Just as the study of evolution has helped scientists learn much about the living species today, the same approach towards understanding the retail industry and what makes it tick can offer the same benefits. An article in Retail Solutions Online has a very interesting way of looking at this; starting from the days when the supply chain was dominated by the consumer goods manufacturers, when retailers were merely distributors of the goods, leading to the times when the retailers took control due to consolidation of the manufacturing industry and introduction of loyalty card programs. But nowadays, especially in online retailing, the control of the industry has been handed down to the individual shoppers by taking real-time marketing to them and building the industry on the foundation of shopper-identified transaction data.
Why does this matter? Well, this shows the importance of paying more attention to this driving force of the business. But of course due to the nature of the whole online shopping and the discreetness between the retailer and the buyer this has turned into a very complicated matter. Even though there are many analytics and optimization tools available everywhere providing records of feedback from customer interactions, the use and interpretation of the gathered data is not a very easy thing to do. This is probably why according to BizReport only 47% of online marketers use analytics to measure their online campaigns.
Today it is absolutely crucial to get something out of customer traffic data to act upon at least once every quarter. It doesn’t matter what kind of analytics tool is being used. Currently there are tools readily available to everyone. So why aren’t more people acting on them? It is either because the questions that are being asked are poor or the limits of the analytics tool has been reached. Now it takes a long time to become so adept to render a tool useless so it is most likely the former.
There’s an article that recently won an award on analytics and is very worthwhile. It’s called Web Analytics Demystified and it gives a very useful and simple guide towards how to approach this complex instrument.
As a side note, something to get your spirits up; a new study reports that online shopping is better for the environment by significantly reducing CO2 emissions of the purchase phase.