Online Customer, Won’t You Be Mine?

“Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you.”

Every retailer should feel that way about their online customers, right? Especially in this economy. Stopping short of sending this traditional Valentine Day’s poem  to each and every customer or prospect (I tried this last year, and, it didn’t really help close business, though I did get some…err…rather interesting responses, and one restraining order <grin>), retailers can spread the love by getting to know their audiences a little bit better—in order to deliver promotions and merchandise that are most relevant to their individual lifestyles.

For retailers, knowing their online audience is just as important as gaining insight into those customers walking in the front door of a store. Basic audience website intelligence should involve examining:

• Who is visiting the site?
• How did they find out about the company, product, or site?
• What do they want from the site?
• How do they interact with the site?

Once retailers understand the make-up and behaviors of their audience, they can determine which online segments are useful, viable and profitable. They can then start “localizing” their messages accordingly. Segmenting an audience into smaller groups ensures each group receives the most relevant, personalized experience, information and offers. This will help visitors find the products and information they are looking for more quickly and help you monetize your web site.

Whether the goal is to create a “neighborhood store” feel online, reduce the rate of abandoned transactions, or drive traffic to retail store locations, there are a lot of affordable technologies out there which allow online merchants to perfect audience segmentation and targeting capabilities.

Without getting all gushy, retailers can take advantage of information gleaned from visitors’ IP addresses (IP Intelligence) to non-invasively learn a little more about their customers and prospects in order to make them feel special. Hey, it beats lame love poems. And, it will help you avoid the restraining orders… 🙂

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