Data Analytics as Important as Promotional Strategies When Evaluating Online Success

As merchants move more of their sales and promotional activity online, they are paying closer attention to what works. The 24–7 availability of online data means merchants can constantly monitor and adjust their strategies. For many of these retailers, using analytics to understand their successes is becoming as important as tweaking promotional strategies.

Most online marketers, 52%, are seeing conversion rates of between 1.0% to 2.9% when they divide the numbers of orders they receive by the number of unique visitors made to their sites. But the market is changing and these merchants report spikes in traffic and lower conversion rates because consumers are visiting via mobile and tablet devices but not always ordering. To get a handle on how and what to adjust  to improve conversions, these operators are turning to data analytics.

One key goal has been to retain existing customers and the top tactics used by online marketers are:

  •  Analytics to see what works 93%
  • Pricing or promotional strategies 81%
  • Site redesign or enhancements 79%
  • Easier online search relevance/​options 79%

Online marketers are also promoting themselves across a wide range of channels. To determine the effectiveness of their efforts, online vendors are looking at the following:

  • Coupon redemption across channels 30%
  • Coupons/​codes collected at point of purchase 28%
  • Retail store locator hits 24%
  • Catalog requests from digital devices 16%

Online marketers are keenly aware that social media could have a growing and positive impact on their bottom line. As a result, more of these operators are measuring key data points such as the number of Facebook fans (90%), the number of Twitter followers (66%), and click-​throughs from social media (58%). However, fewer businesses track sales from social media channels. Between last year and this year, the number of merchants engaged in this practice dropped from 47% to 41%.

Analysts believe the era of Big Data is just beginning. Standardization of measurement and definitions will prove key to merchants as they compare their results from  one year to the next. But as retailers begin to set goals and track patterns, they’ll be able to more quickly adjust their campaigns and product mix to attract more customers and boost sales.

[Source: 2012 Merchant Survey, e‑tailing group. Baynote Metrics. April 2012. Web. 3 May 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.