Find Out What Your Customers Really Want

Just Ask Them!

Sometimes things just don’t convert, and you can’t figure out why. Is it the design? Is it your copy? Is something missing from the page? Or is there just something off with the user’s overall experience with your page? You can change things around on your website all you want, but until you actually know the reason why users aren’t buying or doing what you’d like them to do, chances are low that your changes will make an improvement. There are numerous methodologies out there to help you find out all the things that are preventing the users from your site from converting. Here we’ll cover two useful methods - surveying and polling.


Easy enough to run a poll right? It’s more accessible than ever to run polls on your website to get instant and direct feedback from your site visitors. Tools like Hotjar, where you can easily drop a javascript snippet into your site code, or in the case of Shopify with a robust app marketplace, just simply add one of the many apps on there to your store that offers polling functionality.

That’s the easy part. Now the hard part is figuring out where on the site should the poll run, and what kind of question you’ll be asking visitors. First you’ll have to dig into your analytics and figure out where you’re seeing problems on your site. Is the bounce rate unusually high on collections pages? Is the product page where visitors usually stop their journey on your website? Or are you looking to improve on your cart abandonment? If you don’t determine where you want to run a poll, you won’t be able to nail down what kind of questions you want answered.

Once you know where you want to run a poll, you’ll have a much better idea of what kind of question you want to ask. For example, if you run a poll at a product page and you’re selling clothing but you’re finding that you’ve got very low add to cart rates, you may want to run a poll on product pages asking “Is there any information missing from this page?”.

Seriously, that’s it!

You can give them a Yes/No option, so if they say no they can move on with their lives. If they tell you “Yes”, go ahead with a follow-up asking them what information is missing from the page. People really do respond and you’d be surprised sometimes what information they want to see may be something you hadn’t thought of at all. In the case of clothing, for this example, it could be that you’re missing a sizing chart or a fit guide on the page, or maybe visitors really want to know more about fabric content but can’t find it anywhere.

The key thing to remember here is that you want to ask users open-ended questions and allow them to respond to you in their own words. While providing only multiple-choice options for them to respond with can make for easy analysis, those options you provide can be based on your assumptions and biases which can prevent actual issues with the websites from being discovered. That said, we’re not saying don’t do multiple-choice questions, just make sure you’re providing the right answering format for the question you’re asking.

If you’re ever looking for inspiration on what kind of questions to ask on a poll, Hotjar has a great bank of questions which you can find here.


Surveys are a great way to dive even further into the customer experience and get more in-depth information on the customer experience, rather than just information at a page level like with on-site polls. With surveys, you can get users who have experienced your eCommerce store’s shopping experience and have them provide their feedback through a series of questions.

Unlike polls, you can segment and target who you’ll send a survey to, so you can find more specific answers. If your company offers subscriptions, maybe you want to create a survey and target customers who have churned out of their subscription. If you’re a software company, maybe you want to segment customers who are new and have just finished their first month using your software. This way, you can figure out if there were any weak spots in your software onboarding program.

Who you want to send the survey to can determine what kind of questions you ask, and what you’ll use those insights for.

Open-ended questions, like in the polls, can be extremely powerful and insightful. But they require a much higher level of cognitive effort for somebody to reply than a simple multiple-choice question where all their possible answers are already laid out for them. In surveys, you’ll want to mix it up and provide a mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions. This way the user will be more engaged and won’t suffer survey fatigue.

So what kind of questions should you ask? Similar to preparing polls, you should take a moment to figure out what you want to learn from your survey. Do you want to learn more about your customers and learn about what they love or hate about your store and your products? Or do you want to learn about what products they want you to sell next? All of this is possible to learn and more! All you have to do is ask. Like before, Hotjar has a great list of questions that you can take inspiration from and put in your own survey.

Potential Questions You Can Ask

To get you started, here are some possible questions that you can ask:

  • Did you consider any alternatives to our company/product? * Get a better understanding of who your competitors are!

  • Which doubts and hesitations did you have before completing your purchase? * Learn more about what information might be missing from your website, or what’s missing from the customer experience.

  • What’s the one thing that nearly stopped you from buying from us? * Like above, but coming at it from a different perspective and making them prioritize what the biggest point of friction for them was on your site.

  • What was your biggest challenge or frustration in finding the right product? * What are the most important things they look for when shopping for something in your store’s product category?

  • What can you tell us about yourself? * Who are your actual customers?

Learning About your Customer

With enough answers, a survey can help you answer the following questions from the business end:

  • Who your users really are
  • What your users want
  • What they think about your brand/store
  • What they love about your brand
  • How they like to shop
  • And so much more!

There are some great tools out there that you can use to create surveys. Just to name a few: SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Google Forms, and many more. They all come in with different price points, customization options and tools in helping you analyze the answers afterwards. So depending on your budget or your company size, there’s a tool out there for you.

What's Next?

Surveys and polls are just two of the methodologies used in creating a robust Conversion Optimization Program. When done correctly, you can get amazing insights and combine that with insights from other research such as usability testing, heuristic evaluation, data analysis, and create extremely robust hypotheses and A/B testing programs to really push the needle and get your store’s conversion rates up.

If you’re interested in learning more about what CRO can do for your eCommerce store, you can always shoot us a message over at The Vaan Group!