DoubleClick: Analysis Tool Enhances Traditional Measures

DoubleClick is expected today to announce SiteAdvance, an analysis tool that the company claims allows merchants to bolster online sales and merchandising efforts by enhancing traditional direct marketing measurements.

Too often, retailers don't know whether responders to their e-mail campaigns become valuable customers, said Jonathan Heller, vice president of strategy at DoubleClick, New York. “And from a merchandising point of view, they know what products sold, but they don't know how different types of customers respond to different products, or if it's priced or promoted right.”

Dubbed SiteAdvance, DoubleClick's new Web-based subscription service aims to alleviate this problem for users of its DARTmail e-mail delivery service and its DART for advertisers ad-serving service.

Familiar measurements such as conversion rates and average order sizes can tell multichannel direct marketers what happened, but they don't explain why, Heller said. In the case of visitors who don't convert, a merchant may not know whether he lacks the right products or the products were priced too high.

On the other hand, “were they buried too deeply into the site and did I not display them well?” he said. “We think if all you know is what happened, you can't take action to make it better.”

SiteAdvance consists of four modules, available in bundles of two or more. Two of them, Site Statistics and Merchandising Effectiveness, are reportedly available now. DoubleClick claims that Campaign Effectiveness and Customer Segmentation will be available in November.

Site Statistics aims to tell merchants what types of people visit their sites, what paths they take through it and what they click on. Merchandising Effectiveness aims to tell merchants what is selling best, where it is selling and what types of customers are buying it.

SiteAdvance offers 15 customer segments, five of which are done automatically, 10 of which are customized for the client. The automatic segments are:

· Prospects: people who have been to the site once and did not buy.

· Browsers: people who have been to the site multiple times and did not buy.

· Instant customers: people who buy on the first visit.

· One-time customers: people who have been to the site multiple times, but bought only once.

· Repeat customers: people who have visited the site and bought multiple times.

“All of the reports in the system are sortable by those segments,” Heller said. “If you wanted to sort by people who did not buy, you can now cleanly look at the shopping process by the people who fell out of it and find at what point you lost them.”

For example, prospects jumping off on the shipping and handling page could signal to the merchant to test shipping and handling offers to prospects only.

SiteAdvance has been in beta with three DoubleClick customers, Crate & Barrel, J. Jill and Flax Art & Design. None of these firms was available to comment by deadline.

Heller would not disclose pricing but said the service is aimed at companies with sales of $10 million and up.

He also said the service is aimed at companies that “sell many different products to the same group of people over time and really care about recency, frequency and monetary value.” Catalogers and retailers are an obvious fit. However, downloadable-software merchants and travel sites are also on the SiteAdvance prospect list.

Privacy issues that have dogged DoubleClick in its other Internet-user tracking initiatives should not be an issue here, Heller said.

“We're an agent for you [tracking] information on your own customers in your own store, which is quite a different landscape than tracking a person traipsing across the Internet,” he said.

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