The most difficult aspect of analytics is not getting the right answers. The greatest challenge of analytics is asking the right questions.
People who run e-commerce websites and other online projects have already realised that, in order to succeed and make the right decisions, having appropriate data is crucial. In order to assess what is happening on their website, they have learnt to use some form of data analysis tools. But too frequently they do not consider the correct kind of data or ask the right questions.
This is why I have made a list of examples of genuinely important metrics and analytical scenarios from different environments and projects. By far not all of them will apply to your specific website and the list is by far not exhaustive. My goal today is to give you some clues as to what you might also consider keeping track of and what sort of questions you could and should ask.
With every example, try imagining whether it could be useful for your project, whether you are following it at the moment and whether it is in the scope of your current analytical tool. You might end up discovering that so far, you have only been looking at a bunch of not particularly relevant figures, while ignoring some really useful metrics.
- What does your customer behaviour funnel look like in its entirety? What about your banner display, your campaign click-through rate and related costs, your first-time and returning customers, your lead rate, your offline call-centre communication, your branches, salespeople, your orders, payments, customer care, upselling and cross-selling and repeated orders?
- Can you track, measure and visualise your entire customer traffic? Can you identify the weak points of your funnel, where you tend to lose the most of your prospective customers?
- Can you track these data not only in total but also as regards individual segments based on sources, cohorts, the type of customer or ordered goods?
- How does the customer’s geographical location, the weather in his part of the country, current Euro rate or your competitor’s TV campaign affect it?
- There are many different places where you can find your data. There are Sklik and Heuréka interfaces, your online shopping administration, CRM, ERP, your customer support, your call-centre, your warehouses and distribution, your staff attendance system, your accounts and invoicing department, your email, social networks, your own marketing budget, mediaplans, Collabim, Google Search Console… Everything that matters does not take place online. Not all crucial data can be found in Google Analytics. Do you use this data regularly and systematically?
- The real treasure is not to be found in the data hiding within these individual systems but in their mutual relationships. Do you look at these isolated results and thus fritter away a large part of your useful information? Or do you view them all in context?
- What kind of revenue do your individual marketing channels bring in? I do not mean leads or online shopping orders but actual income from paid orders after subtracting cancelled orders, refunds and complaints.
- What was the all-in cost of these channels and how does it seem in comparison to your profit margin? What is the ROI and effectiveness of these individual channels? Not only in total but also with respect to particular periods.
- Try assessing this not only as regards all your channels as a whole but also with respect to particular campaigns, sets, key words, ads, banners and outgoing e-mails. If you want to appraise what works and what does not, what to retain and what to drop, you need to be able to identify and analyse each individual part of your marketing. Where to invest another crown in order to make the most of it in return?
- Apart from click-through and impression costs, do you also include related fees for the media agency or graphic studio in your marketing costs?
- Multichannel and attribution: How do the particular channels which your customer passed through before he actually placed an order reflect on your orders? How much can you afford to pay for your PPC campaigns, if customers thus acquired end up in your newsletter campaign or your Facebook site and will order from these respectively in the future?
- What income was generated by people who noticed your banner campaign, and despite never clicking on it, remembered your brand thanks to it and later found you directly or via full-text search engines?
- How did the change of your advertising slogan reflect on your orders and sales?
- Cohorts and Customer Lifetime Value: Where did your different customer cohorts come from, what is their life expectancy, how quickly do they start decreasing, how much did you spend on acquiring them, how much are you going to pay in their lifetime for their repeated returns, what income are they going to generate, how soon will your initial expenses return?
- Have any of your promotion campaigns been a success? Have the temporary reductions or presents been covered by increased sales? What products did your customers start ordering more often? Did it acquire you new customers? Did the increased sales continue even after the campaign had finished? Did cancellations and refunds increase?
- How long do you want to remarket some product to people who have expressed interest in it in a support chatroom or on helpline?
- Which products are sold out or are running low in warehouses, hence we should temporarily turn off their campaign and remarketing?
- How does the number of active customers change from month to month? Does it remain the same or is it growing? In other words, is the number of people who know you increasing?
- What is the composition of your new customers after each acquisition campaign?
- What was the cost of new customer acquisition and when will you see that cost paid off? In the future, how much can you afford to spend on acquiring a new customer in each marketing channel?
- What are your expenses on communication with customers, e.g. activation with second order?
- What is your average first and second order rate? Not only in total but also based on primary acquisition source?
- Is your returning-customers rate increasing overtime and how much?
- What is your ratio of first time to repeated purchases? What is your ratio of new to returning customers?
- How many visits to your website does it take before a visitor buys something for the first or second time and becomes a customer?
- How long will a customer from different sources and cohorts keep returning and what profit is he going to bring you in that period (Customer Lifetime Value)? What is the life expectancy of said cohort (Churn Rate)?
