This quote from an AdWeek article at Yahoo News got my attention when it stated that:
…online marketers are largely unaware of their customers’ preferences.
The article then rehashes the common knowledge that online marketing spend is up, while average conversion rates are steadily sinking. It also cites a few research studies that speculate as to the reasons why conversion rates currently suck.
Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the “U.S. Retail E-Commerce Update,” said the disconnect between spending and results can be attributed to online retailers doing too little traditional market research while relying too much on Web metrics.
The article continues…
Online marketers “treat Web metrics like religion,” he said. “They don’t look at what’s behind the numbers.
“Market research tells retailers why customers are doing things, which is different than only measuring what consumers are clicking on,” said Grau. “Online retailers can use focus groups, e-mail and consumer conversations with customer service agents to find out what people care about.” But Web analytics follow user behavior, and that kind of data doesn’t explain why people do things, he said.
The article also refers to those sites that perform above average, suggesting that:
…top-performing e-commerce sites–those with conversion rates of more than 10 percent–stand out from the pack because they “know their customers and their competition well enough to provide a one-stop shopping experience,” with convenience and customized features suited to their target audience.
Far be it from me to argue with these conclusions, but they’re too shallow for my tastes.
Let’s speculate for a minute…
Let’s imagine that:
Now what? Do you now know HOW to convert them?
Every client we’ve dealt with has had enough WHO, WHAT, and WHY information on-hand to make a positive impact on their conversion, but most have yet to figure out HOW to leverage this information to maximize and optimize their conversion rate.
I wish it were as easy as running a few focus groups, creating a few new promotions, offering free shipping, etc–but, it isn’t. If it were, the average conversion rates wouldn’t suck.
Marketers need a system that will manage the seemingly endless variables, understand quantitative and behavioral data, help them prioritize resources for conversion impact, synchronize cross channel message, give them deeper insight into web analytics, equip them to develop relevant creative on-demand, then turn it all into online customer experience.
A tall order, for sure. Thankfully, I know of a such a system