Consumer Segmentation Gone Wrong

Don’t get me wrong. I know why they do it. Company’s want to make sure that when someone visits their website, the site is as relevant as possible. They want to ensure that what you see on their website is what you’ll see in the store. But, things have gone just a bit too far for me. For instance, Home Depot won’t even let me look at their website unless I tell them my zip code. Are they not aware that zip codes are PII (personally identifiable information)? They don’t even give you an option to see a generic site. Your only option is to lie, something I’m completely against given I am an expert in survey data quality. So basically, when I shop around, I don’t end up buying at Home Depot.

Here’s another example. Cheerios won’t let me look at their site unless I tell them my age and how old my children are. Sure, I could just choose one of the four sites that I think would be most interesting, but dang it, I just want to see their website. Where’s the generic site for people who want to maintain some sense of privacy, the site where people know their demos aren’t being tracked? Nowhere that I see.
Segmentation is a great tool. It lets you understand people better and provide better services. But please, don’t segment me out of your store. Unless you don’t want my money.

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  • 3 responses

    1. That’s not the only reason they do it. Companies like home depot, canadian tire, , all have prices that vary by a specific area’s competition.

      In any case, like any good respondent – you could always lie.

    2. So would a ZIP code count as something a 12 year old could not enter in a website?

      For Cheerios, it is all about sending the (self-selected) targeted message. I suppose it simplifies the experience for most users, but if I want nutritional information, where do I go?

    3. That’s not segmentation. You don’t ask “consumers” to segment themselves.

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