Challenge: Lacking data

While WooCommerce had access to basic first-party usage data showing which products were used by customers in which combination, we lacked firmographic or demographic data about purchasers. Without that kind of information, we were struggling to:

  • Recruit a representative set for qualitative user research
  • Understand the types of customers we were trying to serve, and create customer profiles
  • Shape a roadmap for lower-value products, where dedicated research wasn’t called for

Solution: Send a survey

Partnering with design researchers, I built a survey to capture key data from existing purchasers. That included data about their:

  • Persona, meaning whether they used WooCommerce to make website for others or to manage their own business (developers vs store owners)
  • Business, such as how long they’d been in business, what they sold, what industry they were in, what their revenues were and more
  • Skills, such as their familiarity with key technologies and how they spend their time
  • Spending, meaning specifically how much they’d spent in different categories in the previous year
  • Demographics, like age, gender, and location

Results: Rich data set for product decisions

We recruited 2,600 respondents, including more than 750 for each of our key personas (developers & store owners). Working with the data team, we conducted a cluster analysis to identify which traits were closely correlated and build customer profiles.

The type of data we now had access to included:

  • Customers who offer appointments, reservations and bookings were more likely to be in the Travel or Professional Services industries and offer non-traditional payment options, such as paying by invoice, setting up a deposit, or offering a recurring payment. Bookings, our flagship extension, allowed customers to offer these types of products with WooCommerce. This data helped us target qualitative research around Bookings, as well as shape both the roadmap for the product and marketing initiatives.
  • For most customers, the majority of their business was online, but older businesses were likely to have started offline and have some type of offline presence. This told us that POS integrations like Square would be valuable for this customer type.
  • Different types of developers had different spending habits – assemblers (less-technical businesses) spent more on themes, where agencies (more technical) spend almost nothing on themes. This suggested that themes was a potential product area that could appeal to the assembler audience, which we weren’t catering to.

This data became the foundational knowledge that we built our roadmap and future research endeavors around. It also informed what types of questions were valuable to ask during account sign-up on-site and during registration in-product, which shaped our on-boarding in both of those contexts.

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