An E-commerce Marketer’s Handbook of Customer Segments

As an e-commerce marketer, you may have come across the maxim “There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all marketing” one too many times. And this is no joke unless all the visitors to your e-commerce store are as thrilled as Becky from Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Confessions of a shopaholic gif

Since the e-commerce Gods aren’t that generous, you may have to put in a little extra effort to boost sales. This means you must bring your A-game to customer segmentation (also known as consumer segmentation). By segmenting, you divide your audience into identifiable groups of people with similar characteristics like gender, age, purchasing behavior, etc. In doing so, it’s easier for marketers like yourself to run targeted campaigns and drive personalized marketing.

Let’s go through 10 customer segments you can identify to implement customized segment marketing strategies.

  1. Segment by location
  2. Segment by order value
  3. Segment by sign-up source
  4. Segment by recent purchase history
  5. Segment by high purchasers
  6. Segment by cart abandonment
  7. Segment by inactive customers
  8. Segment by content subscribers
  9. Segment by favorites
  10. Segment by loyalty score

Note: We recommend using a marketing automation tool for customer segmentation– one that can filter by contact attributes and events will prove to be quite handy.

1. Geographic segmentation

If your e-store caters to visitors across the globe, it’s a no-brainer to segment your audience by location. 

This could be a great way to leverage sales during the holiday season. For instance, Thanksgiving in Canada takes place on the second Monday of October, whereas Thanksgiving in America falls on the fourth Thursday of November. So, if you assumed sending a Thanksgiving promotional offer to your entire customer base in November was a good idea, think again!

How to target them?

Create segments specific to a geographic location by applying a simple filter in your marketing automation tool.

Segment by locationSend personalized email campaigns that are tailor-made for individual segments.

Email campaigns that location specific

2. Segment by order value

An easy way to target customers with similar buying habits is to segment them by their average order value(AOV).

You could even bucket them into separate groups by less, medium, and high spenders.

Segment customers by their order value in FM

How to target them?

a. Recommend products that fit their price range

b. Ask for feedback

Ensure even the low to medium spenders on your website, don’t feel underappreciated. And, asking them for their feedback does the trick!

3. Target by sign-up source

There are plenty of ways visitors could be signing-up for your website. Ensure you track whether your subscribers signed up via your website, an event, your blog, social media, or from a purchase. Create segments for every sign-up source and devise specialized marketing campaigns directed to each segment. You could even analyze the visitor type and tweak the marketing strategy accordingly. 

Here are some examples:

a. Automate emails for new sign-ups:

Welcome email by Converse

b. Nudge recent sign-ups to make their first purchase:

Recent sign-up email

4. Recently Purchased Customers

Customers who just walked out of your online store after a purchase is a segment you should be tracking and engaging with faithfully. Why? They have your products top-of-mind. It won’t take much effort to get them to come back to your store (unless they had a bad shopping experience).

How to target them?

Filter contacts who have completed checkout.  Here, Purchase Successful is a custom event.

Note: Custom events are user-defined events to track the behavioral activities performed by your users on your website/app such as added to wishlist, added to cart, cart abandoned, payment failed, etc.

a. Send an email asking for a review of their recent purchase in exchange for a discount on the next purchase

Feedback email

b. Deliver a cross-sell/up-sell email campaign

recently purchased customer upsell campaign

5.  The big Bs (high spenders)

This is a segment of users who spends more money on your site than the average audience. They walk into your virtual store with high buying intent, so ensure you put in your best efforts to make it a pleasant shopping experience for them.

How to target them?

Create a marketing automation workflow for the segment of customers who place the most significant orders on your website for some time (ideally one month). Here are a few ways you could thank them:

a. Provide early access to new products/services

early access offer email

b. Offer premium products and special offers

Prime offers for high spenders

c. Treat them with irresistible offers on your website

Personalize your website with treats for your special segment. Take a look at this example:

website personalization

6. Cart Abandoners

If the top purchasers were your star segment, I bet cart abandoners are your least favorite.

