In the world of eCommerce, customer segmentation plays a crucial role in understanding your audience and improving the lifetime value (CLV) of your customers. One popular method of customer segmentation is RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Value) analysis. In this article, we will delve into the basics of RFM segmentation, its importance, and some practical examples to help you boost your eCommerce marketing efforts.

What is Customer Segmentation in eCommerce?

Customer segmentation involves dividing your customer base into different groups based on shared characteristics, such as demographics, behavior, or purchasing habits. By segmenting your customers, you can create more targeted marketing campaigns, improve customer experience, and increase customer retention.

Overview and Importance of RFM Segmentation

RFM segmentation is a widely used method for dividing customers based on three key factors:

  1. Recency: When the customer last made a purchase.
  2. Frequency: The total number of times a customer has purchased from you.
  3. Monetary Value: The total amount spent by the customer.

Understanding your customers' RFM scores allows you to identify your most valuable customers, streamline customer acquisition, and focus your marketing efforts on high-value segments. This can result in increased conversions, better customer experience, and improved return on investment (ROI).

Basic Concept of RFM Scoring

RFM scoring involves assigning a numerical value to each customer based on their Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Value. The values usually range from 1 to 3 or 1 to 5, with higher values indicating better performance in that category. Once customers have been assigned RFM scores, you can group them into segments for targeted marketing strategies.

Here's an example of how to score customers using a 1 to 5 scale:

Recency: Calculate the number of days between the most recent purchase date and the current date. Assign a score from 1 to 5 based on the following ranges:

  • 1: 91-365 days (least recent)
  • 2: 61-90 days
  • 3: 31-60 days
  • 4: 8-30 days
  • 5: 0-7 days (most recent)

Frequency: Calculate the total number of purchases for each customer. Assign a score from 1 to 5 based on the following ranges:

  • 1: 1 purchase (least frequent)
  • 2: 2 purchases
  • 3: 3 purchases
  • 4: 4 purchases
  • 5: 5+ purchases (most frequent)

Monetary Value: Calculate the total revenue generated by each customer. Assign a score from 1 to 5 based on the following ranges:

  • 1: $1 - $100 (lowest value)
  • 2: $101 - $300
  • 3: $301 - $500
  • 4: $501 - $1,000
  • 5: $1,001+ (highest value)

With the RFM scores assigned, you can now create customer segments based on these scores.

In fact, there are several scoring methods proposed for RFM analysis, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some methods include the percentile-based approach, statistical methods, and custom score ranges. Some of these methods are more practical and straightforward, while others require a more professional approach with statistical modeling.

The percentile-based approach involves dividing the customer base into percentiles, such as quartiles or quintiles, based on their Recency, Frequency, and Monetary scores. This method is relatively easy to implement and allows for quick comparisons between customers. However, it may not be as precise or tailored to your specific business needs.

Statistical methods, such as using standard deviations or z-scores, involve a more rigorous approach to RFM scoring. These methods take into account the distribution of scores and can provide a more accurate representation of customer behavior. However, they require a deeper understanding of statistics and may be more complex to implement.

Custom score ranges allow you to assign RFM scores based on your own criteria and business requirements. This method provides more flexibility and can be tailored to suit your specific needs. However, it requires a good understanding of your customer data and may not be as standardized as other methods.

In conclusion, each RFM scoring method has its own pros and cons. The best approach for your business will depend on your specific goals, resources, and level of expertise in data analysis. It's essential to choose a method that aligns with your business needs and provides actionable insights to help you make informed marketing decisions.

First, Let's Conduct an easy Two-Axis Analysis of R and F

When analyzing customer behavior using RFM scores, it's essential to understand that Frequency and Monetary values are typically closely correlated. This means that customers who purchase more frequently also tend to spend more. By conducting a two-axis analysis of Recency (R) and Frequency (F), you can gain insights into your customers' behavior patterns and develop targeted marketing strategies accordingly.

Two-Axis Analysis of Recency and Frequency

A two-axis analysis involves plotting Recency and Frequency scores on a two-dimensional graph. This visualization allows you to identify different customer segments based on their engagement with your business.

Below are some examples of customer segments that can be identified using this approach:

High Recency, Low Frequency: These customers have recently made a purchase but have not done so frequently. They could be new customers or those who have just started engaging with your business. To encourage repeat purchases and increase their loyalty, you can:

  • Offer cross-selling or upselling opportunities, showcasing complementary products or services.
  • Provide incentives, such as discounts or rewards, to motivate them to make additional purchases.
  • Create targeted marketing campaigns focusing on their specific needs and interests.

