Great customer experience starts with segmentation
Tom de Raad
As marketers and ecommerce professionals we know that there’s a positive impact on website KPIs when our content matches what visitors are looking for. The conversion rates are higher, retention rates see an uplift, and the customer lifetime value increases, just to name a few.
Consider the needs of a family of four from rural Canada, looking for a new vehicle on a comparison site. Then, think of the retired couple from Finland browsing the website of their favorite travel agent for a winter getaway. And what about the dad, kitting out his sons for the new soccer season? In the gear of their favorite teams, of course. All of them are looking for something specific. Through segmentation, you can increase their customer experience by greatly reducing the amount of noise, products, and content that’s not relevant to them, and increase the likelihood of conversion in the process.
All of their characteristics, such as family size, location, and preferences, can be translated into data points. And these data points can be turned into criteria. When visitors meet certain criteria they can be segmented, creating visitor journeys with personalized and relevant content that perfectly match their needs.
What is segmentation?
From Frosmo’s perspective, segmentation is a building block, a cornerstone even, for effective personalization. And personalization in itself provides visitors with relevant content at the right time and in the right place. Personalized content is powered by the unique combination of segments.
To expand on the example above, let’s take the Canadian family who’s looking for a new car and turn their characteristics into segments.
To start, you can deduct that they are from rural Canada either because of their IP address or because they used a search query and provided a location. This data can be used as a segment to, for example, prefill the search form when they revisit. Car purchases are rarely impulse decisions, after all.
One aspect worth mentioning is that you should consider including “surprising results”. In the case where they’re looking for a particular car and there’s a listing that seems like a good deal but is outside their search range, show it anyway because it might be worth the long drive.
So how do we know that they’re looking for a new car and what can we do with this information? If the website offers multiple segments, one hint could be which category they visit first. In our case, that would be cars rather than boats. But what if they misclicked? A better way to set segment criteria would then be to use time spent within a category or pages visited within a category.
Ideally, you use as precise information as possible. So rather than “interested in a new car” you should use segments such as “interested in compact SUVs” and/or “midsize SUVs”. Note that these two do not exclude each other. People can be interested in more than one category, topic, or product type at a time. This knowledge can then be used to, for example, show personalized recommendations on the main page, or to suggest that they sign up for daily emails that provide new listings that fall within their interests.
Then the big one; what gives it away that they’re a family of four? Perhaps they’re only looking at large cars with four or five doors. But people can have many reasons why they’d like a big car. You could also deduct that they’re a family from other products that they’ve looked at although you’d still be working with assumptions.
To figure family makeup you can cross-reference their address or insurance information if provided. It could also be something you can find out through testing. By showing the same products with different images, for example. Perhaps one shows the car with a couple standing next to it and the other shows the same car with a family. Whichever they show more interest in is most likely the one that they relate to the most (That could be the hypothesis, anyway).
Alternatively, you could just ask. A simple prompt of “Hi, what are you looking for today?” may give you all the info you need to add a visitor to several segments at once.
Using segments goes beyond improving the customer experience on your website. Segments can also be used to advertise through ad networks. In the case of car shoppers, interesting offers can be shared with them across the web. If you do personalize like this, just make sure to move them from “is interested in buying a car” to “has purchased a car” whenever you can.
No-one likes seeing ads of products that they’ve already purchased. Besides, that too is good info to help them find the next product that can improve their life. A child seat, perhaps? A cover to keep the car clear of snow? Would they be interested in a caravan? Test, learn, segment, and personalize.
How does segmentation work with Frosmo
The more fine-grained segmentation is applied, the more effective it becomes. For reference, some Frosmo users have created hundreds of segments so that they can create one-to-one experiences across their network of websites. Luckily, Frosmo supports an unlimited number of segments.
Broadly speaking, there are 4 segment types: demographics, context, behavior and life cycle, and psychographics.
|Segment type||Description and examples|
|Demographics||Information that can be tied to the visitor’s climate, culture, gender, and age group.
Examples: Age, gender, location (city, region, country), weather forecast.
|Context||Context refers to the technology the visitor is using. Related attributes are used to ensure compatibility and to ensure that the content is optimized.
Examples: Browser, device type.
|Behavior and life cycle||Segmenting based on behavior helps establish where a visitor is in the purchasing process. The info helps gain insights into what they’re trying to do next.
Examples: Pages visited, number of visits, recent purchases, viewed products, potential value, website logins.
|Psychographics||Data about psychographics is harder to capture and relies heavily on your expertise to get right. How well do you know your customers? However, getting it right is also going to have the biggest impact on your bottom line.
Exampes: Interests, lifestyle, moral values.
In Frosmo, you can use any of the criteria above (or any other ones that you can come up with) by defining what action a visitor needs to perform to get included in a segment. This can be as simple as “visited the homepage for the first time” to more complex cases such as “has searched for ‘Cadillac’ but has not visited ‘Cadillac SUV page’ in the past 7 days”.
Then you use the segment, or a combination of segments, to define who you want to show a particular website modification to. Like the segmentation rules, these modifications can be anything and shown anywhere on your website.
By showing multiple modifications (think recommendations, messages, CTAs, etc.) on several pages, you effectively personalize your entire website. And since segments are dynamic, each action that a visitor takes can potentially add or remove them from a segment, altering what they see accordingly and improving conversions.
Segments are must-haves for marketers as they enable targeting and tending to an individual’s needs. Software shouldn’t limit the manner in which this is possible. If anything, quality software, especially personalization software, encourages its users to come up with clever ways to reach the right audience. And by following that philosophy, Frosmo empowers marketers to think creatively, rather than think about rule limitations, of what they wish to do on the website and enable them to effortlessly execute their ideas.
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About the writer:
Tom de Raad is the Product Marketing Manager at Frosmo. With 9 years of marketing experience for Finnish software startups, he’s business-educated and tech-curious. Tom joined as a Copywriter and is now using his skills to analyze and translate market needs into product features and vice versa. He’s currently exploring and mapping out the brave new world of personalization. He’s also winning the company’s Fantasy Football league.