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Years ago, retailers went through a major sales channel shift, as the world of ecommerce opened up new opportunities to reach shoppers locally and worldwide. It also came with a great deal of challenges, mainly in the area of optimizing the online shopping experience, making transactions easier and more secure.

Today retail is going through another major shift. In the evolving world of ‘Big Data’ it’s entering a new frontier in customer engagement. This is driven by changes in people’s buying behaviors and the increased adoption of ecommerce tools to understand the digital customer journey.

Using online data tracking points is key to seeing the steps prospects and shoppers have taken, from the first time they connect with your online store to when they buy. Just as important is understanding where in that journey the customer falls off, using data to improve the online buying experience and ecommerce processes, resulting in increased revenues.

First touch data points (Awareness)

The first visits and actions a prospective customer makes to your website:

  • Attribution – the source that led the visitor to your website
    • Google organic search
    • Google AdWords or other online advertisements
    • Referral traffic from social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube
    • Social media ad campaigns
    • Email campaigns and newsletters
    • Traffic from referral websites, such as partners, media coverage, or blogs
  • Bounce rates – are these numbers going up or down?
  • Device – computer, smartphone, tablet

Conversion data points (Consideration)

The next step in the customer journey, what actions they’ve taken on your website and online store, and how your campaigns are impacting sales:

  • Website
    • Product page views
      • Time spent on the page
      • Clicked to shopping cart
      • Linked to other product pages (internal referral links and upsell rates)
    • Abandoned shopping cart, capturing prospects for remarketing
    • Blog, event, location, and Contact Us page views – internal link tracking can show if your events or blog posts are influencing online sales, as well as identify season-related traffic.
    • Landing page conversions
    • Return traffic and repeat customer
  • Sales Analysis Reports, filtering by various parameters can deliver valuable insight on sales trends, marketing results, and inventory management:
    • Brand – follow popularity and sales of brands, legacy and newly added, impact by advertising and marketing campaign
    • Channel – gain multichannel intelligence, online shop versus marketplace (eBay or Amazon) sales
    • Customer – new customers, returning customers
    • Lead source - Marketing campaigns, organic search, social media, partner websites
    • Product or Product Type – what’s selling, what’s low on inventory and prevented sales, what’s not selling and needs to be discounted

Cross referencing Sales Analysis Reports with Conversion Data Points delivers that 360 view of the customer journey.

Marketing and advertising click-through and conversion rates

  • AdWords and other online advertising campaigns

  • Email and remarketing campaigns (opens, CTR, inbound link traffic), especially for abandoned shopping cart prospects

  • A/B testing landing pages

  • A/B testing Facebook and Twitter ad targeting to continually fine-tune and optimize

  • Lead source capture in Brightpearl CRM - manually create within Brightpearl admin or have generated automatically via a website or SmartForm conversion.

Last touch data points (Intent and Decision)

Matching various data points provides a larger picture of your online activity and allows you to gauge how each performed based on your specific key performance indicators (KPIs), such as:

  • SEO improvements increased organic search traffic by X
  • Increase in social engagements has driven website traffic by X
  • Lead source performing has increased by X, year-over-year
  • Email marketing efforts are impacting revenue by X. Which require fine-tuning?

Another key metric: Does an increase in bounce rates match an increase in visitors using mobile devices? This is especially important if you’ve not yet optimized your site for mobile.

Conclusion

We do not want to sound like a broken record, but the last question relating to mobile is one worth repeating. The data shows that it can no longer be ignored.

“Mobile is terrific, in that it’s growing triple digits,” said Lisa Gavales, President and CEO of Things Remembered, during the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show in New York. 

Rest assured, even a traditional retailer with over 600 stores in 48 states is feeling the pain of delivering that desired shopping experience to the mobile consumer. “It’s an interesting challenge, as desktop traffic starts to slip.” With half of Things Remembered online traffic coming from mobile, “We don’t have much of a choice.”

Retailers can, however, choose how best to use track that customer journey - from awareness and consideration, to intent and decision. Welcoming this shift in retail opens up new opportunities to build those coveted one-to-one customer relationships.

By understand buyers’ evolving behaviors and staying a few steps ahead, you can continually deliver the best shopping experience.

Learn how Brightpearl customer, The Triathlon Shop, made their successful journey from a small retail shop to a full-service online and in-store destination for triathlon enthusiasts.

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About the Author

Kim Owens is a veteran digital marketer and copywriter for Brightpearl, creating engaging, customer-centric content that provides value and an opportunity to learn about the quickly evolving retail industry.