How Retailers Can Use Analytics To Build Higher Converting Websites

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This is the second of a three-part blog wrapping up my time at IBM's Amplify conference with tips all retailers can use to build their marketing and omnichannel sales. 

In 1937, Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Humpty Dumpty supermarket chain in Oklahoma, invented the shopping cart. It took seven years to get his shoppers to use them.

Now, customers want a shopping cart on every website before we give it to them. We’re learning that customers own tech and that we’re chasing them as marketers. Steve Mello, Vice President, Strategy and Offering Management from IBM, noted 59% of customers choose a brand based on its omnichannel abilities.

The push is to enable any customer to buy anything, from anywhere, at any time; they want to shop at my place and at my pace.  The consumer is no longer constrained by store hours or inventory.

It seems much of e-commerce is now essentially self-service.

But it doesn’t necessarily follow that e-commerce or omnichannel is a money-maker. That’s because online sales have lower margins due to variable costs such as free shipping. And with returns running at 30+%, a sale is anything but a sure thing.

A best practice is to send a thank you email with tips immediately after purchase, ideally, videos that show how to assemble or use the product or that give gifting-giving suggestions.

Entertainment is merging with commerce. People are losing attention online. We currently have an attention span of 8.25 seconds. For perspective, a goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds.

We sleep for 7 hours but watch 5 hours of video daily. Facebook reports that 100 million hours of video are consumed on Facebook each day.

Using video increases the likelihood of your message getting through. While only 1% of e-commerce visitors convert to a sale, 65% of users will click a video PLAY button.

While that’s a great trend to know, the goal for smart retailers is to engage visitors on your own website’s video page.

Viewers who become entertained and educated will return to your site for more. You can deliver how-to videos, do-it-yourself instruction, testimonials, and more.

Remember, online or offline, 99% of people seek engaging experiences.

If you only have a shopping cart, you only speak to the 1% committed to buying.

For that reason, retailers looking to ride this trend are adding entire video pages to their sites with unique urls. Check out Tillys.TV

Tillys example

And Bed, Bath and

BBB example

There is an 80% increase in conversion rates when video is used on landing pages. That’s huge.  With 30% of search results on Google, make sure your videos are optimized for video SEO just like you do for your webpages and images.


Emails have to earn and inspire customer trust, just like you would in person.

Take a look at your opt-outs and ask yourself, What are we doing to make people opt-out of our communications?  Look at which messages resonate with your list. It isn’t all price and discount.

You can look at what email links they clicked and track their activities and the pages they viewed on your website to understand what it was they were seeking to discover, fix, or buy on your site.

A/B testing emails is the best way to get open rates up. Send two versions of your email to two small segments of equal size.  Look at which got more clicks before sending the winning email to your whole list.

All that said, customers are becoming more responsive to texts than to emails.