Why You Should Start Using Surveys For Product Research

Sep 13, 2022

Published by: Maddie Friedland
people studying survey results

Owning an e-commerce business can be nerve-wracking, especially when you’re considering expanding your store to carry new products. Miscalculating what your audience wants can cost you considerably and derail everything from your ad spend to lower conversions. 

Luckily there’s a way to cut around all that unnecessary stress and get to the heart of what your customers want.

Product surveys 

A common e-commerce myth is that you should only use surveys for feedback and in-the-moment opinions about how visitors feel towards the products your store sells. Although feedback on existing products is essential, surveys can also take on the role of new product research. 

With surveys, you can get direct feedback from the most relevant people to your store, helping you avoid the mistake of launching a new product that your audience doesn’t want or need.

Using surveys for product feedback and research will give you a much deeper understanding of your customers and how you can improve your site. 

What is a product feedback survey?

A product feedback survey focuses on the current products a website sells and measures overall satisfaction. These surveys discover how customers feel about the existing products a website sells. These surveys can look like a thumbs up or down icon on a product page or a rating score for the user's experience directly after purchasing. 

What is a product research survey?

Product research surveys discover what’s missing in a website’s current offerings or what could be improved upon. These questions are typically more open-ended, allowing visitors to express what they want to see you sell or change in the future. 

The main difference is that product research surveys focus on market research to determine the direction a business should grow in instead of commenting on the current offerings. 

different types of surveys and results

Businesses of all sizes should use both surveys to optimize their online store and learn what their audience wants from them moving forward. 

What type of questions should you ask?

For a product feedback survey, quick multiple-choice questions give you the highest chance of getting responses and provide you with enough information to understand your website visitors' opinions. 

If the goal is to find out if customers like your products, a thumbs-up or down survey is an efficient way to get a consensus.

Examples of product feedback questions:

  1. How likely are you to recommend this product to someone else?

  2. How would you rate this product?

  3. How is your experience with this product?

If answers are positive, you know the product is a good fit for your market and may want to invest in PPC or Facebook ads to expand your reach. If answers are negative, you know to promote the product less, discontinue it, or adjust your product pages to represent your offering better.

A product research survey's questions and overall format will be different because it measures other things. Because you are researching what your store might be missing, you likely don’t know what respondents will say. Using a multiple-choice question, in this case, wouldn’t provide suitable options, at least initially. 

Therefore, for your initial survey, using open-ended questions is recommended to understand what you’re missing. 

Examples of product research questions:

  1. What is a product you would like to see in our store

  2. What improvements would you like to see in inventory

  3. How can we improve our current selection of products

These questions get customers to elaborate on why they feel the way they do. They aren’t centered on the store's current state and instead focus on discovering the needs of your customers that you aren’t currently meeting. 

Be wary of adding suggested responses in your survey as this can greatly skew your results. However, if you’re struggling to get responses (these questions are harder to answer), consider incentivizing responses or providing guiding words or ideas in the survey process.

Through these questions and similar ones, you will recognize areas for your store to grow, identify new markets and find ways to differentiate yourself.

Now that you know what types of surveys to use and what questions you should be asking, it is vital to identify where to put them. 

Survey location and audience

For product feedback survey questions, you’ll want to place them somewhere that gets a good amount of traffic. We recommend placing them on a product page or checkout page. Somewhere that's easily accessible and targets customers of the product you’re hoping to gain insight about. 

You might be wondering if the goal is to get responses, shouldn’t these surveys be placed on a landing or home page?

Even though they might get the most traffic, those visitors are higher up in the conversion funnel, and surveys could distract them from converting. 

For product research surveys, you will want to target consumers who are familiar with your store and have interacted with your products in the past. Targeting them after completing a purchase on your site or through an email list is an excellent way to target the audience you want. 

Open-ended surveys take more time for consumers to fill out, so it is crucial to catch them at the end of the buying journey to not take away from any conversions. 

If you plan to use an email list or something similar for your product research survey, it can be worthwhile to include incentives for taking the time to respond. Whether that’s a gift card or a promo code for 10% off their next purchase, incentives will increase your response rate and lead to a higher chance of getting meaningful results. 

Segment your survey audience for better data.

Some survey tools, like Lucky Orange, allow you to segment what parts of your audience see a survey. If you are hoping to gain insight based on respondents who have used a particular product or are coming from a specific source, you can create a survey only they see.  

For example, let’s say you want to understand if your Facebook ad is effective at representing your product. One way to do this is by creating a segmented product feedback survey. With Lucky Orange, you can select the source or page a website visitor came from or reached. In this case, it would make sense to create a survey question asking visitors who came from a Facebook ad to the product page if this product is what they were looking for. 

For product research surveys, it can be beneficial to segment your survey audience by how many times they’ve visited your site or by which pages they are on.

If you are thinking about adding a new product to your store, you could first create a segmented survey targeting repeat website visitors who visit a similar product page. You could then ask this segment if they would want your store to carry that new product or if there's a product they would like you to carry. 

You’ve conducted your surveys. Now what?

What to do with the data you collected

Gathering data is only one step of the survey process. You must interpret the survey responses properly to get the most out of your results. 

We broke this next process into three steps; organize, visualize and identify.


Organize your data based on the metric you use. If you only have two answer options, this step isn’t as necessary for open-ended questions. Grouping your data will make the following two steps easier and give you an idea of your customer's opinions. 

With open-ended responses, it is crucial to double-check each answer to make sure you group it correctly, taking into account variations of spelling and phrasing.

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