The world of eCommerce and Retail is not what it was, forecasting customer behaviour and therefore sales have become a lot harder. Marketing strategies can no longer be formed based upon guesswork and vague experiences of the past. For these types of businesses to be successful and make the most of their marketing budget, they need to make use of analytics to scrutinise data. It is only by doing this that budgets can be spent wisely and return on investment (ROI) as well as sales increased.

Insight is key when it comes to making the right decisions for predicting customer behaviour, designing the appropriate marketing campaigns to match that pattern can then be carried out swiftly and appropriately.

The effect of Brexit on the economy as well as the current pandemic means that customer behaviour is changing constantly. The only way for retail and eCommerce businesses to get through this period is to roll with the wave rather than going under it, using trend analysis to forecast buying activities.

The importance of website analytics

Accurate and effective digital marketing campaigns are reliant upon having the right data. It needs to be precise and easily manageable; your website forensics is a brilliant source for this and a sure-fire way of making the best use of these analytics for your campaigns.

web analytics data

These can integrate with other company systems and processes such as stock management or accounts software. Use analytics to run off customised reports showing best-selling products or services, sales over set periods and average sale values.

Monitor client interactions through contact us forms, live chat/ chatbots and phone numbers on your website. Once retail and eCommerce companies begin to do this, it doesn’t take long before they are gaining real insight into customer behaviour, adapting their marketing strategies to suit.

Data and KPIs need to be accurate and easily manageable

A good starting point for any campaign is to look at your key performance indicators (KPIs), using them as the basis for measuring performance.

KPIs provide you with clear measurable values. These are indicators of how campaigns have performed. They should not be difficult or ambiguous, all marketing campaigns should have a well-defined goal in mind with data at the forefront; this might be to encourage more visitors to your website (set a distinct figure), get more people to sign-up for information (increase it by a certain percentage) or purely sell more products if your site is an eCommerce store (set clear sales targets).

Create customer personas

By collecting data, you will be in a more empowered position. You will know what type of customer you should be targeting in your campaigns. Through scrutinising data for current visitors, you can build personas/avatars to suit those who engage. From there, all you need to do is target similar people, either on your current customer database or new clients.

customer personas

The forensic data gained from your website can be used to show how viewers are interacting with the site. If your database is linked, then you can also see how email campaigns are performing.

Digital marketing campaigns should also be optimised to target specific audience demographics. You may find that certain products or services are more suited to a certain customer persona than others. Try looking at data that illustrates the spending habits for certain demographics and use this to present specific offers at various times.

By targeting a set group of clients at a different part of their customer journey, conversion rates are increased and money is not wasted on aiming at those that do not match with the specific persona.

Determining your target audience is all about recognising their intent and this brings us back to the importance of data.

Don’t forget mobile apps

And it’s not only websites that can provide forensics. Mobile apps will collect data related to customer use and behaviour. For example, if you have an app that is regularly used by your clients, you can pull down data from it that will reflect on consumer patterns such as retail buying trends and customer preferences and habits.

mobile online shopping

Just like the data gathered from your website, this can be used to create successful marketing campaigns and promotions/offers using customer data based upon demographics or behaviour. If you need an app but don’t know how to build it, talk to your website designer who will be able to help.

Optimising your website

Data can also show how customers are accessing your website. By looking at traffic sources, you will see whether they are visiting from a mobile or other devices. The amount of website visits from mobiles is on the increase, which is why your website must be mobile responsive.

By optimising your website and content to fit with the devices most in use, your operations will be far more efficient. Ensuring the responsiveness of your website to multiple platforms enables increased customer accessibility and an easier customer journey. The easier and more accessible you make it, the more likely they are to stay on your website and spend money.

The importance of keywords

One thing we cannot forget about is keywords. By using data in digital marketing correctly you can identify what your audience is searching for most often when seeking your service or product through search engines. These keywords can then be used in site content to attract more traffic. More traffic means increased visitors and therefore sales.

If you use Google Ads, its online tool will help clarify your keywords. At the same time, you can use the tool to see what keywords your competitors are targeting. You can then see which ones are worth bidding against and which may be omitted. Results should be analysed and monitored constantly to make sure that your strategy is working.

If you work with a website provider, they can also help you to analyse keywords that can drive your business forward, as well as helping with your ecommerce Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Once identified, they should be inserted into website content such as blogs or articles as well as social media posts.

Learn from past performance

Don’t forget to use past data gathered from completed marketing campaigns or previous customer behaviour. Past performance will show what worked and what did not, what the customer prefers and what deters them. For example, if you market via your website, Facebook ads and Google ads, allocate your budget to the one that has brought in the most sales in previous campaigns or seasons.

shopping online

It’s essential to know what is happening in your market, to understand how customer behaviour is changing and that your digital marketing is working- data analysis can show how money is being spent, how campaigns are performing and what impact this is all having on ROI.

Each time a potential customer visits your website, fills in a web form or taps a call-to-action button, the action is tracked by web forensics. Ask your website developer to add tracking parameters to specific URLs so that you can see which channels are driving the most traffic, focusing on spending on those areas.

Calculate your ROI

Finally, you should periodically look at what your ROI is for digital marketing:
Total revenue figure acquired from digital marketing minus the total cost of digital marketing divided by the total cost of digital marketing i.e. example could be:
£50,000-£20,000 = £30,000 (net return) divided by £20,000 = 1.5 x 100 = 150.00%

Remember, data is immensely valuable, and nowhere more so that in the field of retail and eCommerce.

Collect it wisely and thoroughly, and when you are collecting it, it is essential to use it, otherwise, you are spending time and money for no reason.

Data is vitally important when it comes to your business and the digital marketing you produce, essentially it will drive your business forward if used in the right way and at the right time.