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Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies®, 3rd Edition by Joel Elad, Shannon Belew

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Getting to Know Your Customer Really Well

If you've ever walked into a store to buy batteries, you know that the store wants to know a lot about you. The clerk asks for your zip code, and sometimes your address, even if you're paying cash. The people who run the company do this so that they can get an understanding of the customers who walk through their door and how those customers shop. Although this process can be annoying or off-putting for you, you probably accommodate the request. The store can then accurately predict, for example, which customers from which zip codes will order the most batteries.

Gathering customer information is a delicate, but ultimately profitable, venture because analyzing that information gives you razor-like focus on how your customers interact with you. Just like supermarkets that encourage their customers to use loyalty cards when they shop, Web sites are now gathering information on a customer level, independent of the traffic information that their Web browser leaves with your Web site. Because the customer is now signed in to the Web site, every activity is recorded and assigned to a customer account, which can be analyzed and aggregated without worrying about issues such as IP addresses and cookies.

As you move to understand your individual customers better, you move the focus of your data from your overall Web site statistics to your customers, where the common factor isn't your entire Web site but rather the average customer and what he or ...

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