- In what way did your loyalty program and other retention-activities affect your customer mortality/retention? Was it worth it, did it pay off?
- RFM Analysis: What segments do your customers fall into? How does the behaviour of your customers from different segments differ? What do they display, what do they react to, how to communicate with them?
- Who are your most profit-making customers? Are they able to bring new customers like themselves?
- How much did Mr Novák spend in your shop in the past year, all of his search engines, helpline calls and branch-visits combined? Which campaigns did he click through from and how much did you pay for it?
- How many business opportunities are you expecting to bring to a conclusion at a given period, what are they, how do they develop overtime, what is your overall business conclusion rate?
- Individual businessmen’s effectivity: What is your current month’s concluded deals rate in light of your expectations?
- What is your customers’ location, not only in terms of numbers but also as regards average order rate and all-in revenue? In which month would it make sense to open a new branch or carry out an offline event?
- Do your customers change collection points? Do they change means of delivery? Number of telephone orders? Number of uncollected and returned deliveries?
- Would you like to see all data pertaining to a particular customer simultaneously, across all your data sources in which he has made an appearance? What banners did he notice, where did he come from, what did he display, how many times has he been back, how often does he visit your website and when was the last time he visited, what did he buy, what are his expenses, did he talk to your support and what about, did he fill in your feedback questionnaire, what are his payment habits, what marketing segment and remarketing group is he part of, what sort of personalised emails do you send him, how does he react to them…
- What is your most immediate group of customers you should reach out to today? What are the sets of criteria – are they on the point of leaving, are they making a decision to purchase something, have they been looking for something or doing something online today?
- What campaigns have generated customers who react to newsletters?
- How costly is it to get one newsletter subscriber, does the newsletter cover up this acquisition and how long does it take?
- How much does an average newsletter subscriber spend and how different is he in comparison to other customers?
- Do you know how to prompt your newsletter subscriber to make a purchase?
- What is your experience with sending out retention emails to bring your leaving customers back? Do you customize your emails to suit different customer segments e.g. in relation to the total of their previous expenditures? Do your retention incentives pay off?
- What numbers/percentage of your customers unsubscribe from your newsletter in time? What does it depend on, what to avoid in future, what has proven useful?
- What are your basic product ladders – product conversion rate, sales by piece, revenues, overall margins, refunds, complaints and appraisal? How do these metrics develop in time not only as regards your entire online shopping website but also for each individual category or product?
- What other products are usually ordered along with one particular product? Regardless of whether this is in one shopping cart or in more transactions of the same customer.
- Do the sales rate of these jointly bought products change overtimeg. based on a change in price of one of these products?
- To give you an example, if mothers looking for baby formula consider price first, on reducing its price, will expensive nappies start selling more? If you only reduce the price of 1-to-3-month-old formula, will the mothers who you have thus gained continue shopping with you even when their babies are older?
- Which products are traffic builders and keep bringing in new customers or work as incentives to buy other products, hence even if by themselves they are unprofitable, you still cannot get rid of them?
- Will your profit increase if on your online shopping website, you intentionally start offering products with the highest margin as related products? Or does it rather cause your customers to search around your website more intently in an effort to find cheaper options? Or alternately, will customers stop shopping and start leaving?
- Regarding software: Compare your number of orders with your activations and number of downloads with number of installations. What is your service’s or application’s usual duration of use? How do people make use of the individual functions?
- Regarding services and agencies: How effective are your client’s campaigns? How much work have you done for them? How many hours have you invoiced them for?
- Which bonus items are the most popular? In the light of this, how to adjust your future newsletters and other activities?
- What is the best price of a product?
- How did the changed price of a given reduced or elevated product reflect on your sales?
- What is your customers’ price elasticity? When you increase prices, do they leave en masse, or do they stay, while you make bigger profit? When you reduce your prices, will it bring in so many new customers to make up for the loss?
- Do your reduced prices affect other metrics? Have your refunds and complaints grown? Is the helpline facing an uncustomary number of incoming calls? Have your reviews on Heuréka.cz radically changed?
- By reducing one item, you may acquire new customers, who will order other unreduced items along with the advertised one. How is the reduction reflected in your overall sales? What other products have generated interest along with the particular reduced one?
Competition and External Influences
- How do your competitors’ price levels develop, both in total and as regards individual departments and products? How do you compare to them?
- How do your competitors’ changes in pricing reflect on your sales and business results?
- Are you going to make more by following your competitors’ lead as regards prices or should you stick to your own?
- How do your advertising costs change overtime in comparison to your competitors? How has your competitors’ recent massive campaign affected your sales?
- Are your sales affected by current weather? Do you take into account weather in different regions?
- What percentage of support system tickets do you generally manage to deal with to your customers’ satisfaction?
- With customers who have asked your support for advice and have/have not received useful tips, how does their ordering change in the six months that follow?
