Thursday, 2 August 2012

Improve business efficiency with data analytics

Lee Iacocca, former president and CEO of Chrysler once said: "If I keep working at this and want it badly enough I can have it. It's called perseverance." Whether your the president of a worldwide car manufacturing company, or a small online ecommerce store owner, the same principle applies. When running a business the harder you work and the more effort you put into it, the more you are going to reap the rewards. To any store owner these rewards are going to come in the form of increased sales and greater profit.  However, if you find that your traffic, sales and popularity has dropped, how do you find out where your store is going wrong? 

While looking at customer reviews and actual sales figures is a good indicator of what is working well with your store and what isn't, the only downside to this is that you're only getting the opinions of those who have already purchased from your store. What about the rest of the people who visited the page and then left straight away? This is where analytic software comes in to play.

There are a number of different business analytics software that monitors every single figure in terms of traffic on your site. You can see how many people visited your store, which pages the went on, where in the world they were and many other features. Although businesses already use some form of analytic software, with Google Analytics being one of the most well known, some of these still don't utilise this software to its full potential. You shouldn't look at data analytics as simply a way to monitor your traffic at the end of every month, you should look at it as a way to constantly improve your store's performance, identifying key areas which need improvement, allowing you to make the alterations as required. 

The best example of this is to look at the bounce rate of your store. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who visited a page on your store and then clicked straight back to their search results without clicking on another page. This makes the store seem like a metaphorical trampoline with users bouncing on and off. A high bounce rate is an indication there was something on your store's pages that are putting users off from proceeding further into your store. There are a number of reasons why this could be. It could have been the layout of your store, the colours or even the price of some products. If you find that your store does indeed have a high bounce rate, you should take this as an indicator that you need to look at your pages and determine why this is. Once you have discovered the reason behind the high rate, you will see not only your page views and visitors increase, but the amount of time they spend on your site and the average pages views each user. The longer a customer spends on your site, the more chance there is of them purchasing something. 

Analytic software allows you to tailor your site to ensure that you have optimised your online store to give yourself every possible chance of having customers buy items. Rather than looking at your store's analytics at the end of the month, you should look at it every week or even everyday. This will allow you to make any changes that are required instantly, rather than waiting until till then end of the month when a number of customers will have already bounced on and then straight off your store.

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