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  • Writer's pictureAminu Hashim

The art of Scoping in Customer Segmentation

A creative interpretation of your five senses — sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste — can provide an easy means of identifying your ideal customers. These tools of identification are the easiest to use and remember. The key to using these tools to identify your customers is that all your sensory responses should be in alignment, giving you a consistent message.

Sight When you picture customers coming through the front door of your store, what do you see? Use your sense of sight (real or imagined) to help you envision your ideal customers:

  • Personal appearance: What do your ideal customers look like? Do their jeans sag to their knees, or do they wear neatly pressed suits? Do they have strands of pearls around their necks, or do they sport nose rings?

  • 􏰁Personal possessions: What kinds of things do your ideal customers own? Do they drive luxury cars, or do they get around in broken-down jalopies? Do they struggle under the weight of worn backpacks, or do they carry executive briefcases?


Use your sense of sound to help you imagine your ideal customers. You can consider this sense in the following two ways:

  • 􏰁Speech: What do your ideal customers sound like when they speak? Do their voices seem refined, or do they sound uneducated?

  • Music: What kinds of music do your ideal customers listen to? Do they buy Nine Inch Nails CDs, or do they love their Barry Manilow records?


People often remark that something “just feels right.” As a retailer, you want to attract the customers that feel right to you — and you want your store to feel right to those customers. Also, keep in mind the feel of anything (fabric, metal, glass, china, and so on) that your ideal customers could be associated with.


Because we associate particular smells with certain types of customers, you need to know what you want your ideal customers to smell like — and what smells you want your ideal customers to like:

  • Customer scent: What fragrance emanates from your ideal customers? Are they “ripe” from hard physical labor, or have they just sprayed themselves with expensive perfume?

  • Store aroma: What will your ideal customers think of the way your store smells? Will they be attracted to it? Think of a bakery or of a leather goods store — their smell is part of their ambience.


For the purposes of this discussion, taste refers to the preferences of your ideal customers — and you want to attract customers with distinct tastes. (I know that “taste” used in this way isn’t really one of the senses, but let me stretch here a little.) What kinds of merchandise, service, setting, location, selection, price, and ambience do your ideal customers prefer? Do your cus- tomers’ tastes match your tastes? If so, you can be sure that you’ve identified your ideal customers.

Filtering the results to find your ideal customers

The 8 key elements of tetail are another tool that you can use to identify your ideal customers. Push the ideas you have of your customers through these 8 fundamental elements as follows:

  • 􏰁Product: What type of customer is likely to buy the merchandise that you plan to sell? Is there another store in the area that carries similar products? If so, what type of customer does that store attract?

  • 􏰁Presentation: What type of customer would feel comfortable in your store’s atmosphere — be it trendy boutique or bargain warehouse?

  • 􏰁Procedures: What kind of customer would be drawn to the procedures you plan to implement in your store — be they time saving or customer pampering?

  • 􏰁Pricing: What kind of customer would be attracted by the prices that you plan to set for your merchandise?

  • Promotion: What type of customer would respond to the advertising that you’re planning — be it price-slashing or image-boosting?

  • 􏰁Profitability: What type of customer will enable you to afford the cost of implementing your business plans — whether they include unique dis- plays or extra business hours?

  • People: What type of customer is likely to relate to your personnel, who share your business vision?

  • 􏰁Brand: What type of customer is likely to be attracted to your brand — whether it focuses on value or status?

Take a minute to write down a few words that describe what these customers are like. I’m not saying that you can’t change your mind at this point — but if you do change your mind, be sure to do so consciously. Different types of customers can sometimes look equally appealing, so unless you’re sure of what customers you want to attract, you could be fooled. After you’ve determined what kinds of customers you want to serve, never waver — doing so will weaken your brand!

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