3 Web Analysis Insights Retailers Should Apply This Holiday Season
When a woman shops for a man's holiday gift, she probably won't buy him a pink, size 6, ruffle-front angora sweater. That's why it's important to pay attention to the seasonal shifts in online buying behavior. And that's where Web analytics comes in, says Akin Arikan, senior segment manager for Internet marketing at software and services firm Unica of Waltham, Mass.
What was once a normal buying pattern—a woman perusing women's sweaters—shifts during the holidays. But just in time for the seasonal buying frenzy, Arikan provides tips on how to parse these behavioral anomalies.
1. Observe Information That's Relevant to the Holiday Season
Arikan advises marketers to prioritize what each customer browses online this season and compare it to information in the database about her past holiday purchases. Or simply start from scratch this season.
"One difference in the holiday season is that customers aren't shopping for themselves," Arikan says. "So all of that customer information that is in the [direct marketer's] database about the individual customer may be irrelevant."
2. Collect Seasonal Internet Browsing Information
Gather information about what content and which products consumers are honing in on, including how they're engaging with it (i.e., on a fashion Web site, customers may be interacting with the site by altering garment colors or enlarging images). Pay more attention to keyword searches, both inbound and on-site, and abandoned shopping carts.
"That's a big challenge to direct marketers because we're all about, 'Hey, we've got this big database that tells us everything about this customer,'" he says. "Maybe it's an extra good reason to use Web analytics and prioritize it over what's in the database about this customer."
3. Target Customers Accordingly
Arikan says to target direct marketing efforts, including e-mail, direct mail and on-site banner advertisements, to consumers based on Web analytics this holiday season. Don't just leave money on the table during this economy, he says.
Maybe a potential customer left the site because she wasn't sure what keyword to use to find the right power drill. Maybe she enlarged an image and noticed that drill bits weren't included in the offer. Whatever the reason, try to find out what it is, and help consumers out. On-site surveys that probe into the reasons why visitors don't buy can aid in this quest, he says.