The sales business is all about knowing your customers, what they need, what they want, and what makes them buy. If your e-commerce site attracts a largely young, childless crowd, you are wasting your time adding baby products to your company line or hawking the kid-friendly products you already sell. Advanced analytics helps you get a better lock on your customers, so you can refine your inventory to better meet the needs of those who already buy.
Standard Analytics v Advanced Analytics
The difference between standard analytics and advanced analytics is like the difference between knowing you have a pest somewhere in the house and knowing you have a raccoon in the attic. With one, you know you have a visitor, and can make a reasonable assumption as to what that visitor is seeking, likely food, shelter or both. With the other, you know exactly what kind of visitor you have, and why the visitor is there. It is well-known that raccoons generally seek safe shelter in attics with the intent of finding safe havens for their fuzzy offspring.
In standard analytics, you know how many visitors come to your website, have an idea of the devices through which they access it, and know where they go once they are there. What does this really tell you, though? That your site gets some visitors, they look around, and some of them buy some things.
Your sales alone tell you that.
It’s beyond that where advanced analytics come into play.
Advanced analytics could be called Segmented Analytics, because segmenting is what advances the data returned.
Let’s say you want to know how many men and women come to your site, how many users access your site from cell phones, or how many come from your email campaigns. Your standard analytics do provide this information, but you must dig and compile to arrive at totals. By segmenting, you remove the need to compile the data yourself, a large chunk of the work, and free yourself up for more important business tasks.
If you have a site with multiple customer bases, you likely have categorized pages that lend to the segmenting of advanced analytics, such as separate “Women’s Clothing” and “Men’s Clothing” pages. You can create advanced data with these categories by creating two custom segments within your analytics program that uses the URLs fro the “Women’s Clothing” and “Men’s Clothing” as segmentation factors. Then, you can simply look at the numbers side by side for a quick comparison to see how much traffic you are getting on the male and female tracks.
Possibly one of the most important pieces of data you can know as an e-commerce retailer is where your site visitors originate. Do they come from web searches, from your social networks, or from those monthly newsletters you send?
Luckily, analytics companies recognize this need and provide the means of segmenting visitors in this manner. Pre-designed conversion segments show you how many of your visitors come from mobile sites, how many from the web-based browsers, and so on. If you want to segment even further – how many users come from iPhones versus how many from tablets, for instance – you can customize the segment to break the data down further.
Using the Data
Having segmented analytics is highly useful to your e-commerce success, but only if you know how you intend to use the advanced information provided. If you want to know how many men visit your site versus how many women visit your site, is it so you can put more effort into marketing to the less-responsive sex or so you can put more effort into attracting those consumers who are already buying.
It may well depend on the findings of your advanced analytics. If you divide the URLs of your website into male-friendly and female-friendly pages, for instance, and discover that your male-friendly pages get 90-percent of your site traffic, while your female-friendly pages with the exact same design return only 10-percent, the problem may be with design of the pages. Changing the appearance and the descriptions on the female-friendly pages may have a positive effect on traffic.
On the other hand, if your website traffic is a 50/50 split between male-friendly and female-friendly pages, and the sales show a 90/10 split, the problem is unlikely page design. The products you have for women may simply be that unappealing to consumers. Eliminating your women’s department and finding more products to change your site to a male-specific retail store may actually increase profits.
When looking at conversion rates, if you see that traffic from the web produces far more clicks than traffic from mobile devices, the problem may be in your mobile site design.
Knowing your site gets visitors is a relief, but until you know who those visitors are, you cannot take action to eliminate issues or increase sales. That is the main purpose of advanced analytics, to find problems areas and initiate solutions or to find areas of success and build upon them. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to have success in your e-commerce business.
You can’t catch a raccoon with a mousetrap.