For a 360-degree view of customers, track everything from search to conversion

‘Tis the season to analyze data. According to a survey by Google and Compete, consumers spent an increasing amount of time on retail sites as last year’s holiday season progressed, with the most intense engagement occurring around Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and post-Christmas weekends. During these weekends, consumers took time to research and take advantage of seasonal sales.

This seasonal uptick in research and interest makes it more important than ever for retailers to know how visitors interact with their Web site throughout the season, so they can track ROI and optimize for better user experience and conversion rates. Information such as where visitors came from, what they did on the site and whether they reached any of a retailer’s conversion goals is incredibly useful — and is easy to learn, with the help of analytics.

So during the holiday season, and always, we remind our customers to think. Here are some ideas: Take a look at the footprints of Web site visitors, noting how they arrived, where they clicked and how they departed. Harness the power of analytics data, in order to make the Web site and user experience more user-friendly. Integrate analytics information into other data sources, in order to conduct offline or other cross-functional analysis. Noodle over the effectiveness of various approaches, by comparing how metrics interact over time. Finally, carefully scrutinize what is working and what is not.

Customers are flying blind if they aren’t tracking their Web site’s performance with Web analytics, which doesn’t make for a happy holiday season. In the world of e-commerce, ignorance is not bliss, so those who don’t take advantage of analytics this year may be making it their New Year’s resolution for next year.
This article originally ran as part of the December 14, 2009 Technique, “Unleash the power of search and analytics.” To read the entire feature, click here.

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