Thinking of an eCommerce business? Select a cart that makes digital analytic measurement easy to plan first!
I’ve made this chart of eCommerce shopping cart solutions available. Each offer different capability to integrate an analytics solution. Although some coding effort is needed in general, some solutions provide a plug-and-play capability. The chart includes a consideration of which kinds of banking/payment options are available, whether the sites include Facebook commerce option, and if analytics integration is available. Having these features in place makes sales easy to manage, and to permit an analytics tools to reveal when customers are dropping out of a cart…and not purchasing your product.
For retail or e-commerce paid search, look at the full picture.
That’s the concept Meghan Danielson of Adlucent presented in one of the mini-sessions at the 2012 Search Engine Strategies New York expo. She was speaking about product analytics, identifying words that lead to specific conversions.
Three ideas she mentioned in a short presentation are worth checking if you having some difficulty attributing conversion for your retail or e-commerce site. Meghan summed it up – “If they came in and bought something else, what does that tell you about the keyword and the page their landing on“
Because of a strong consistent presence in search traffic, branded keywords can mask seasonal trends. If a keyword led to a product purchase, then you have a starting point for a bid strategy – that keyword can be enhanced with a paid search program (Pierre’s note: eMarketer noted that a study indicated that people were more likely to act on a keyword result that appeared in organic and paid search).
Visitors brought to a site by one keyword may purchase a different product. Such purchase may be an indicator to bundle products together. Businesses should consider what backend processes would be affected with this kind of retail offer. (Pierre’s note: This may be a good coupon/ad and landing page strategy to use)
Another factor similar to the bundled amount is price. Meghan says sometimes people decide to select another product shown on the site when the price of their original intention was not the amount expected. “Am I price competitive to let people get what they came for?”
For these last two points: Consider planning an A/B test on products offered or on price (multi) to see what is an actual factor.
About a year ago I reported about seeing the Microsoft store for the first time. You can read about it here. The stores are meant to be Microsoft’s interpretation of the Apple store experience. The stores also give Microsoft a opportunity to better manage its image in a hyper competitive environment, by providing a specific place to showcase its software and products from its partners.
Well now Microsoft has just under 10 retail stores up, the latest being opened in Houston and Atlanta. Stores are now near Phoenix, Chicago, Denver, LA, and Seattle. Rumors persist about a New York store (2012 Update; Two stores will open in the New York area, but not near the flagship store yet – see this post for details) ; Personally I am still amazed at how Costco came to Harlem (and not amazed by the problems of building a megastore in real estate challenged New York – see Crain’s article here ) , so looking for a Microsoft store would be amazing. (Apple, not to be outdone, has opened a store in Grand Central Station, its fourth in Manhattan). New York moves quickly, so time will tell.
Some posts have criticized Microsoft for not having the same number of stores as Apple. But is that really necessary? It’s worth a case study, but so far Microsoft needs to provide distinguishing experiences that galvanizes its loyal customers first. That focus can help create the right buzz, essential against daily posts on Apple and Google.
Many small businesses run into the similar choice of how to run online and offline. How fast show we be growing? What do we offer online? A few following points put in context being online vs. offline.
1. There’s been some criticism that Microsoft is expanding too slowly. In comparison Apple did not place stores everywhere, either. I spent nearly three years in Alabama, and no official Apple retail store existed in the state ( Apple certified retailers in Alabama existed, however). You had to drive to either Atlanta or Nashville to see one. Apple eventually came to Huntsville and Birmingham. But my point is that the need to scale is relative to a business model, and a slow role out is not a bad one if the stores are being managed well to satisfy customers.
2. Despite the fact that people do research companies online, what is most essential is what connects to the business model. Amazon proved that its model of retailing online was scalable. Apple uses its stores to create an experience for new and old buyers alike.
In short there are different ways to retail. It’s up to you to determine what channel fits your business model. A business model is not a list of products or services. A business model is planned by the way the service or product is delivered to the customer.
3. Do not think of offline and online as strictly being separate activities. What you can do is figure out what syncs well between the experience online versus in store, and execute these syncs with social media where applicable. Facebook can be a source of updates. Combined with Meet Up, Facebook can be used to gather people for special events, be it a fund raiser for a non-profit or a panel on an industry subject at your location. Twitter can be used to share updates around a particular hashtag — for hashtag inspirations, see the post on using Twitter at a trade show at Allbusiness.com
There’s debate about having a Facebook page to retail a product or service – in short, whether people will purchase on Facebook rather than a site. IMHO I don’t believe that it will replace a website, and you should not eliminate a website entirely. Think of Facebook as a channel on which you need to understand if you customer is willing to purchase. Do they spend so much time there that a website is not? What would drive people from Facebook — as popular as it is, there are still things that can happen that can reduce a business’ chance of success. And what about search engine optimization advantages from having your own website? Gone if there’s no website.
5. Notice that when I stated the locations, I said Microsoft is near Chicago, Phoenix, LA, and Seattle. Even a cash-flush company like Microsoft selected locations that had visibility but did not jump into lavished locations. For a small business, there’s a great takeaway: No one said you have to be downtown for the first store. If you choose to be downtown, just make sure the location advantage is clear and can be quickly applied to the bottom line.
At the annual National Retailer Foundation expo in New York, large vendors offered model digital displays that provide more than store information. These displays offer users the ability to find retail inventory and departments quickly, with touch features similar to an iPhone (or iPad, if you will!). One display providing ability to add a selection to a mobile wallet — with a light touch of a semi-transparent display users can call the image of their selection, just like a selection on a webpage, and then move the image to a virtual wallet linked to a mobile phone. The consumer can then purchase the selection with a credit card.
And who are the leaders who displayed this technology? Adobe? Google?
Try Intel and Hewett Packard.
This development makes a lot of sense in some ways. HP makes plasma screen for home. The increased appearance of plasma screen in commercial environments gives a natural extension opportunity for HP.
Intel can be more of a mystery at first blush, its main product being processors. But Intel’s involvement in digital display shows an end use for Intel-powered mobile devices.
It also means:
- Increased need to merge database information on offline retail products with online analytics data to give a full picture of how a business retail is doing.
- Analytic practitioners must be better aware of a business’ operation — more importance for consulting firms to have access to all sources to create solid analysis.
- Increased opportunity for mobile purchases to become reality. These offering make credit card purchases on the spot possible.
- Potential advantage for Omniture, Web Trends, Google Analytics and other analytic tools in managing more real-time data. Increased grannuarity segmentation of data will be possible.
- Increased importance of mobile web design & further refinement of app design, to ensure consumer convenience.
- More competition for the management tools of data.
Most of all, this development will aid the main battlecry of many analytics practitioners, that analytics unlocks value for companies. Many professionals have become evangelists for analytics within their firms, explaining the importance of metrics to varied departments. The growth of display functionality can only strengthen the case that analytics is essential for consumer satisfaction and profitable operations.