Your e-commerce site is growing, and, thanks to some excellent content, inbound marketing and a focused SEO campaign, so is the traffic heading to it. This is a wonderful thing. But, now that the traffic you wanted for your website is headed your way, you need to turn curious browsers into paying customers. And that is a whole new battle.
Unless you sell a very, very specific niche item – which is rare – your new website traffic will consist of a variety of people (aka prospective customers) probably looking for different things. Let’s imagine you sell jeans. But you have jeans for men, women and kids of all ages. You (sensibly) sell these jeans in a wide range of sizes and cuts. But, to give each browser the customized experience reams of data says they are looking for, should you show them all the same homepage?
You could, but that data says if you customize their experience browsers are more likely to be turned into buyers. The tech is there to do this, but even then, how do you decide to who to show what? How do you now provide a unique experience to all these different users for their shopping intent?
The solution is closer than you think, it’s in the question. You need to cater to different browsing populations. Where most people fall down is that they really don’t understand who those people are, which is where website traffic segmentation comes in.
Understanding How To Segment Your Website Visitors
The good news is that there are a number of tools available to help you segment your website’s traffic (more about those later) but first let’s take a look at some of the most common -and effective – ways people choose to segment their website traffic.
This is probably the most commonly used form of website visitor segmentation, and possibly one of the easiest. Simply tracking visitors by their geolocation allows for personalization of things like language -and language nuances (UK vs US English, for example) currency and pricing.
Some companies get even more creative with this. Burton’s, for example, offer user’s a weather forecast – and suggest clothing based on that weather (cosy jumpers in the winter, cool t-shirts in the summer etc.)
Basic demographic information is also often used by all kinds of businesses to help make more basic personalization tweaks to their users experience on their website. For example:
Gender: Gender remains a big segmentation point, and not just in the apparel industry. Some companies, especially cookware and home goods companies, showcase different products that, while similar, their research shows better appeal to men vs women—for example, knives vs bread makers.
Age: Different age groups may even be buying the same product, but their expectations of it are often quite different, and some brands personalize their website experiences to better cater to those expectations and preferences.
Income: Income demographics are often used to determine a certain type of product or service browsers are likely to be looking for. Amazon, for example, whether you knew it or not, will sometimes charge their customers’ different pricing based on their geographic location and income information (they call this dynamic pricing, and many other retailers have begun following suit.)
Website Visitor Segmentation and Customer Technology
Audiences can even be segmented, and targeted differently, according to the technology they use to access your website. Why? Because research shows that users of different technologies often have different shopping preferences that can be predicted.
For example, research has shown that those shopping online making use on a desktop computer spend more per shopping session than those who are shopping via their mobile, which makes sense, as desktop shoppers are likely to have more time to browse.
An initial pioneer of this type of segmented pricing was Home Depot, a US home improvement chain. They ‘price steer’ visitors according to the platform they are viewing from, showing fewer and lower-priced goods to those accessing their site via a mobile device.
Yes, some choose to segment their website traffic according to the operating system they use. Many companies, including Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity adjust their pricing higher for those using the Mac OS vs Windows or Android users as research has shown for many years that OS users spend more and tend to have higher incomes. Browsers even sometimes make a difference, as some research suggests Firefox users – which are a small percentage of the browser market it should be noted – spend more on some things, especially tech and apparel than Chrome or Safari Users.
Website Traffic Segmentation By Traffic Source
The internet is huge, and there is an increasing number of ways that people might ‘find’ your website. Some may be direct browsers, sent via an email campaign; some may come via social media, others via PPC and some via a general Internet search for certain keywords or keyphrases. And (you guessed it) you can segment your audience based on this.
Traffic sources can give you a great deal of insight into the shopping needs and intents of users and allow for the following types of website audience segmentation:
PPC: It’s a standard golden rule of PPC advertising anyway, but if a person arrives at your site based on clicking on a PPC ad, they MUST be shown exactly what the ad offers.
Organic Traffic: When you know the type of content someone is interested in seeing, showing them more of the same to keep them engaged is almost a no-brainer. This information is often easiest to glean from social media posts.
As most of you will know each social site has its own core audience, and these differences can be leveraged as well, as is the case in the example below, from niche outfitter Famous Outfits, in which both the browser’s gender and the social site they arrived from are referenced:
You can make use UTM tags to track referral sources, individual posts and content types, and they will then help you build an even better picture of your users interests and buying intents.
5. Behavioral Attributes
The manner in which users behave when navigating your website can also be used to segment them. Here are a few examples.
Returning Customer Vs. New Customer
If they make no other segmentation considerations, every customer-facing website – especially a retail site – should segment their audience on this demographic and present content accordingly. It’s one of the best ways, especially for returning to make a user feel like they have forged a real connection with your brand, something that will promote further engagement and increased brand loyalty.
Logged In User Vs. Guest
Many brands have begun offering their users the chance to create an online account, even before they make a purchase. This is a great idea as it’s an excellent and very easy, way to gather the kinds of statistics you need to make some of the more detailed website traffic segmentations we’ve described.
However, to incentivize people to share what is very valuable (to you) information you will need to odder (or promise to offer to those yet to create an account) something valuable in return. Offering a percentage discount or free shipping offer are very popular and effective tactics used by companies across all kinds of niches right now.
What Can You Do About it?
As we mentioned earlier, there are some excellent tools that can be used to help you with your website traffic segmentation efforts. Here’s a look at some of the best of them.
The only choice here that is truly free. Google Analytics provides a wide variety of web analytics tools. Google’s customer segmentation tool provides key insights that help drive your Mobile App and Desktop website traffic segmentation goals and even your product evolution. The downside? It can be very hard to work with if you are a website analytics beginner or a person short on time.
One of the most popular paid customer analysis tools, kissmetrics offers a customer segmentation tool helps identify areas for improvement in your website layouts and your marketing strategy and increases conversion rates at every step.
Using Kissmetrics, you can build retargeting segments not just for website traffic but also for your email lists, and track almost any behavior or attribute and then tailor your products and services to suit.
Yandex is another customer segmentation tool that delivers all the features Google Analytics has to offer and then some, integrating heat maps as an extra feature. Yandex is useful to determine the nature of all kinds of website traffic and to evaluate user behaviour in real-time. Sessions are recorded though, allowing you to only view details of those that are of interest to you. With this method, you can even evaluate shifts in the activity level of various parts of the audience in terms of days and hours.
Website traffic segmentation is a proven, effective way to improve UX and boost your sales in general. But it is time-consuming and complicated, even when you use one of the tools we have mentioned. That’s why many choose to outsource the work.
The Pearl Lemon Convert team have years of combined experience in website traffic segmentation across all kinds of niches and have worked with both large and small brands to make use of it to improve their customers’ experience on their websites and boost their bottom line. Contact us today to discuss what we can do for you.