- What type of queries do your support team most frequently fail to address? What kind of problems are they, what proportion of all your queries do they represent and is there space for some substantial system change?
- What sort of problems do your customers most commonly complain about? Which problematic area of your company should you address first? Once it has been seen to, is it reflected by a decreased number of complaints and a general increase in customer satisfaction index?
- How have changes you have introduced to your customer support affected your online shop’s reviews on Heuréka.cz and the general sentiment on social networks?
- How do your reviews and your post-purchase questionnaires develop overtime? What is your Net Promoter Score?
- How much goods has your helpline operator been able to sell to people who have contacted him based on your banner campaign?
- How many calls does your operator answer per hour and shift? What is your average call’s duration? How many concluded contracts? How many phone-calls per day?
- What type of calls do you receive – helpline queries, complaints, marketing, questionnaires, relation to the given product? How do they change overtime in relation to changes in communication?
- Regarding the person you are talking to right now, how has he clicked through to your website, via what banner or campaign? After helping the customer to place an order, which online campaign should the operator file it with?
Warehousing and Distribution
- Do customers change their collection points and means of delivery overtime? What is it based on – your customers’ experiences, their loyalty, type of product, your customers’ place of residence or the value of the order?
- What is your customers’ satisfaction with your collection points, their convenience, opening hours and their staff? Is it related to their loyalty, their follow-up purchases and their complaints on helpline?
- How does free delivery from a certain order value upwards affect your overall sales, your upselling, cross selling and your average sales value? Do increased sales make up for your free delivery service? Would not it make sense, economically speaking, to set the limit elsewhere?
- On average, how long do you deal with one order and how does it change overtime?
- How many orders can one warehouse worker execute in an hour, how does it change overtime and how does he fare compared to other warehouse workers?
- Is the order’s execution speed dependent on some particular features such as the customer’s area of residence, a particular warehouse worker’s name (some work generally more slowly, others more quickly) or a particular basket’s content (some items are stocked in the back of your warehouse and retrieving them takes time)?
- Which products would it make sense to move to the front of the warehouse because it will make your work more efficient and speed up the execution? Has it worked?
- Stock Optimization – based on sales history and metadata you should issue a recommendation what to order in what quantities. What seasonal articles should you get more of because last year they sold out in a week? Did only the red ones sell, while the blue ones were unsellable?
- How well is your warehouse utilised overtime and what is its value? What is your parcel capacity (how many parcels are being dispatched)?
- If the forecast is for a sunny weekend in Bohemia and a rainy one in Moravia and Monday is off, how many warehouse workers should you call in for the weekend?
- What is your average order value from people who collect their goods in person as opposed to those who have it delivered by mail? Is in-person collection worth it or does it make a loss? Should you introduce an in-person collection fee and how much should it be?
- How long and how costly is making a delivery from a particular warehouse to a particular catchment area? Sometimes opening a new warehouse or joining a few old ones may pay off.
- Has your change of advertising slogan on leaflets and billboards by the motorway affected your sales in your brick-and-mortar shops?
- Where is it wise to hand out leaflets and hire billboards in order to affect sales in a particular branch?
- What are your sales in individual branches? Is there a radical difference in what you offer in different shops, and why? Is there any way you could use this to your advantage e.g. by rearranging your shelves in some of your branches?
- What are your individual shop assistants’ sales? Which shop assistant is better and which is worse in terms of their ability to upgrade the average value of a receipt, the average number of items on a receipt and the average margin on a receipt (upselling, cross-selling)?
- What products should your shop-assistants offer your customers as related items to their purchases?
- Number of hours, amount of sick-leave, home office? How many tickets, phone-calls or parcels has the employee dealt with? How does he fare in comparison with his colleagues?
- How much of their work do employees invoice in relation to uninvoiced work? What is your real value of invoicing per employee in comparison to his direct costs?
- What are your individual departments’ real invoices as opposed to their overall expenses?
Get in Touch, We Can Help!
You will probably have found these points familiar, logical and useful. It is more than likely that suddenly you are coming up with lots of interesting ideas of things that can be not only measured but also mined for useful conclusions and recommendations – but you do not know where to start.
Perhaps what you need now is some help to move on from here. All you might need is to sit down for an hour and discuss it with someone. Talk about the areas which particularly deserve your attention and hear some tips on how to get started. Or perhaps you already know what to do but you are missing a suitable analytical metric. You need someone who will help you carry it out.
Contact us at Medio Interactive! We are experienced, we have know-how, effective tools and the right kind of technology. We will take care of everything else in order to allow you to fully focus on what is most important to you – your business!
Jan Tichý is owner of Medio Interactive, one of the leading web analytics and data analytics company in Czech republic. They provide web and data analytics services, conversion rate optimization, customer analytics, data integrations and business intelligence services, consulting and trainings.