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You already know that approaching customers with a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy is far from a best practice. Visitors to your website differ by source, browser, purchasing habits, and other important attributes. If you are keeping tabs on your site analytics, this information is already in your back pocket—so put that information to work to improve your conversion rate! With website optimization tools, you can split traffic based on these characteristics and customize pages to maximize conversions. We call this approach visitor segmentation.

Creating Segments for Website Optimization

When practicing website optimization, leveraging customer segmentation provides a framework for running intentional, well-hypothesized experiments on your website that drive value. Experiment data you gather from specific visitor segments interacting with your site will help you to provide a more personalized, engaging experience. Visitor segmentation also expands the opportunities for you to explore different site variations, and then quickly refine those variations with specific types of site visitors in mind.

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For example, targeting mobile visitors versus non-mobile visitors provides a very granular understanding of how those people like to interact with your website on different devices. At property management company RentPath, segmenting based on mobile device type (iPhone, Android, and Blackberry) helped to confirm that their experiment results were not being skewed by one device type.

Here are 7 suggestions for custom segments to use in your A/B testing, and how to implement them in Optimizely. The key is to implement the segments that make the most sense for your organization. Depending on your experiment goal, it could make sense to combine some of these segments together.

7 Customer Segmentation Examples for Ecommerce Companies

  1. Visitor Tiers (Logged In vs. Guest Users, VIP Status, Repeat Shoppers vs. First-Time Visitors)

    • Why? Loyal visitors don’t behave the same way as first-time visitors, and should be treated accordingly. Once you have visibility into their behavior on second visits and beyond, you can optimize the experience of each segment.

    • How to do it: This type of data is often tracked via a cookie or window level javascript object. You can create this custom segment by having Optimizely look for the specific cookie or window-level javascript object.

  2. Users that have (or have not) completed an order in the last 30 days

    • Why?: A customer who purchased something several months ago could be tempted to purchase a new product with a promotional code. A customer who recently purchased might not need a special promotion to purchase again, as they already have your products top-of-mind.

    • How to do it: Once a customer makes a purchase, add them to the “Recently Purchased” segment and include a rough timeframe that they made the purchase (i.e. January, 2014) as a sub-segment. Using the optional 3rd parameter in the Optimizely Custom Segment API call, you can create a sub-segment to further refine your data.

  3. Top Purchasers (High Cart Value)

    • Why?: While we’re on the topic of identifying visitors who have purchased something from you before, what about those visitors that are most valuable to you? As little as 1% of your customer base can spend as much as the bottom 50% combined*. These visitors are definitely worth your time and you want to make sure that you’re optimizing their experience to the fullest.
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