Even as we speak, you are leaving digital bread crumbs scattered all over the Internet, there for the taking by marketers. Nor do the details have to be anything particularly consequential to translate into a money-making opportunity.
For example: Orbitz has realized that customers who visit its site from a Mac tend to spend more money on hotels. The company is therefore adjusting its search results accordingly.
“Orbitz found Mac users on average spend $20 to $30 more a night on hotels than their PC counterparts, a significant margin given the site’s average nightly hotel booking is around $100, chief scientist Wai Gen Yee said. Mac users are 40% more likely to book a four- or five-star hotel than PC users, Mr. Yee said, and when Mac and PC users book the same hotel, Mac users tend to stay in more expensive rooms.”
Execs ‘fessed up to the Journal, but added that users can tinker with their search results so they’re ranked by price. Nor are they assigning two different prices to the same hotel room.
OK, Mac users, we can all admit that this isn’t exactly surprising, right? This is a safe space, where we can all acknowledge that maybe something without a pretty, pretty user interface would have gotten us to the Internet just as fast as that Air.
Nor is Orbitz the only retailer looking to capitalize on these techniques:
The effort underscores how retailers are becoming bigger users of so-called predictive analytics, crunching reams of data to guess the future shopping habits of customers. The goal is to tailor offerings to people believed to have the highest “lifetime value” to the retailer.
In fact, we can think of a few sites that might benefit from just straight ripping off Orbitz’s Apple strategy. For example:
- American Apparel, because hipsters love hoodies.
- FreshDirect, because yuppies love fancy cheeses.
- Etsy, because graphic designers love putting a bird on it.
- Bloomingdales, because hey, Carrie Bradshaw used one.