Survey Question Types Explained With Examples For Ecommerce Brands

Surveys are a great way for Ecommerce brands to collect — and take action on — customer insights that can change the trajectory of lifetime value in your favor. And yet, not all survey questions are created equal. The type of question you ask will have notable impacts on the data you ingest, and therefore, what you can action on.

For that reason, Fairing has listed out some of the most versatile and applicable survey question types for Ecommerce.

Survey question types

Fairing’s app takes less than five minutes to set up and our customers have access to our Question Bank. That let’s them easily add our pre-built questions saving time while following survey methodology best practices.

Here are some of the common survey question types that Fairing customers use to collect customer insights. Each question type is unique in the information if collects and a similar question asked in two different formats could yield very different results based on what you’re looking for.

Open-ended questions

Open-ended questions allow you to collect qualitative data and discover new insights through free-form answers.

They are great for gathering insights about how customers feel or think about a product or service, and can provide information that you may not have thought to ask about. The downside is that analyzing qualitative data can be time-consuming and challenging which is why these are often paired with close-ended questions.

Let’s say you want to discover the content your customers consume the most and turn that research into ad campaigns, so you ask them, “What's your favorite podcast?

What's your favorite podcast?

Closed-ended questions

Closed-ended questions provide multiple-choice answers, and are great for collecting quantitative data that can be easily analyzed. They provide a clear and concise way to gather specific information about your customers. The downside is that they don't allow customers to provide detailed answers.

One good example is asking the question, “Who is this purchase for?” which helps your customers self-segment as buyers or users.

Who is this purchase for?

If you’re in an industry where gift purchases are common then knowing this would make a big difference in how you communicate with your customers. If someone said they purchased it as a gift then you know they’re a buyer, and they know someone else who advocates for your product. And with the correct messaging that might lead to a future user.

Now that you know who your buyers and users are you can split them for analysis to clean up your performance metrics. Your buyers might have a higher churn rate, but by segmenting the two, you’ll have a better idea of how your customer relationships are performing.

Demographic questions

Demographic questions ask for personal information about the customer, such as age, gender, or income level. They can provide insights into who your customers are and what types of products they might be interested in. However, you need to be sensitive in the way you ask these questions, as some customers may be uncomfortable sharing personal information.

By asking customers, "What is your age?" you can segment them into different age demo breaks for media and creative purposes.

Benchmark questions

Benchmark questions can come in multiple formats, but allow you to compare customer feedback to industry standards or internal goals. They can provide a way to see how your product or service stacks up against competitors. They are useful for measuring brand awareness, customer loyalty, and customer satisfaction.

For instance, you could ask your customers if they are switching from another brand to find competitors and use follow up questions to see how your product compares.

Are you switching from another brand?

Brands like Quip have used similar questions in their post-purchase surveys for years. They’ve pulled out tactical responses like optimizing ad creative and competitive bidding from responses, and used the information for more strategical purposes like pitching to investors.

Dropdown questions

Dropdown questions provide a list of possible answers, and are great for situations where you want the customer to choose a specific option.

They can be useful for gathering information about product preferences or usage. However, they can be limiting if the customer's answer isn't included in the options provided.

For example, you ask your customers “When is your birthday?” knowing when your customers’ birthdays are can be a personalization powerhouse. But for that information to be useful, you need it in the same format every time so you use a dropdown.

Do you mind telling us your birthday?

The birthday use case is already something that many marketers have ingrained in their brain, but what may not be readily obvious is the benefit of combining this with other direct-from-consumer data. Maybe a customer has told you through another question about what region they live in. If so then you already have a good idea of their environment and what it’s like on that day. A segment of U.S. customers with birthdays in Oct & Nov sounds like a great target for gifting your pumpkin spice flavored beverage, yes?

The survey question type plays a crucial role in gathering responses. Whether you're using an open-ended question to gather qualitative responses or a close-ended one for easier analysis the different question types can lead to very different insights.

If you're looking for an easy and efficient way to get started with surveys, then check out our post-purchase survey app. With our integrated Question Bank you can have your survey live and start collecting customer insights in less than five minutes.

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