Retail Marketing Online: Segment Customers into Lifestyle Groups

internet marketing - customer targeting

A strategy that’s picking up speed in the retail world is lifestyle marketing. Put simply: it’s the practice of marketing around a particular lifestyle, not just a particular product or service need.

Local Retail Marketing OnlineMany stores that engage in lifestyle marketing, such as Urban Outfitters, Anthropology, Buckle, Aeropostale and Hot Topic, are posting positive results in the last several quarters – during a time when not many publicly traded retailers posted a comp store increase of any kind.

What makes these stores different? If you walk into any of these retailers, you’ll instantly notice that the focus isn’t on a particular type of product; it’s on a particular attitude or mindset. They are squarely aiming at people looking to live a very particular kind of lifestyle. They may primarily sell apparel and accessories, but you’ll also notice furniture, books, knick-knacks, décor, and more.

At a typical store, you’re more likely to find all the shoes in one area, the shirts in another, and the jewelry in yet another. But in a store focused on lifestyle marketing like Hot Topic, you’ll often find shoes, shirts, and jewelry (even those aimed at different genders) organized by interest. Maybe video game items are in one area, and vampire items are in another.

Nordstrom’s is another retailer that is taking a lifestyle approach, particularly through their internet marketing. Their newly redesigned site doesn’t just share info on their products and promotions, but also includes editorial features that provide a more magazine-like experience for their consumers. They have also made it easy for people to reserve products in a nearby store, tapping into location-based marketing. The results of the strategy were an 8% increase in sales.

Incorporating Lifestyle Marketing into Your Business Plan

Lifestyle marketing led to a powerful retail presence for these brands, and it can do the same for your business as well.

The difference from product-based marketing is in your approach. You’ve started developing your internet marketing plan by asking this question:

  • “If this is my product or service, who am I selling to?”
But now you can ask,
  • “I am selling to a customer seeking this type of lifestyle. What types of products or services are they interested in?”

Armed with your customer profiles, you are able to segment customers into lifestyle groups. For instance, I work with a bike company whose customers fall into two main groups:
  • Performance-oriented bikers typically over 40 with a higher discretionary income who ride in groups for exercise or by themselves
  • Comfort-oriented bikers usually under 40 who ride with family members
Knowing this, we changed the layout of the store. Previously, it focused on keeping similar products together: the bikes in one area, the helmets in another, etc. The new layout split the store in half by lifestyle. We followed a similar approach with all print and internet marketing efforts.

The results were clear. The new design made it easier for customers to locate the products that had the features and price points that they were interested in, and it aided in their ability to “upsell” additional products that would have been more difficult to locate in the previous layout. Overall, the change led to increased sales.

With retail store marketing online, you can implement a new strategy relatively quickly and directly measure the results.  If you are not accurately addressing a lifestyle group’s needs, you can make adjustments to improve your returns.  It is also a valuable strategy for improving search rank, since you often yield better search results by focusing on more specific keyword terms and niche topics.

Growth using a lifestyle marketing approach isn’t completely dependent on locating new customers, but also offering customers a broader range of products and services, encouraging a higher profit per transaction. This is particularly valuable for local marketing since the customer base of location-based retail businesses is often limited by a specific geography.

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Posted: 2/6/2014 8:49:35 AM by Shep Morrow