Information Week Interviews Pierre DeBois of Zimana: Change and Community in Analytics

In May 2017, Zimana founder Pierre DeBois was interviewed at InteropITX in Las Vegas.    Pierre stopped by the Information Week News desk to speak with Jim Conolly, Executive Managing Editor, offering his insights on All Analytics, an analytics online community, and on the state of business intelligence today.

You can also check out an article Pierre specifically wrote for Information Week. The post focuses on the growing shift in retail to mainstream e-commerce. It examines Amazon and compares its status in retail today against Sears, a stalwart department store which had a similar ascendancy in its heyday.

You can read the article,  Amazon and Sears – Tales of Two Retailers, here.

Webrooming and BOPIS: Digital Retail Tips For Your Website, Your Analytics, and Your Business

Many retailers are realizing that a website is not a billboard or a brochure, a static object that just says that your business exists.  A site is meant to be an extension of your business.   That means it must connect to customers who are researching products and services online prior to a purchase decision.

For years consumers have been web rooming, an online customer behavior of researching products and services before going to the store.   Web rooming behaviors can include searching multiple retailers online, making price comparisons, and reading user reviews, all while  in-store before a purchase.

It differs slightly from showrooming. Showrooming involved the same in-store behavior in which customers compare prices and research features, but the activity is done in-store  instead of at home, again leading to a purchase online.    This Detroit 7 news report back in 2012, during the start of show rooming trend, notes why customers grew to like the practice and the fears of retailer future at that time. They found better pricing in stores that they could not see online,  instant gratification of making the purchase right there in the store, and the avoidance of expedited shipping costs (although more retailers are offering free shipping).

Webrooming and show rooming evolved into different consumer behaviors which emphasized smartphone usage and personal convenience. Today there is  BOPIS (Buy Online Pay In Store)  and BORIS (Buy Online Return In Store), in which customers shop at home and then pick up their item (or return it).

BOPIS and BORIS represent additional opportunities to interact with consumers, which in turn leads to additional branding and sales.  BOPIS and BORIS trigger cross device usage, an activity that marketers must account in their strategies.

The payoff is significant to creating sales. eMarketer shared a JD Software report that noted  “half of all internet users had bought online and then picked up the item in a store at least once in the preceding 12 months.” The article further notes this trend “was up from just 35% in 2015.”  You can read more about it here in this eMarketer article: https://retail.emarketer.com/article/bopis-continues-grow/596541c5ebd40005284d5cb7

So how do marketers address these behaviors?  The first starting point is learning how these behaviors impact an analytics reporting strategy.  The following lists notes what analyst should be able to show in their reporting to understand behaviors like show rooming and :

  • Analysts must examine visits attributed to within store (show rooming)
  • Analysts must identify visitor segments that indicate online products and service research, combined with navigation to pages and buttons that support store activity such as purchase in-store or make-an-appointment.
  • Analysts must understanding how web rooming / show rooming site visitors are contributing to a goal (download, specific page, an action).
  • Analysts must developing detailed analysis of eCommerce reports to determine what products and services are regularly sought, and use some of device reports to note what share of smartphones and tablets are being used by website visitors.
  • As a consequence, the marketing team has to develop remarketing messages that supports web rooming and show rooming tactics

If these steps are not clear from the get-go, there are a few settings and adjustments that any business, from small business to the largest retailer, can make.

For starters, analysts can  consider setting an IP filter for the site traffic that takes place within your place of business. This setting will segment traffic that is contributing to conversions.

To do so start with an IP address at the retail locations – open up a browser at the site WhatismyIP to take a quick look at the IP address for a given location.

After checking the IP address, analysts can then set the analytics solution to highlight the desired segment. Several ways exist to do this, such as:<

  • A custom report in a web analytics solution that displays results that include the filter.
  • A comparison of filter traffic against industry metrics in the benchmark dashboard
  • Consider a cohort analysis when not able to identifying a segment of traffic is difficult. Start with event dates and see how purchase behavior changes by products, services, or other sales knowledge.  Examining the data can lead to new ideas about what customer segments are regularly converting, and can spark ideas of how to follow up.

To get your retail locations engaged with webrooming and showroom customers, consider the following as appeals to customer wants:

  • Emphasize in a remarketing ad or email that customers can order ahead of time, skipping crowded peak times and lines extended by in store returns
  • Use a display monitor in the store to provide more information on a product or service.
  • Pay attention to how customers purchase – that can guide decisions for data layer information used for tag managers and website schema.  Most analytics rely on JSON pairs that describe products, while schemas can use metadata which search engine can pick up readily.   For eCommerce this means reviewing product analytics reports to see what is being selected when web rooming and show rooming occurs.
  • Consider reward programs to sustain interest beyond a sales event.

Overall marketers must plan for effective cross device strategies to not only keep up with customers, but to retain them as well.

Avoiding Call To Action Errors – A Small Business Trends Infographic

Our friends at Small Business Trends, created an infographic that highlights how call to action (CTA) is sometimes not much of  a call and creates little action.  CTA is an essential component in analytics. CTA is what creates a click, and drives the purpose behind an analysis.  What traffic actually clicked? What’s the significance?

Moreover, CTA must be optimized.  The phrases used as a CTA are tested in A/B tests.  Improving CTA is linked to driving downloads of an app or purchases from a cart. And there are a lot of factors to what makes a CTA successful.

