How To Create Buyer Personas for Your Ecommerce Store [Free Template]

There are 2.14 billion online shoppers today. That’s a lot of potential buyers for an ecommerce merchant. With billions of people at your digital door comes a huge opportunity. But how do you know where to put your marketing efforts? Just because you can market to 2.14 billion people doesn’t mean you should. 

Consumers will resonate more with your brand if you’re speaking to their specific needs and pain points. To grow your business, your marketing needs to be effective. The secret to effective marketing? Aim at a specific target. One tried and true way to determine who to target is through buyer personas. In this blog post, we’re going to show you how to create buyer personas for your ecommerce store. 

What is a Buyer Persona?

Buyer persona: Nerdy Nina.

Source: Dani Guerrato

Buyer personas are profiles of your ideal customer. Think, a Facebook profile for your target customer. To get a little more granular, they’re semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. 

In ecommerce specifically, buyer personas are profiles of ideal customers who use your product. For example, a skincare brand might have 3 buyer personas: 

  • Lilly is 18 years old, lives in Minnesota, and has extremely dry skin.

  • Jazmyn is 35 years old, lives in sunny California, and has hyper-pigmentation.

  • Eleanor is 50 years old, lives in New York City, and is starting to see signs of aging. 

Each buyer persona contains information about a different type of customer. Identifying who buys your products, their pain points, and their needs helps guide your marketing decisions. From messaging to marketing channels to where your dollars are best spent—buyer personas help keep your target customers front and center. 

Why You Need Buyer Personas 

Have you ever gotten from point A to B in a big, busy, and unfamiliar city without a map? Me neither. Not even those among us with a nAtUrAlLy StRoNg SeNsE oF dIrEcTiOn can navigate without a guide. That’s why your ecommerce store needs buyer personas. The success of your marketing efforts relies on your ability to cut through the noise and chaos that is the Internet, and speak directly to your target customers’ needs. Your buyer personas are the map that will get you there (without the unnecessary detour and argument).  

As an ecommerce marketer, you need to understand the tactics and messaging that influence your buyers. It’s easy to get distracted by internal stakeholders, Shiny Object Syndrome, or the details of metric tracking. Buyer personas are the map that keeps you on track, and reminds you to put your audience’s needs ahead of your own. Developing a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) helps you:

  • Drive messaging and content creation. 

  • Determine which marketing channels to use. 

  • Decide where to put customer acquisition spend. 

You maximize your reach, drive more sales, and boost customer engagement when you’re intentional about who you’re talking to.

Buyer Personas: Ecommerce Examples 

Before we dive into how to create your buyer personas, take a look at these ecommerce specific examples. Using the skincare brand scenario, we created three personas. 

Example ecommerce buyer persona.

Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash.

Example ecommerce persona.

Photo by Christina @wocintechchat.com on Unsplash.

Example ecommerce persona.

Photo by BBH Singapore on Unsplash

Each buyer persona has different demographics, interests, challenges, and goals. Based on those challenges and goals, we came up with different messaging that resonates best with each persona. When you build your ecommerce marketing strategy based on helping your buyer personas meet their goals, you build better relationships with the real customers they represent. In the next section, you’ll learn how to create your own buyer personas. 

Create Your Buyer Personas 

Step 1: Decide What Information To Collect

There are two buckets of research that make up your buyer personas: market research and customer research. Market research is things that happen outside of your company–popular culture, the economy, industry trends, consumer trends, all that fun stuff. Customer research includes data about your customer base. There’s a lot that goes into this bucket, and the information you need will vary based on your specific industry, but here’s a rundown of the information we recommend collecting. 

Demographics 

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Location

  • Education 

  • Income 

  • Relationship status

  • Family size

  • Career industry 

Hobbies/interests 

  • Preferred channel of communication (Facebook, Instagram, email, SMS, TikTok, etc.)

  • Favorite brands. (Who do they love?) 

  • Lifestyle (do they live in an apartment or a house? Pets?)

  • Are they tech-savvy? 

  • What media do they consume? (TV shows, movies, YouTube channels)

Motivations 

  • Are they moved by emotion, logic, fear? 

  • How well do they know your product?

  • What job are they hiring you to do? 

  • Who influences their buying decisions? 

  • Whose decisions do they influence? 

Goals

  • What are their values? 

Pain points 

  • What challenges do they face? 

  • What problem does your product help them solve? 

Buying patterns 

  • What do they buy regularly? 

  • How frequently do they browse online? 

  • Where do they buy things? 

Step 2: Collect Information

Once you determine what information you need, you can collect it in a variety of ways. Google Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights are great for collecting demographics and hobbies/interests. For market research, look up consumer reports for your industry, or follow specific influencers and join communities where people in your space are active. For example, a beauty brand might follow beauty influencers and watch relevant videos on YouTube. Conduct customer research through interviews and surveys. A good way to get people to respond to a survey is to offer an incentive. Another way to capture important persona information is on form fields when people sign up to your list. 

Step 3: Organize Information 

Once you’ve collected all of this information… go forth and organize! Grab a stack of post-it notes, a whiteboard, your favorite caffeinated drink, and get to work. Start with the different pain points and build your personas from there. Do people in the same age group share the same pain points? Or gender? Organize the information that you’ve collected and see what themes emerge.  

Step 4: Create Your Profiles

Buyer persona template.

The final step is to create your personas. We’ve created a helpful template for you to use. This template helps you organize your data into several categories: 

  • Demographics 

  • Challenges 

  • Goals 

  • How you can help 

We also include messaging, real quotes, and an elevator pitch. Give each persona a face and a name, so you can map your messaging back to fictional humans vs. faceless avatars. 

On the second slide, you’ll see space for the different lifecycle stages. This refers to their stage in the customer journey: non-purchasers, one-time purchasers, or repeat purchasers. Identifying their stage in the customer journey informs what offers you’ll send to them. You might hit up a repeat purchaser with a refer a friend campaign, while a non-purchaser needs to build more trust with your brand and will respond better to a one-time discount code. 

How Many Buyer Personas Should You Have?

When you’re creating your personas, the question of quantity will likely come up. Just how many buyer personas should you have? We recommend creating no more than four buyer personas. While there’s no one size fits all, the more personas you have, the more complicated your marketing strategy will be. When you have too many personas, they become less distinctive and harder to use effectively. If you find yourself in this situation, group personas into sub-categories. As a general rule of thumb, keep it as simple as possible. 

Once your buyer personas are all buttoned up, use them to inform your messaging, marketing channels, and to help determine where your marketing dollars are best spent.