Do you want to capitalise on the Covid online shopping boost?
OPINION: The band Talking Heads has a great song called Once in a Lifetime.
The chorus is just the repetition of the phrase, “same as it ever was”, over and over again.
If you are looking to succeed with your ecommerce business post Covid-19, you wouldn’t be off to a bad start if you listened to that song, because succeeding online is the same as it ever was.
Let’s assume you are already a motivated self-starter with a great idea, great product, and a work ethic to make Sir Ed blush.
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What more, then, do you need to know about your business to capitalise on the Covid-inspired surge towards web-based sales? What will change for you, and how will you grow revenue, now that more people are buying online?
Why is it the same it ever was? Well, it all starts with data: web data, advertising data, channel (traffic) data, and revenue data. Plus, for the really advanced ecommerce superstars, point of sale (POS) data.
Web data is the nearest and dearest to my heart and is the measure I see most overlooked when clients first come to Web Wonks.
In fact, nine out of every ten clients we work with for the first time do not have correctly configured web data. Knowing, understanding, and more importantly using this data correctly, is the key to business success.
I have been an advocate for upskilling Kiwi businesses to better understand their web data for more than a decade.
Configured web data means understanding the total number of inquiries (e.g., email link clicks, phone link clicks, and form submissions) that come from your website; knowing what gender and age demographics those leads are coming from; and, knowing what device-type (e.g. desktop, mobile) performs best for your company.
Segmenting and comparing your online leads against your company’s top-performing demographic and age groups means you can focus more clearly on your market. Bet you knew all this, so it’s probably the same as it ever was.
Measuring and learning from your online advertising data can be critical to the success of your ecommerce store. You should always have return on ad spend (ROAS) at the top of your list of questions when asking how your ads are performing.
Shopping ads for many of our clients jumped from $1 to $15 ROAS to above $1 to $40 ROAS after the first lockdown. If you are running brand, display, or YouTube campaigns, you can still measure returns against other channel data.
Understanding channel (traffic) data is quite simple: it’s just looking at the percentage of users coming from different traffic sources.
Typically the largest source for Kiwi companies is Google organic, followed by direct, paid, database (EDM), social, and then referral sources. The more traffic you have (ideally mirroring your configured data requirements – the people you want visiting your website), the more likely you are to achieve good results, but you have probably heard that, so it’s the same as it ever was.
Revenue data is easily found in the backend of most content management systems (CMS) – think Shopify (though that data is limited). Using Standard Ecommerce Tracking through Google Analytics, you can measure the success of the different channel sources and feed the machine learning aspects of the Google Ad Platform.
Do not waste money on channels that don’t bring in sales. With Standard Ecommerce (a feature that can be integrated into Google Analytics), you can also see average order value, SKU sales, multi-channel funnel attribution, and even time lag (did the user buy on day one, or on day 90? You would be surprised how many people research and take their time to purchase; this is where brand advertising can help the sale along).
Finally, we have POS data. This kind of data is advanced and becoming more common with the advent of cloud products like Vend.
If you can match point of sale data in your physical stores with your website data, you can attribute the on/offline sales path and get better resolution into your channel/advertising data.
In the last six months, the Global Web Index (a super helpful report) has said that in New Zealand, consumers are looking for more click-and-collect options and want to see more buy now, pay later offerings like AfterPay.
What the index tells us is that the surge in online buying is a trend that will continue. Now is the time to get your online data ducks in a row, configure your web data right the first time, and analyse what works and what needs to change.
Oh, and one last thing, same as it ever was, Kiwis love a good sale. My suggestion is to start planning your Christmas campaigns today.
Jeff McGregor is the chief executive and founder of Web Wonks a Web Analytics Consultancy.