High Recency, High Frequency: These customers have both recently made a purchase and done so frequently. They are likely your loyal and valuable customers who contribute significantly to your revenue. To retain and nurture these customers, you can:

  • Provide personalized offers, recommendations, and promotions based on their preferences.
  • Offer exclusive benefits or rewards as part of a loyalty program.
  • Continuously engage with them through various channels to maintain strong relationships.

Low Recency, Low Frequency: These customers have not made a purchase recently and have a low frequency of purchases overall. They could be dormant or at risk of churning. To re-engage them and increase their lifetime value, you can:

  • Launch reactivation campaigns with special offers or incentives to encourage them to return.
  • Utilize retargeting strategies to remind them of your products or services.
  • Conduct surveys or gather feedback to better understand their needs and preferences.

Low Recency, High Frequency: These customers have a history of frequent purchases but have not made one recently. They might be at risk of churning or switching to a competitor. To win back their loyalty and prevent churn, you can:

  • Offer personalized promotions or incentives to encourage them to make a purchase.
  • Reach out to them through targeted marketing campaigns, emphasizing your unique value proposition.
  • Improve your products or services based on their feedback or any identified gaps.

By understanding the correlation between Frequency and Monetary and conducting a two-axis analysis of Recency and Frequency, you can identify patterns among your customers and develop targeted marketing strategies. This approach allows you to cater to their unique needs and preferences, improving customer satisfaction and ultimately driving revenue growth.

Types of Conventional Segment Names and Recommended Measures Based on RFM Scores

We will introduce the more detailed types of RFM segments that are conventionally used, along with examples of measures for each segment. Whether there is a need to segment in such detail depends on the scale of the store, but we are presenting it here for reference.


Champions are your best customers who have high RFM scores. To maintain their loyalty:

  • Reward them with exclusive offers or benefits.
  • Ask them for reviews and testimonials.
  • Offer them early access to new products or services.

Loyal Customers

These customers have high frequency and monetary scores. To retain them:

  • Up-sell higher value products or services.
  • Request reviews and referrals.
  • Engage with them through personalized gifts, cards, or even pizza!


Promising customers show potential but might need some extra attention. To nurture them:

  • Offer subscription or loyalty programs.
  • Provide personalized recommendations.
  • Ask for reviews and send personalized gifts or cards.
  • Make one-on-one phone calls to establish a relationship.

New Customers

New customers have recently made their first purchase. To make them feel welcomed:

  • Provide excellent post-sale support.
  • Offer early success incentives, like free gift cards.
  • Start building a one-on-one relationship through personalized communication.

Abandoned Checkouts

These customers have left items in their cart but haven't completed the purchase. To convert them:

  • Offer pre-sale support to address any concerns.
  • Start building a relationship to understand their needs.

Warm Leads

Warm leads have shown interest but haven't made a purchase yet. To engage them:

  • Reach out personally and provide proactive support.
  • Learn about their preferences and build a relationship.

Cold Leads

Cold leads have lost interest or haven't engaged in a while. To rekindle their interest:

  • Reach out personally through email or SMS.
  • Learn about their passions or problems and provide solutions.

Need Attention

These customers have low recency and frequency scores. To re-engage them:

  • Make limited-time offers to incentivize action.
  • Recommend new products or services based on their past purchases.
  • Attempt to re-sell or cross-sell.

Shouldn't Lose

These customers are at risk of being lost to competitors. To win them back:

  • Offer special deals and promotions.
  • Conduct surveys to understand their needs and preferences.
  • Maintain communication to prevent them from switching to competitors.


Sleepers are inactive customers who haven't engaged in a long time. To reconnect:

  • Send personal emails and messages.
  • Provide helpful resources and information related to their interests.


Lost customers have very low RFM scores and show little interest. To revive their interest:

  • Launch a reach-out campaign with personalized offers.
  • If efforts to re-engage them fail, consider focusing on other segments instead.

By understanding these conventional segment names and implementing the recommended measures, you can effectively tailor your marketing strategies to improve customer satisfaction, retention, and overall business success.


RFM segmentation is a powerful tool that can help eCommerce marketers better understand their customers and develop more targeted marketing campaigns. By grouping customers based on their Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Value, you can identify your most valuable segments and focus your efforts on retaining and acquiring similar customers.

If you are building your site on Shopify, you can install ECPower to manage RFM segments.

Please find detail on our product site: