Business & Marketing

Why E-Commerce Segmentation Matters to Customer Loyalty

Why E-Commerce Segmentation Matters to Customer Loyalty

Segmentation. The generic definition is to divide a whole into parts. In the world of marketing, it has a particularly important meaning. It means that a large customer base is divided into segments, based upon where customers and potential customers are in their buying or re-buying journeys. Each of these segments has unique needs and demands from a business, and the wise business will define those segments and cater to the needs and demands of each one. If accomplished successfully, a business will both gain new customers and ensure that those current customers remain loyal.

Typical Segments 

Every business has the same general segments:

Why E-Commerce Segmentation Matters to Customer Loyalty
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  1. Those initially interested people who have become aware of a company’s products or services and are involved in exploration, looking at other companies as well.
  2. Those potential customers that have shown interest in your product or service and have decided to explore you further and evaluate the value and/or quality.
  3. Customers in this segment have engaged with you, asking questions, perhaps providing contact information, etc.
  4. Customers have made the decision to buy
  5. Customers have completed a purchase and are considering re-purchases.

Obviously, the same communication and content will never be relatable by each of the segments. For example, a potential customer who has only just shown interest does not want or need communication from you that is moving strongly towards sales. That’s a turn-off. This segment wants to get to know you, wants to see you as trustworthy and wants to understand the value that you may bring to them. 

At the same time, a customer who has already purchased from you may want to know what’s new in your repertoire of products or services, may need customer support, and should be satisfied that your post-sale communications are geared toward keeping them happy. 

How to Satisfy The Needs of Each Segment In a Marketing Campaign

You can only create so much content. Your website is a more generic piece of content that should appeal to all of your segments. But as you consider much of your other content, you need to think about appealing to each segment.

  1. Your Blog: This should contain a mix of content so that each segment in your sales funnel can find posts that will engage, educate, entertain, and/or inspire. Check out the list of best websites for content writing to choose the best hire for you.
  2. Your Social Media Platforms: Again, you will want to produce content that is more generally appealing and engaging, although an occasional post appealing to a specific target is certainly warranted.
  3. Your Email Campaign: This is where segmentation really comes into play and where you can make the most personalized, unique content for each segment. In fact, segmenting via this venue is critical and has the most potential for success.

How Segmentation Builds Loyalty

Think about it. When you nurture your potential and current customers, they come to believe that you care about them as individuals. And they are then willing to move onto the next step in their buying journey with you. This is how loyalty is built, and how to do it.

  1. In the early stages of potential customer awareness and interest, your goal is to establish “connections” by presenting your value proposition, by letting this segment see you as a trusted business with real people just like them involved. To this segment, you should be creating content that entertains, engages, features yourself and your team, etc. Top paper writers with copywriting expertise always advise business owners to get “real and personal” during this stage. You can direct these prospects to blog posts that speak to value; you can direct them to your social media platforms where you feature happy customers; you can tell stories about how you got started, about your team members, and about your customers. None of these efforts are directly related to sales. You only want to make connections and develop relationships.
  2. Once an actual connection has been made, and you have a conversion that involves an email address or a subscription to your blog or newsletter, it is time for personal contact. This is done through email. Again, the focus is on customer needs and how you can meet them, not on selling your product or service. If you sell paint, for example, your blog post and email content would be better served on content related to tips on painting, the best types of paint for certain surfaces, etc. You become an expert, and that, too, increases loyalty. 

So, in your email campaigns to these folks, give them tips, educate them, drive them to blog posts that satisfy their need to know, not about you, but about solving their pain points. This may be the time to create a great how-to video. Again, going back to the paint, create an informal video showing key painting techniques. 

  1. Segments who are ready to buy need to have specific information about your products/services, again including the value that they provide. Always stress value and benefits as you promote what you sell. How is your paint better than the competition? How do you stand by your product? What type of customer support do you provide when there are issues or questions? 
  2. Once purchases have been made, loyalty becomes a matter of taking care of that customer well. This is where customer relationship management enters the picture. Keeping in touch, ensuring that customers are satisfied and that any question, issue, or problem is quickly resolved, cements loyalty for repurchases when the customer is ready. This is the time to ask for feedback on the customer experience and satisfaction with the product or service. This is the time to introduce customer loyalty programs too.

Take Some Cues from Amazon

You are obviously not an Amazon. But you can certainly take cues from their segmentation activities and scale them down to your level. While Amazon does not have to spend a lot of time “courting” customers, once a prospect has arrived at their site and begun a search, a host of activities are put into place.

  • The searcher is given all of the options available. And suggestions are made for related products too. You will not be doing this, since your product/service is contained, but this is the point at which you want to try to get some contact information and show who you are at a personal level.
  • Amazon keeps track of what their prospects have looked at and begins a soft email campaign, based upon what prospects have searched for. Your soft email campaign should be all about solving pain points, educating, and even inspiring. 
  • When prospects return to the Amazon site, they are greeted by name, reminded of what they have looked up, are encouraged to check out reviews of those products, etc. When prospects return to you, what do you have to offer that will keep them engaged, and what personalization techniques are you using? Even something as simple as, “Welcome back, Joe. How can we help you today?” sends the signal that you are concerned for their individual needs.
  • After every sale, Amazon asks for feedback and provides all of the necessary information for resolving issues or problems. Your customer feels valued when their opinion matters. Make it matter.
  • And when a loyal customer returns to Amazon, they have complete information on what they have purchased, when it was purchased, and how much they paid. Consider this as well. It is just one more way in which you personalize your relationship with each customer. 

Not an Option

Segmentation is simply not an option in today’s customer-driven market place. When you use it well, you will develop relationships that are lasting, and those are the best kinds – the ones that result in long-term loyalty.

About the Guest Author :

Daniela McVicker has long been involved in content marketing and has been a freelance copywriter for many businesses over the years. She contributes to many authoritative sources and is in the process of writing her first book on web-based marketing. You can check her last review of Grabmyessay.

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