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Clustan software is widely used for customer relationship management, or CRM.  The essence is to identify lifestyle, fashion and trend clusters amongst your customers, and then use that information to manage your relationship with them in a customer-centric way.  Cluster analysis is a tool which can help you analyze your customer information more effectively, so you can focus on what the customer wants.

Since you have arrived here, you must be an Internet user by definition.  No doubt you receive spam.  Chances are, you get irritated by it.  So much so that when you receive those rare e-mails which actually address your personal needs and interests very precisely, then you react much more positively to them.

Customer-centric organisations on the Internet need to know much more about their customers and be far more specific in addressing them, if they are to succeed.  Particularly in e-commerce, where the lifecycle of many future Internet products will be measured in hours rather than months or years.

Companies therefore need to react quickly, and with knowledge about their customer base, or risk customer loss.  The customer-centric approach involves knowing your customers' critical service, product and information needs, and managing your relationship with them.  It involves developing multiple service channels and targeting sales and information more accurately.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

With apologies to Muhammad "The Greatest" Ali, this is where Clustan comes into the frame.  Dump the blunderbuss ... trash those tired fliers ... recycle that mass mailer ... review your advertising.  This applies especially in e-commerce, where it's oh-so-easy to hit the delete button without ever reading the spam.

Clustan helps you organize your customer base hierarchically into nested sales channels.  Our starting point is to identify types of customers, and their critical needs.  Next, focus on your most profitable clusters.  Identify their critical needs, and why they are profitable to you.  Hone your marketing more specifically in these directions.  Talk to your best customers in each cluster, to understand how they view your company's products and services.  What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how can you capitalise on your key strengths.

Have a look at the customer clusters which represent poor performance or high costs.  Does the profitability justify the investment?  Can they be converted to more profitable customers?  Perhaps it's time to move some of them on.

By targeting your key customers and their critical needs, your new product design will be much more focussed.  So will your sales channels, and with e-commerce you can test a new product much more effectively in a short time.