Customer Segmentation: Understanding the needs of your most valuable web site visitors
By Jerry Tarasofsky CEO, iPerceptions Inc. | January 27, 2012
The first order of business in developing a meaningful segmentation strategy is to set clear goals and have sufficient information about who is visiting your site and most important, a long-term view that goes beyond a simple snapshot of site visitors at a moment in time.
Defining the goals is pretty straightforward. You tailor your web site content to meet the wants, needs and preferences of your web site customers. If you've done your homework correctly, you'll enhance customer satisfaction, increase conversion and build customer relationships and loyalty.
To tailor the content of your site effectively you need to be able to get inside the hearts and minds of your web site visitors to understand their wants, needs and preferences. Sometimes this is quite easy: You're a car rental company and you know that consumers in different cities have different needs. Renters wanting to pick up a car in Vail Colorado probably want four-wheel drive SUV. Renters in Miami want convertibles. Or you are Orbitz and you have a millions of data points highlighting what customer's have purchased in the past and what other people have purchased, so you have some history to build on.
If this information is not readily available, how do you go about collecting this valuable knowledge about visitor preferences? The simple answer is to ask your web site visitors and listen to their response. You can guess what people want or prefer by watching what they do, but expressed preferences, those given to you directly by your visitors are significantly more important and valuable than inferred preferences.
Our clients, some of the most well know brands in the hospitality sector obtain this information by asking their site visitors to complete a short three-minute online questionnaire. They use the questionnaire in conjunction with a perceptual framework and solution we have branded as the webValidator. Our clients use the webValidator to engage actual web site visitors to capture their perceptions of their actual web site visit. Visitors give their subjective opinion of their personal experience with the web site by responding to the online questionnaire comprised of three sections:
- Visitor profiling provides the dependent variables for our analysis and describes the groups.
- Web site attribute ratings provide the multivariate response structures to the value proposition for our analysis.
- Open-ended questions add insight to the overall processIf you define goals, collect consumer preference data, and make a plan to address the needs of your most valuable visitors/customers, you are on your way to a useful segmentation strategy.
Customer segmentation is not new to the hospitality sector. The creation of some of the most well known and profitable Luxury, Upscale, Extended Stay and Budget brands are a direct result of customer segmentation strategies.