can focus your customer profiling on more recent trends in your customer base or simply see who you’ve historically had the most success with.
Customer profiling goes beyond raw demographic data to represent your customers’ other interests and experiences. Surveys are one of the most common ways to gather this information, but Tango has another solution that gives you more data points to work with: mobile movement data lets you see where your customers spend their time.
This can be helpful for understanding where your customer base generally lives—does your business appeal more to consumers who live in rural, suburban, or urban areas? But you can also filter specific “points of interest” on the map, like stadiums, fitness centers, libraries, schools, religious facilities, parks, and more. You might discover that a sizable percentage of the people who visit your stores are hockey fans, walk their dogs at dog parks, visit the library weekly, exercise daily, or practice a particular religion. Insights like these can flesh out your customer profiles with demonstrable shared interests and experiences, helping you craft better messaging and informing your location strategy.
The point of customer profiling is to understand more about the kinds of people your brand appeals to. Trends in where your customers shop (and what other brands appeal to them) can teach you a lot about their interests and habits. Similar to points of interest, the other businesses your customers patronize help paint a picture of who they are.
For example, your customers may generally eat at particular kinds of restaurants, prefer certain clothing styles, or shop at the same niche stores. Not only do these insights help you refine your marketing and sales strategies, but this aspect of customer profiling can also identify complementary businesses. These may be prime candidates for good co-tenants, or businesses to consider in your site selection process. You might even find new partnership opportunities.
Understanding when and how your best customers visit your business can help you maximize the opportunities in a market. How far do they travel to reach you? Are they commuting to or from work or school? Taking a lunch break? Is visiting your store one of several errands on the weekend? Do they make dedicated trips? Are they more likely to visit you during particular seasons or days of the week?
Using questions like these, you can learn more about your customers’ states of mind, the optimal times for your business operations, and even the most valuable locations for your stores. If the morning rush is your busiest time, you’ll want to use mobile movement data to see where your target consumers are most concentrated in the mornings, not just in general.
Together, these tactics will help you recognize patterns and commonalities within your customer base, enabling you to group various customer types based on shared characteristics, interests, and experiences—even if you don’t have any of the data right now.
Customer profiling is a valuable exercise any business can use to optimize their marketing, advertising, and sales efforts. But for retailers, it provides the added benefit of enhancing your site selection process. It helps you prioritize the locations where your stores have the biggest opportunities and greatest demand.
And that all starts with robust site selection software—like Tango Predictive Analytics. Tango’s data partnerships and advanced GIS capabilities equip you to learn more about your customers as you perform market research and analyze sites.
Want to see what Tango Predictive Analytics can do for your business?