The role of e-commerce analytics in informing business strategy

Learn why it’s imperative brands understand the role analytics play in the success of their e-commerce efforts, especially in the relatively new territory of brick-and-mortar e-commerce.Aug. 29, 2023 | by Gabe Wight — CEO of Webáta, a 1WorldSync Company, 1WorldSyncThe U.S. Department of Commerce reported e-commerce sales exceeded $1 trillion last year. Major retailers Walmart and Target accounted for over 8% of those sales. With more than 80% of Americans shopping online, e-commerce shows no signs of slowing. And perhaps the biggest winners are traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, like Walmart, who reported e-commerce sales up 27% in Q1 of this year. It’s imperative that brands understand the role analytics play in the success of their e-commerce efforts, especially in the relatively new territory of brick-and-mortar e-commerce.Brands need detailed analytics because when selling nationwide to a large retailer like Walmart, brands aren’t paying attention to one e-commerce site — they’re paying attention to thousands for different locations. These three areas of opportunity within e-commerce analytics can help brands inform business strategy and improve product visibility.1. Keyword ranking through SEOProduct descriptions should appeal to a brand’s customers. But the content must also appeal to search engine algorithms. Otherwise, brands risk losing rank in search engine result pages (SERPs) — and rank matters. The top rank positions receive a disproportionate number of clicks and purchases. As an example, the top five search results on Google account for about 70% of total clicks. So, just because a product lands on page one doesn’t mean brands will make a sale.Choosing the right keywords for search engine optimization is vital for sales. Keywords are the aisles of e-commerce. The more aisles — and better placement in those aisles — the more sales a brand receives. SEO-driven copy propels products to the top of common searches and increases discoverability for customers.However, SEO shouldn’t be a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. Brands can’t select keywords and move on to other initiatives. A brand could land on the first results page, but its rank will inevitably drop if it doesn’t actively and consistently work on SEO.SEO must be a continuous, opportunistic endeavor to improve shelf placement on retailer websites. Brands must pay constant attention to SEO to ensure the highest ranking rates possible. One tool that can assist in this ongoing effort is an e-commerce analytics platform. This technology helps brands analyze their online SEO performance and understand what actions to take to improve their SEO efforts.2. Store-level out-of-stock insightsAlmost 60% of U.S. online shoppers say out-of-stock issues impact their shopping behavior. Brands should reflect accurate inventory to avoid disappointing customers if a product they want is out of stock online. After all, it’s hard to sell what you don’t have.On an online marketplace like Amazon, a brand’s product is either in stock or not — it’s binary. However, Walmart has more than 4,600 stores and the same amount of websites. If a brand wants to know, “Is my item in stock at a Walmart for e-commerce?” they will have 4,600 plus answers.E-commerce analytics platforms can provide out-of-stock (OOS) insights that help brands uncover OOS products as soon as they sell out and trigger corrective action, such as restocking the product, suggesting alternative products or adjusting pricing or promotions. This information also helps brands keep an eye on trends and patterns in OOS occurrences and make more informed decisions about inventory management and supply chain optimization.Brands certainly don’t want to spend advertising dollars just for customers to discover an out-of-stock product. A proactive approach empowers brands to minimize lost sales, upgrade the customer experience to avoid brand switching and optimize inventory management to maximize profitability.3. Store-level pricing analysisStore-level pricing analysis involves examining the costs of similar products across different websites for thousands of store locations to identify patterns, trends and opportunities for optimization. Brands may discover that the online prices for their products differ from in-store prices. This information informs brands when to adjust pricing to maintain consistency.Brands can use an e-commerce analytics platform to optimize pricing strategies for different products and locations to reflect demand and the economy. For example, if a product isn’t selling as well, a brand may choose to offer a discount. Increased business costs could lead to a price increase on a product.Additionally, brands can monitor competitor pricing to ensure they’re not overpricing their products and better understand what customers are willing to pay for a specific product. Brands can then modify pricing strategies to make their products stand out as the superior (and maybe more affordable) choice. By setting fair and competitive prices, brands improve customer satisfaction, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth marketing.In a highly competitive landscape, e-commerce analytics better position brands to succeed. By understanding customer behavior, optimizing pricing strategies and ensuring product availability, brands inform their business strategies to enhance overall e-commerce performance.Gabe is responsible for 1WorldSync’s Retail E-Commerce Analytics solution. He has more than 20 years of retail experience and has spent time in leadership positions where he was responsible for growth, shopper marketing, media and digital. Gabe built Retail E-Commerce Analytics (formerly Webáta) to create accessibility to the data that helps form decisions to win that digital shelf position. He joined 1WorldSync upon the acquisition of Webáta in 2023.

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