VLČKOVÁ Vladimíra University of Pardubice

Spoluautoři LOŠŤÁKOVÁ Hana, PATÁK Michal

The present-day highly competitive environment on the product and service markets makes businesses change their standard strategies and seek new ways of serving the markets and creating a differentiated value for the customers through cooperation of the value network entities. An important role in these processes is played by market segmentation in accordance with the customers’ requirements and shopping behaviour on all markets, including the metals, metallurgic and metalworking products manufacturers’ market. Such market segmentation supports increased profitability not only of the enterprise itself, but also of the entire value network. Modern market segmentation methods are based on combinations of various segmentation criteria. These combinations can be identified by a detailed analysis of the customers’ behaviour, particularly of the fact what the customers buy and why. Subsequently, it is necessary to compile a profile of the defined market segments to be able, within the cooperation of the value network entities, to apply a differentiated market strategy towards these markets. The paper deals with the cluster analysis as the most widely used method for customer segmentation and the problems arising within standardization of the ordinal scales used for measurement of the customers’ preferences. It is because the commonly used standardization by conversion to the normal standardized distribution might lead to confusing outcomes. The paper analyzes such outcomes and also specifies how to face these problems.