Typologies for Ecommerce

Ecommerce is a big consumer of taxonomies and a poster child for the use of facets. How else can you serve (without the luxury of physical staff to guide a shopper) the diverse perspectives and needs that shoppers come with? However, online sellers often take the more obvious route of identifying facets around the material or price attributes of their products.

Here via “Taxonomist” of Albuquerque is a nice example of what I referenced in my book as a typology of users, used as a browsing/filtering facet: at beauty products site sephora.com you can filter your search for gifts by “personality” – Glamour Girl, Natural Girl, Spa Girl, Gadget Girl, Luxe Girl.

Here’s the connection between customer and market research and taxonomy: a typology derived from or reflecting how customers see themselves, makes a great facet, not just for filtering, but also potentially for primary navigation.

Hmm… would Taxonomist Girl go under Gadget or Luxe?

3 Comments so far

Matt Moore

I think there’s definitely an overlap between taxonomy categories, personas (in the IA sense) and market segments.

The question that pops up in my mind is the extent to which customers self-identify with the characters created. In this example, this is important. However in many market segmentation exercises, such self-identification may not be possible or even welcome.

Posted on March 16, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Comment permalink

Patrick Lambe

Why not Matt? And what are the implications for using them in taxonomies?

Posted on March 19, 2010 at 09:34 AM | Comment permalink

Matt Moore

Many powerful market segmentations are based on behaviour rather than demographics or psychographics - e.g. my credit card provider probably segments me as a “deadbeat” because I pay off my bill every month. That segmentation should affect the products and services it offers me.

However that behaviour is a small part of my identity. And just because I am frugal with my credit card repayments does not mean that I replicate the same behaviour elsewhere.

The example in the post is of a customer segmentation that actually aligns quite well with the self image of customers. Not all segmentations do this nor do they need to. A segmentation simply allows you to differentiate an offering in some way (large or small).

The implications of this are that some segmentations used to describe customers may be useful for internal taxonomies but not for external taxonomies or web-based UX.

Posted on April 17, 2010 at 09:52 AM | Comment permalink

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