What SaaS Companies Can Learn from Customers at the Mall

A couple months ago, I found myself at the mall sitting down and waiting for my family to finish their shopping. Unconsciously, I started to observe people walking in-and-out of stores. Specifically, in my line of sight, was the Apple store and had got me thinking about the different types of customers walking in-and-out of the notable glass doors.

I soon began to see these types of people going in-and-out of the store:

  • People who went in to the store and came out fast with a bag in hand compared to other customers.
  • People who browsed the store and didn’t purchase anything
  • People who were learning at the Genius bar
  • People who were being educated on a product and then buying a product

I realized that these different types of people were in fact different types of customer segments of an in-store experience:

  • The customer who is just browsing
  • The customer who is actively searching for a solution
  • The customer who is discovering something for the first time
  • The customer who has domain knowledge of the landscape

The Parallels Between the Real World and the Web

As someone who builds and designs software my mind was naturally thinking about parallels between this real world scenario I was observing to the digital world. I began to see that stores can be analogous to SaaS product company websites. The customer segments are the same but the medium is different. Although, both the real world and digital world exist to provide value and solve people’s problems.

From this insight, SaaS companies can learn a thing or two from this observation. Here are some examples of how these different customer segments can be satisfied when looking at a SaaS company’s website.

Customer Segments How a SaaS Company Can satisfy their Customer Segment The customer who is just browsing

  • Give them a good experience
  • Show why you exist and what value you provide to your customers
  • Knowledgebase articles
  • Industry tips and news

The customer who is actively searching for a solution

  • Show case studies that solves problems for customers that are like them
  • Make it easy to sign-up
  • Onboarding flow should be simple and efficient to allow them to achieve their goal and solve their problem.

The customer who has domain knowledge of the landscape and industry you’re in

  • Show them that you’re the leader in the space and understand your industry and its customers

In Summary

Your specific company may have a unique customer segment that you have to satisfy but the above is what I noticed to be the most common. Feel free to share your insights into how to satisfy different customer segments in the comments below.

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Originally published at blog.bottega8.com on December 17, 2014.

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