Essential Customer Segments for E-commerce – Part II

On Monday we posted an article focused on some of the most essential customer segments in e-commerce.

Without further ado, we want to share with you 5 more segments we consider worthy of your attention:

  • One-time buyers
  • Repeat buyers
  • Loyal customers
  • Big spenders
  • VIP customers




One-time buyers have a lot of potential, and, if you approach them properly, you can turn them into loyal brand advocates.

To do this, you need to win their trust – approach them with interest and understanding, be helpful and available and make irresistible offers, such as:

  • A small second-purchase-only discount, let’s say 5%, on products related to the ones they bought. For example, if you have an online store for snowboard and ski equipment and you have a few customers who have recently purchased a jacket from you, it might be a good idea to send them links to matching pants. Why not offer them free delivery too?
  • Bigger discount – for example, 10 or 15% – in exchange for a review or feedback: you could ask if everything was okay with the delivery or if there was something you could have done differently to improve their user experience.

Before promoting new products to your one-time buyers, you might consider asking them for feedback first. This way, you will know whether they were happy with their purchase:

  • If they were, there is no point in waiting, you could just offer them an incentive and turn their interest into a second purchase immediately.
  • If there was a problem, act on it – solve it if it is still relevant, send them free accessories or complimentary products, offer them a discount for their next order and ensure them that you will do everything in your power to improve their customer experience in the future.
    For example, if you sold them a software, ask whether it met their expectations. In case there is a problem, you could offer them additional support. Or, if they need more features, you could offer them a premium plan at a discount.




There is a thin line between your repeat buyers and your loyal customers: the number of their orders.

Usually, a customer is considered loyal after they have  made 3 or more purchases.

This means that your repeat buyers are just one order away from becoming loyal customers.

So, it is time for you to start nurturing them in more attentive and exclusive ways such as:

  • Special personalized offers only they can take advantage of: for example, you could offer them powerful discounts on selected products, such as, “buy two items from a specific category and get the second one with 25% off”.
  • Additional support – be proactive. Instead of waiting for the customers to come to you with a problem, approach them first and ask if there is something you can do for them. You could also enable live chat for them or phone support if you have the resources.
  • Engage them on social media – ask them to share a photo of the products they bought from your store with a relevant hashtag. You could offer them a small incentive in return – free delivery or a small discount on their next purchase. This way, they will feel special and you stand a chance to turn them into permanent advocates of your brand.




They expect from you to understand them, solve their problems and tend to their needs. In other words, they would like to get special treatment in return for their loyalty.

Here is how you can provide them with a high-quality customer experience:

  • Identify their shopping habits and patterns.
  • Use this knowledge to predict what they might need in the future and when they might need it.
  • Analyze the data you have about them and send them highly relevant offers at the best possible times.

For example, if your online store offers cosmetics and you have a big client – let’s say a beauty studio, – who frequently buys your products, it could be a good idea to:

  • Regularly send them offers for new products from their favorite brand or the brands they buy from most often.
  • Offer them other relevant products they might be interested in.
  • Offer them better deals when they buy wholesale.
  • Understand how often they shop from you and remind them when it’s time to make a new purchase.
  • Regularly send them free accessories and complementary products as a thank you for choosing your store.
  • Offer to send them new products for free so that they could test them and give you feedback – this will make them feel special and appreciate you more for trusting their judgement. On this ground you could build mutual trust and nurture long lasting relationships.

All in all, you should cherish and spoil your loyal customers.

Here are more ways to do this:

  • Notify them beforehand when you are about to upload new products to your website that they might be interested in – you could send them a “coming soon” themed emails with images and brief descriptions of the products. This type of content could be a good way to keep the interest of your buyers high as they will know there is something good coming up in the future. Creating a closed facebook group for the same purpose could also be beneficial. This will also make them feel special. And, after all, they are to you.
  • Offer them permanent discount cards they could use for all the products your store offers.
  • If you are running a sale on selected items why not offer them an additional discount on top of these. I, for example, as a loyal customer of one of my favorite online board shops, was recently offered such a discount, which was 20% on top of all sale items. Needless to say that this immediately resulted in large sum of money leaving my credit card.
  • Congratulate them on their birthdays or registration anniversaries with special gift cards or vouchers – adding a personal touch is essential for keeping the spark between your loyal customers and your brand alive. Why not send them a hand written card with a birthday wish and a thank you note for being a loyal customer.
  • Send their orders with priority and be sure to answer all their questions in a timely fashion.

