Harry David

It's no secret that analytics—related to your revenue, website, customers and brand—should be a cornerstone of any marketing program. Tracking external metrics such as leads, traffic and conversion rate is pretty much a given. But what about internal metrics? In a Birkman International survey, only one-third of the companies surveyed said they measured employee productivity. If your external metrics dip, wouldn't it also be as important to measure how productive your marketing department is at executing the programs on which the company relies?

Catalog and call center retailers in the "2013 Internet Retailer Top 500" guide outperform retail chains, manufacturers and Web-only retailers in one important e-commerce metric: conversion rate. As a group, they have the highest average conversion rate of 5.1 percent in 2012, an improvement from 4.7 percent in 2011. Indeed, catalog and call center retailers have consistently had the highest average conversion rate among the merchant types in the 10 years since the publication of the first Internet Retailer guide to e-commerce, called the Top 300 in 2003. One big reason is that these retailers typically

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