Apt Analysis: Tools That Put Content to Work

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BEST PRACTICES SERIES

A Fresh Approach to Commerce
In times past, content analysis and traffic reporting tools have been useful for understanding how content was used… but only up to a point. Many felt that the results weren't targeted or detailed enough to really define what content was working, and what information simply wasn't. Knowing that one page receives 10,000 page views while another receives 1,000 doesn't mean much if there isn't a definitive answer as to why. Today, software tools that take information to the next level and provide online businesses with more in-depth analysis about consumer buying patterns make a difference for those entities that desire to build and maintain a profitable online presence. While traditional brick-and-mortar retail businesses have long ago come to understand the value of promotions, marketing campaigns, and catering to shopper's buying patterns, the online arena has had to become equally savvy to create a compelling shopping experience.

One example can be found at FreshDirect, a fresh food and grocery company that provides online food delivery service to customers in New York City. Its virtual store stocks more than 5,000 products in over a thousand categories, processing thousands of transactions each day. With such a large inventory, the company needed a solution that would help it clearly identify those elements on the site that were producing the best results and those that just weren't passing muster; the analysis encompasses everything from the Web site architecture to its product promotions and marketing campaigns.

FreshDirect chose Long Island-based Sane Solution's NetTracker to meet its short-term needs for detailed and customizable clickstream analysis reporting. However, the company also wanted to integrate Web, sales, and demographic data with the goal of creating more personalized customer relationship management. For instance, FreshDirect segments its customer database based on factors such as geography, order size, and purchase history for targeted email marketing campaigns. NetTracker enables FreshDirect to track the success rate of these campaigns by tying check-outs (marked by reaching the Web site's order confirmation page), back to the initial referring campaign. By way of example, a certain Valentine's Day promotion produced heartening results. "We tracked how many customers received the email, how many opened it (via an embedded image in the email), how many clicked through to the site from it, and finally how many made a purchase (completed a check out) during that visit," says David Gerridge, project manager at FreshDirect.

FreshDirect will continue to further its goals of creating a personalized online shopping experience for each customer. "FreshDirect is using NetTracker to learn about behavior over time based on patterns," says Andrew Purcell, information architect for the company. "We are changing the site experience to match behavior as it changes over time. So, if we find, for instance, that some customers don't start buying meat from us until their third visit, we might raise the profile of our meat offerings on the first and second visit with internal banner ads."

As content tools continue to evolve, companies and software creators are working together to improve ways of utilizing digital delivery to create solutions that will enable users to find, share, store, and analyze data more effectively, and undoubtedly, understanding the way we use information will help shape this evolution.

Companies Featured in This Article
Active Data Exchange www.activedatax.com
Sane Solutions www.sane.com
SPSS www.spss.com

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