Take a look at the infographic below to learn how businesses drop the ball on CTA.  For more small business news, follow Small Business Trends.

Calls to Action Data

Social Media Tips: 10 Best Ways To Generate Traffic for Your Blog

Boston Traffic Social Media
Boston traffic is a great metaphor for traffic flow, but for digital, you must make plans to make that traffic happen. Social media is perfect for those plans.
After every website launch, there should be a plan for generating traffic to a site. Especially if that site is a blog.
So the magic question is: How does one build visitor interest in their blog?
Well, fortunately a lot of ways exist to build traffic.  The key for selecting the right way is to  for a small business or organization, here are a few starter was to get that traffic going!
  • Submit site posts to content aggregator – AllTop, Growth Hackers, Hacker News and inbound.org are starting places to share content, Many of these will syndicate content, meaning that the posts will show on their networks. Allot, for example, will tweet posts
  • Create a video version of a blog topic – from YouTube to Facebook Live, you can create a live version for
  • Social Media sharing syndication is a long word, but it serves an important purpose.  It can automate new posts and ensure that they are available for other to see later.  dlvr.it and IFTTT are examples of these syndication tools.
  • Dedicate an email to a post topic – share a snippet of content can create interest in a new blog
  • Share for community participation and events – People research the communities profiles online in Twitter and Google Plus.  MeetUp is also a good site for meeting announcements, and learning about a group through the images they share.
  • Repackage content as a presentation. The slides can then be hosted as a Slideshare presentation or as a pdf which can be downloaded at another site.
  • Guest Blogging – appearing on other blogsites is still a good way to generate interest on your own, provided that the hosting site is a high quality site.
  • Appear on podcasts or video newscast, mentioning in talk about a related blog post. Doing so can be as effective as providing a link from a guest post.
  • Talk about tools of your trade, such as this post for Small Business Trends. Solution providers of those tools will appreciate your mention and post a link to the podcast (or blogpost).
  • Posting a link in a Reddit community relevant to your site or topic.
  • Create a slideshare version of the post, highlighting a few key points from the post.  Doing so will give another set of content that can complement a post without mimicking all the content.  So for example, a slideshare of top 10 tips for a better website could complement a post on why a site update is important to a business.
One follow up idea – make sure you are periodically checking the demographics and affinity reports in Google Analytics.  Doing so can reveal a rough estimate on the traffic quality that is arriving onto your site.  Checking the results in the affinity reports can verify traffic quality as it relates to your site topic.  The Affinity Report results can also spark some ideas for your blog topics.  Just look for what is consistent in a 30-60-90 day period (You can also decide to work on countering the resulting topics, if they are not what you want.
Overall there are a lot of ways to make traffic to your site with social media!

Analytics Tips: Using Affinity Reports and Second Dimensions In Google Analytics to Learn Consumer Interests and Mobile Strategy

Google Analytics Affinity Report

Segmentation has always been the raison d’être for analyzing data. After all, analytics is greek for “breakdown”, and businesses are trying to breakdown data into segments that can reveal ideas to serve customers easily. Understanding data segments reveal the kind of customers who are discovering your online media…and thus, discovering if your business is a good one to do business with.

But when it comes to data segments created from traffic sources to a site or app, mobile data drives the heart of the analysis especially if there is an Internet of Things influence in the strategy, such as beacons in a retail location.

So how can a business direct its analysis to make an IoT strategy better?

The best answer comes from combining Affinity reports and second dimension to know where people are coming from when they arrive to your site and to learn how people journey in general.

Affinity reports are useful in discovering new sites and topics that customers hold an interest.The Affinity and In-Market Reports offer lifestyle (Affinity) and purchase-intent (In-Market) topics that attracted an audience to a measured site or app.

But sometimes reviewing Affinity report results on one dimension does not reveal a pattern or a trend that tells the user something meaningful.   Selecting a relevant second dimension can help reveal more information to help the user see a pattern and make decisions.  (This Zimana post talks about second dimension selection in more detail.)

So where to start first?

Go to an Affinity Report and determine what topics are typically of interest to your site traffic.

Next set the Second Dimension in Affinity Reports to one of the following, based on the purpose of what associated information appears with the results in the Affinity Report:

Device

  • Devices highlight  the topics are accessed through a tablet or smartphone.  The highlights can spark ideas for planning AdWord campaigns for mobile versus desktop/laptop.

Time

  • The time selection highlights if the topics in the affinity report are accessed at a particular time.  The highlights can spark ideas for planning adword campaigns for when people view the ads the most.  You can examine time to see if people are arriving during a particular part of the day, or if there is some variation in topics between time periods.

Age Range

  • Can give an ideas of topics and source sites that are age appropriate  – useful for sites contain content suitable for children, young people, or a certain age demographic for the site owner. Use age range to know you are seeing activity from the intended group.

Verifying attribution can help you see if your media usage is in step with an target audience or within your industry.  You can do so with the Google Customer Journey Tool (I explain how the tool works in my CMSWire post – Pierre). The purpose of the tool is to see how customers general use different channels in a sequence before they purchase.

After planning the strategy marketers can set the reports that will be accessed frequently. Dashboards permit a view the most important reports in a glance, while Shortcuts permit faster access to the reports you use most often.  Dashboards can be viewed in the Google Analytics app easily.