Your loyal customers are the customer segment you can always count on.

They are your brand advocates who constantly bring more visitors and customers your way. Therefore, asking them for a review or engaging them on social media could also be beneficial. Keep in mind that 92% of the people will be more likely to trust your store and make a purchase, if they see that other people are recommending your product and are happy with your service (via Content Marketing Institute).




They differ from your loyal customers in the following ways:

  • Loyal customers do not necessarily spend a lot of money on your website.

Remember that a loyal customer is a person who has made 3 or more orders. He could have spent $1.000 on all of them but he could also have spent no more than $100, for example.

Big spenders, on the other hand, are the customers who have spent considerably larger amounts of money at your store.

However the amount, above which a customer is considered to be a big spender, is entirely up to you and depends on the industry, the products you are selling and their average cost.

Let’s say you have an online store for clothes and the average item on your website costs between $50 and $200. You could, then, consider your big spenders to be the customers who have spent more than $1.000 at your store.

But if you have an online store for high-end products – let’s say you sell watches all of which cost more than $1.000 – your big spenders could easily be the people who have spent more than $10.000, for example.

  • Another difference is that the big spenders do not necessarily have a lot of orders – a customer could have made only one purchase and still be qualified as a big spender because of its total.
    So, a big spender may or may not come back to your website. If he does, it might be after a long time and there is no way for you to predict when.

However, since your big spenders are high value customers, it is a good idea to learn as much as possible about their interests and shopping habits.

You could do this by analyzing:

  • What kind of products or categories they are looking at – you could even try and find out what keywords they used.
  • What kind of products they buy – did they purchase a few expensive products or a lot of cheaper ones?
  • How many orders they have made?
  • If they have made more than one order, was there a pattern?
  • How they reached your website in the first place – was it through an email campaign, an ad, a link shared on social media, etc.

When you have this information about your big spenders, you could send them targeted and highly relevant offers in the future. This way, they are more likely to return to your store.

You could also optimize your website in such ways, that it is easily reachable and appealing to future big spenders – for example, given that you know what kind of keywords your existing big spenders used, you could use more of them in the descriptions of your products. Or, you could promote some of the products they have shown interest in.

You need to understand what motivates your big spenders to spend money at your online store. You could do this through a customer survey targeted solely to this segment: ask them why they bought the product in the first place, what they use it for, what they like or don’t like about it, how it has improved their business/strategy/life.

When you know what ticks with your big spenders, what makes them hit the “buy” button, you could develop and execute a strategy that would encourage the rest of your customers to behave like them. Which, ultimately, will lead to increasing your average order value and revenue.




On average, the top 10% of a company’s customers produce about half of its revenue. So, in terms of profit and business growth, these are your most valuable customers.

You can think of your VIP customers as both loyal customers and big spenders because:

  • They have made more than the average amount of orders.
  • They have spent more than the average amount of money.

So, you should treat them accordingly.

What you could do is use the suggestions we gave above for best practices to approach your loyal customers and big spenders. But you should put extra thought, extra care and extra resources into nurturing your VIP customers. For example, you could:

  • Offer them better deals on high-end products.
  • Offer them permanent discount cards with higher percentages – 10 or 20%, for example.
  • Talk to them personally on the phone or chat, if you have the resources. VIP customers are the ideal target for a one-on-one marketing strategy – it might be too expensive to implement it everywhere, but you should definitely consider applying it to this segment.




We believe the customer segments listed in part I and II of this article could play an integral role in any e-commerce success story.

You could think of them as the foundation of YOUR successful marketing strategy. On it, you can skillfully start growing your online business.

Keep in mind that your customers are the secret ingredient to your success. So, let their behavior be your guidance and treat them right.




BE INFORMED & MAKE YOUR DATA WORK FOR YOU – use individual customer tracking to understand your customers better and act accordingly. Remember what Einstein said: “Any fool can know. The point is to understand”.

USE THESE INSIGHTS TO SEGMENT YOUR CUSTOMERS – powerful customer segmentation is the foundation of relevant marketing messages: use it to target your customers with utmost precision and send them the right offer at the right time.

MAKE IT PERSONAL – personalize your messages for the best possible results. Remember, if you can do this, you will not only excel in e-commerce, you will be a superhero for your customers.







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