Because technology evolves rapidly and shopping trends shift on a daily basis, ecommerce is in a constant state of adaptation that can leave brands fumbling in the dark. To keep up, ecommerce businesses must anticipate changes in the market using reliable data insights. In short, they need effective ecommerce analytics.

Ecommerce analytics simply refers to any tool or strategy designed to analyze large amounts of data in order to produce actionable insights. Because it exists in an almost entirely virtual space, ecommerce generates complex, comprehensive datasets — particularly those related to client behavior. More data was created in 2017 than was created during the previous 5,000 years combined. That is a lot of data to measure, parse, and analyse. Finding the right ecommerce analytics tools for the job, however, can offer your brand an immeasurable advantage over the competition.

With this in mind, the most important question then becomes: What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) you need to stay ahead of the curve, and what ecommerce analytics tools can be used to measure them?

Did you know that nearly 40% of online shoppers begin their shopping experience by performing an online search? As a result, any business that is not focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) is missing out on a huge chunk of the consumer base. Effective SEO optimization begins with research into search volumes, competitor rankings, and searcher intent. It also includes understanding your search engine results page (SERP) rankings, creating superior meta tags to your competitors, developing accurate site maps, and constructing effective, consumer-friendly URLs. There are a lot of SEO analytic tools that can help you accomplish these goals, but we recommend looking for those that include keyword planning, ranking trackers, and the ability to track bounce rates and conversions.

SEO optimization should not be your only focus for new customer acquisition. Paid search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns can edge you ahead of the competition and help you win more shoppers. To succeed in this area, you will need analytic tools that measure search volume, cost per click (CPC), average ranking position, click-through rate (CTR), and again, bounce and conversion rates.

In addition to SEO and SEM, email marketing campaigns can help you reach new prospects and boost traffic to your ecommerce website. To track email performance and develop informed campaign strategies, look for ecommerce analytics tools that measure the number and source of your email subscribers, total sales made from email campaigns, conversion rates, open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates.

New customer acquisition may give your business legs, but customer retention is truly the backbone of your brand’s sustained success. According to experts, 80% of future revenue will come from 20% of your existing clients. As such, it is important to focus on customer loyalty management, repeat business, and overall customer satisfaction.

In order to understand and cultivate customer relationships — and really tap into that valuable 20% — consider tracking KPIs like overall lifetime value, returning visitors, purchasing behavior, social shares, subscription renewals, and upgrades. Beyond click tracking, conversion tracking, and social media tracking tools, we recommend using a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) solution. CRM platforms will provide all of the aforementioned tracking, with the added benefit of sophisticated audience segmentation, customer targeting, and AI-driven analytics that aid in marketing decisions. Armed with these capabilities, you will know how to reach the right people with the right deals at the right time, using the most appropriate channel.

Effective website design, UX optimization, and streamlined checkout flows help you connect shoppers to products and boost conversion rates, but how do you know what’s working and what’s not? Ecommerce analytics can provide you with data-driven insights into how shoppers interact with your site — both the good and the bad. These insights take the guesswork and subjectivity out of website optimization, and uncover opportunities for improvement and innovation.

Key focus areas include a user-friendly checkout flow, optimal product presentation and recommendations, and overall usability. To truly maximize the effectiveness of these areas, we recommend tools that enable conversion rate optimization (CRO) testing, A/B and multivariate landing page testing, heat mapping, click tracking, visitor recording, and more.

In many ways, there is no substitute for the oldest form of customer data: direct feedback. You can collect as much data as you want — and use it effectively — but if you are not listening to what you customers are saying, you will have a hard time giving them what they are looking for — and they may end up going elsewhere to find it. Directly engage with your users across all touchpoints with handy feedback tools like voice of customer (VOC) online surveys, live chat, review programs, and social media trackers.
As the lines continue to blur between shopping channels, brands are turning to cloud-based unified commerce to deliver seamless, holistic customer journeys across every touchpoint — mobile, social, web, and store. Ecommerce analytics must also evolve to track shoppers wherever they may be, whether they are purchasing a product on Instagram, discovering a brand on their phone, or cashing in a gift card at a pop-up shop. We recommend adopting tools that integrate with your unified commerce platform, and that can keep up with the rapidly evolving customer journey.
 
 
Did you know that 59% of shoppers research products on their phone while in the store? Learn how shopping is evolving and discover new retail opportunities in SapientRazorfish’s latest report.
Without the ability to accurately access, measure, and interpret the vast amount of data that your shoppers generate, you might as well be operating in the dark. Turn on the light and put your customer data to work with Commerce Cloud, an all-in-one unified ecommerce platform that includes the most advanced ecommerce analytics features available.
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