Useful Types of Marketing Information You Can Collect at Checkout

Information is the best tool you have when it comes to marketing your products and services. The more you know about your customer, the better you’re able to reach them and convince them you can solve their problems.

The best way to learn about your customers is to ask them directly. After all, they are the most reliable source of information about themselves and their businesses.

Customer interviews are powerful ways to learn more about your customers. But you can automate the learning process a bit by sliding an extra question or two into your checkout form. This will help you capture some additional data points that may have a profound impact on your business.

In this article, we’d like to break down some marketing information you can collect at checkout.

First, a Word of Warning

Generally speaking, it’s better to limit the number of form fields you ask your customers to complete at check out. Once a customer has decided to make a purchase, it’s best to make the process as fast and frictionless as possible.

So while the following data points may help your business in the long-term, your conversion rate may suffer if you try to collect too many of them at checkout. You’ll want to A/B test checkout experience to make sure your extra fields aren’t stopping people from finishing their purchase.

Marketing Data Points to Collect at Checkout

These data points will help you market yourself to existing customers (by delighting them and enticing them to expand their service) and learn about the people who buy your products and services.

1. The Customer’s Name

It may seem obvious, but some stripped-down checkout flows don’t ask for the customer’s name. In many cases, other data points are sufficient to identify the customer – like their email address, account number, home address, etc.

Having your customers’ names will help if you have to email or call them at any point. It’s easier and more personable to ask for a customer by name rather than an email address or their account number. It’s a good way to personalize all of your correspondence, whether automated or direct.

Fortunately, the customer’s name is an easy piece of data to acquire because no one feels burdened by giving it. Most people assume you need it. If you add a name field, most people’s browser will auto-populate it anyway.

2. Demographic Information

Demographics are data points used to segment people into groups and assess their behavior. We can make reasonable assumptions based on demographic data.

For example, it’s safe to assume that a person in their mid- or late-60s is thinking about retirement. If you have a product or service related to retirement, you would obviously want to target people in their 60s rather than people in their 20s.

Here’s a list of demographic data points you might find useful:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Marital status
  • Number of children
  • Annual income
  • Location
  • Education level
  • Nationality
  • Disabilities (if any)
  • Military status/history
  • Living status (homeowner or renter)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious affiliation
  • Language

You probably don’t need all of those data points. For instance, there’s no point in asking if your customer has disabilities if your product or service doesn’t serve disabled people and can be used/enjoyed/realized by anyone.

3. Company Information

If you sell to B2B customers, it helps to know something about their company and professional life. This information will help you target similar people in the future.

Here are some data points you might request:

Industry – This data point is important if you sell to people in multiple industries. You’ll want to know which ones offer the most business. If your customers come primarily from one industry, you may consider niching into that industry or creating products and services specifically for them.

Company Size – The size of your customers’ companies gives you insight into their needs and problems. For instance, a small bootstrapped company probably needs to see results from your product or service faster than a large global corporation.

Job Title – Job title tells you a lot about the people who make purchasing decisions at your customers’ companies. For instance, if marketing associates typically purchase your product rather than marketing executives, you would know to adjust your messaging to appeal to marketing associates.

4. Referral Source

Whenever you make a sale or get a new client it’s important to ask where they came from. If you see any trends, you may want to invest more resources into effective channels.

For example, let’s say a number of your customers report being referred to your company by the same person. You would be wise to reach out to that person, find out why they’re such an evangelist, reward them for their help, and find ways to get even more value out of them.

In other cases, a referral source may not necessarily be a person, but a program or channel you’ve invested in. If customers say they saw your posts in a Facebook group, for example, perhaps you should invest more time into that group.

5. Social Media Presence

It’s helpful to know where your customers spend time online. Don’t ask for links to their social media profiles (that’s kind of creepy), but consider giving them a checkbox to select one or more social media profiles they use. This will tell you where you need to spend time, especially if you see a clear trend.

6. Newsletter Opt-In

Technically, you aren’t supposed to send marketing communications to your customers just because they made a purchase. According to the CAN-SPAM Act, you’re only allowed to send transactional emails like receipts, shipping confirmations, refund updates, or other messages related to their purchase, but you need their explicit permission in order to send them promotional messages.

That said, your customers are the best people to market to. They’ve already shown interest in your products and services, so you can’t just let them go after the first purchase.

Add a checkbox to your checkout form that says something like “Add me to your newsletter list” or “Send me updates, content, and promotions.” This way they have the opportunity to join your list if they want. You can even check this box by default.

Useful marketing information

7. User Flow

This isn’t a question you can ask your customers directly, but it’s a valuable piece of information you should collect regarding anyone who reaches your checkout page.

User flow is the path your customers take to reach your checkout page. Understanding your customers’ user flow can help you understand what your customers need to make a buying decision.

For instance, if you notice that your customers leave a product or service page to view your FAQ before making a purchase (or whatever your next step is), you could conclude there’s something missing on the product/service page they need. Perhaps adding whatever that is to the product/service page would improve conversions.

Here’s an example of what you can learn about user flow from Google Analytics. Notice how it shows you which steps users take. Thicker lines from one stage to another indicate a larger group of people.

Don’t Stop at Checkout

Learning about your customers shouldn’t stop once they make a purchase. Send them surveys, call them up, and ask lots of questions about their problems, preferences, and needs. Every data point you collect makes it easier to sell your products and services to similar people.