I know it can be hard to see your customers abandoning their virtual shopping carts in spite of them having strong purchasing intent. This comes by no surprise since more than 70% of your shoppers are bound to abandon carts at checkout and, unfortunately, this is a number that has slowly been increasing in recent years. via

On the bright side, there are several ways you could recover from this.

How to target them?

1. Nudge abandoners through email

nCustomer segment udging abandoned users

Remember, the email you send to your cart abandoners must convince them to purchase the items they’ve left behind.

Cart abandonment email


b.  Create a segment of abandoners with cart value greater than a threshold

Apply a filter to create a customer segment with cart abandonment as the custom event to be tracked and assign a cart value threshold.

cart abandonment segment

Note: Cart value and currency are custom attributes. The threshold could vary from business to business.

Send personalized emails that are laser targeted to these abandoners. You could toss in a discount too. Here’s an example:

You can even set up your own abandoned cart drip email series with the help of your marketing automation tool. To know more about the email series, take a quick glance at this guide to marketing automation.

c. Alert mobile users about their abandoned carts through push notifications

cart abadonment push notification

7. Newsletter/E-book subscribers

If your site offers interesting, readable content, there’s a high chance that a bunch of visitors might have subscribed and engaged with them. A good practice would be to identify these subscribers and send them relevant emails or downloadables to stimulate them to purchase from your website.

How to target them?

Generate a custom segment for those customers or registered users that have downloaded an Ebook. This could be achieved by setting up a simple automation workflow on your tool. Here’s a sample journey created using Freshmarketer:

A workflow automation to send ebooks

Once you identify the customer segment, give them exclusive access to new products and services, insider tips, special offers, and much more.

newsletter subcriber email template

8. Inactive customers that need re-engagement

“Once a customer, always a customer!” – Chris Daffy

Unlike businesses operating on the SaaS model, e-commerce marketers have a better shot at reviving customers who have become idle by simply nudging them to give your store another visit. 

How to re-engage with them?

You could apply a filter for the contacts who haven’t been active on your site for a period that makes sense for your business. It could be anywhere between two months or up to a year even.

a. Drop a simple re-engagement email 

Here’s an excellent campaign by Blue Apron:


b. Ask for feedback based on their order history

Apply deep filters to achieve granular segments to generate the customer segment.

Inactive segment

Ask your customers for a review through a simple email. Amazon did a great job at this! Take a look:

Other ways to re-engage them include:

  • Offering a newer model of something they bought.
  • Send them a content piece about what they bought – how to use it better.

Here’s another quirky strategy:

c. Indulge your customers with a quiz!

If you have run out of ideas to re-engage your idle customers to get them shopping again, send them a quiz that leads them to offers, new products, and more!

Email quiz for e-commerce


9. Favoring the favorites

Allowing your customers to hit that ❤️ button for a product on display, gives them a reason to come back to your app/website more than one time and eventually make the purchase. It could also be used by your customers to bookmark a product for re-ordering. Either way, letting them favorite a product can boost sales.


Create segments of customers who have favorited the same product and, send personalized emails, motivating them to proceed to checkout.

10. The Loyalty game

Establishing an e-commerce loyalty program is effortless. Different businesses have different takes on a successful loyalty program strategy, but it all boils down to one motive- getting your customers to buy more.

Gamification email template

Have you ever heard of e-commerce gamification? Gamification is the process of increasing buyer retention by applying gaming principles that include succeeding at pre-defined challenges to gain rewards. In an e-commerce context, it means your customers have to complete actions like store sign-up, referring a friend, re-sharing on social media, writing a review, etc. The more activities they perform, the more points they accumulate and redeem to further make more purchases on your store.

Loyalty program rewards

Conclusion: Apart from the customer segments explained above, there’s a variety of filters that can be applied to generate micro-segments based on either your customer’s on-site behavior, purchase intent, or email engagement activities.

You could be tracking the lead source, creating micro-segments, applying filters, setting-up automated email series or a complex marketing automation workflow, keep tabs on your conversion with an all-in-one marketing tool like Freshmarketer.

Have a segment or a unique marketing strategy I might have missed? Drop a comment below or send me an email –