Recognizing that your online traffic creates offline traffic, and how to manage advertising costs in the process.
Here is an interesting, though a bit brief article on US customers and online shopping. This should not surprise too many small businesses: According to eCommerce Journal, 83% of US customers shop online weekly (read the article here) . What should interest analytic-minded businesses is the following detail:
• 44% of consumers reported that they research electronics online, but ultimately purchase electronics at a store, 30% do so with kitchen items, 28% with media and 28% prefer to research furniture online and buy it in the store.
This implies that..
- A well planned website is necessary not only for an online presence, but it drives interest for offline sales.
- Consumer behavior online should not necessarily be treated separately from the offline retail resources.
- Store owners must take time to appreciate how customer work their way to making a purchase.
To the second bullet point, analytics can become an essential tool for discovering how customers are referred. For example a store can offer an in-store coupon online on a landing page tagged with Google Analytics, Yahoo! Web Analytics, or another solution that offers a Map Overlay feature. While customers would come to a store to redeem, a business owner can use the Map Overlay feature to see where customers geographically viewed the landing page. This information can help determine regions where more or less advertising would be needed, adjusting costs and resources.
One caveat: A Map Overlay is generally useful from town to town comparisons, not within a New York City borough (from Park Slope to Crown Heights, for example). But a map overlay combined with a coupon indicates that an analytics tool with some planning can help analyze marketing cost and serve offers where they will be seen the most.
Need a little more information on using analytics within your organization? There are three great books that I have had the pleasure of reviewing at Small Business Trends, an award winning small business blog started by editor Anita Campbell. Written by the leading experts in web analytics and business intelligence, these can help develop an organization around the timely use of analytics tools.
- Web Analytics 2.0 (Avinash Kaushik) explains how organizations can implement a web analytics mindset as well as advanced analytics reporting/analysis concerns.
- Analytics At Work (Thomas Davenport, Jeanne Harris) — focuses on analytics within an organization. Differing from their first book, Competing on Analytics, Analytics at Work is for medium sized organizations that want to incorporate business intelligence tools for operational efficiency but not as a leading advantage in a given industry.
I have also reviewed other business books with Ivana Taylor, founder of DIY Marketers and the book editor for SBT. We try to review business books we genuinely like and that have great use for small business owners. A great one Ivana did is called Success Made Simple which featured perspective from Amish small businesses
Small Business Trends covers a number of great small business subjects and tips. Definitely a must follow for any small business owner.
What other business books have been a great aid to your business or outlook?