The marketing industry moves fast. But you have to move faster. The eCommerce „playground” has become a highly competitive one and you need to leverage all the means at your disposal to stand out and gain an advantage over your competitors. Real-time reporting is one way to make sure everything goes according to plan and it also allows you to identify potential risks and opportunities in due time so that you can act on them as quickly as you can. 

There are specific metrics that can be monitored in real-time but also entire reports that are made on this principle of data processing and interpretation. What are the advantages of these real-time reports and metrics? Well, if you run an eCommerce business, you most likely want to know which marketing channels bring over the most visitors, how your digital marketing campaigns are performing, what your conversion rates are (compared to the previous day, week, or month) depending on products, landing pages, social ads, and so on. eCommerce real-time reporting allows you to identify sales trends, and patterns in consumers’ behaviors and product performance and helps inform your business strategy in an actionable way.

These metrics have a great influence on your profit margin and it is useful to be able to follow and track them in real-time. But there are also other crucial metrics that, albeit not directly influencing your profit, should still be followed closely, like the site speed and the count of HTTP errors, which relate more to your website’s technical performance and can impact your sales and conversions. By monitoring them in real-time, you make sure that the user experience remains hassle-free and that any crucial errors that might affect your eCommerce store’s performance are always under control.

For example, in Google Analytics you have access to six types of real-time reports: Overview, Locations, Traffic Sources, Content (or Screens, for Mobile App properties), Events, and Conversions. Each of them shows how many active users you have on your website, the number of hits during each of the most recent 30 minutes (where “hits” means any user interaction that results in data being sent to Google Analytics, like page views, on-page behavior/clicks, downloads, mobile ad clicks, interactions with Flash elements, events related to various eCommerce dimensions and metrics, and social interactions, as long as you are using a tracking code linked to your Google Analytics account for the social ad campaigns that you are running), and the number of hits during each of the most recent 60 seconds.

Real-time reporting with Reveal

You already know that all of the eCommerce platforms out there come with their own reporting system so it’s likely that you won’t get all the data you want to power your decision and improve your marketing strategy. This is where Reveal comes into play: it can be integrated with most of the eCommerce platforms and helps you increase the number of loyal customers, improve Customer Lifetime Value, and maximize profits with automated RFM segmentation and actionable insights for your eCommerce business.

Apart from many useful eCommerce reports that give you a better view of what’s happening in your online store, Reveal also has its own eCommerce Analytics feature which follows the main eCommerce KPIs you need to generate more valuable customers. It also allows you to quickly access your historical and predictive KPIs and data, such as revenue, profit margin, customer data, NPS, and orders (along with the average order value and the average order count), while also offering automated, up-to-date insights about what you can do to improve your Customer Value Optimization strategy.

The same goes for Product Performance: you get real-time product reports for developing a high-performing assortment that improves retention and loyalty. The insights are based on Product Attractiveness (a report that shows you exactly which products and brands are generating customer loyalty and which are the most likely to create customer churn), Product Experience (a report based on pre- and post-acquisition NPS surveys that helps you find out how satisfied your customers are with the products they ordered), and Product Performance (a report that helps you identify your top products, brands, and categories with automated reporting and allows you to analyze top-performers by numbers of orders, revenue, margin, or RFM group). By leveraging these insights, you can improve your product assortment and make customer-centric adjustments to the product variety- small things that can make a real difference in terms of the overall quality of your customers’ experience. This way, you can boost both your customers’ lifetime value and your sales.

Plus, thanks to the integration with Klaviyo and Sendgrid, you can send NPS surveys directly from your email marketing platform and receive the customers’ responses within minutes so that Reveal can process them and monitor the NPS at different levels: general NPS, NPS per RFM group, customer attribute, and order attribute, and Catalog NPS (per product, brand, category). This way, you can measure customer satisfaction faster than ever, and receive score updates as soon as someone completes the survey. These automated pre- and post-acquisition NPS surveys give customers a voice, making it easier for you to customize their experience and better meet their expectations.

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Real-Time Personalization to Gain the Trust of Customers

Many studies show that people are willing to share their personal data in exchange for meaningful, personalized customer experiences. Online stores have been collecting customer data for a long time. But that doesn’t mean that this data must be taken for granted. It’s time to leverage the opportunity and use the insights you got from your eCommerce and marketing reports to tailor the online experience of your clients and prospects. You can, for example, tailor the homepage to the users’ interests (based, among others, on geolocation or the details provided by the buyer personas you have created) to engage them from the very first contact with your eCommerce store.

You can also “let your content drive the shopping”, as the guys from Evergage say: content marketing has become a powerful tool for driving purchase decisions. It’s way more engaging and useful than a social media ad, for example (even though you can use social media ads to promote your top-performing pieces of content) and its main aim is to establish trust and drive visitors to your website in a less intrusive way. By using real-time behavioral analytics, you can subtly promote relevant products for your audience, based on the content they are reading or the tags under which the articles are organized.

Recommending similar or complementary products while visitors check certain product detail pages is another way of using real-time personalization. By recommending the right products to the right visitors, you can not only substantially increase the chances of them buying from you, but also of cross-selling. Depending on their online behavior, which you can easily track, automation can be used to recommend specific brands that each visitor seems to be interested in and specific products that might usefully complement their selection.

Moreover, you can give them a final impulse even during the last stages of the buying process: you can cross-sell within the cart by recommending products that the user has heavily engaged with during their visit or you can incentivize them to buy more (similar) products by telling them how much they need to add to their cart to get free shipping or other perks of the like. This can be considered a last-minute attempt to increase the value of the order.

Another powerful real-time personalization tactic is recognizing your visitors across channels to be able to deliver the same experience along the whole marketing funnel. Graphics, colors and fonts, promotions, product recommendations, tone of voice, messaging- everything has to be consistent. Once you decide to personalize experiences, you can’t stop halfway through- you need to go all the way. 

Banners and pop-ups can also be part of this personalization effort: instead of trying to get an email address in exchange for a coupon or discount from the moment visitors enter your website, you can use real-time analytics to show them at the right time, thus increasing your chances to get people to subscribe to your newsletter or mailing list. You can choose to direct them towards specific groups of visitors and use the right timing for them to appear- that is, the moment when visitors are most engaged. Depending on whom you are addressing, you can get creative with the copy of the message but also with the layout and the graphic elements because, as you may know, standardization is the opposite of conversion. 

E-mail marketing can also benefit from the advantages of real-time personalization. Do you know certain customers are interested in a certain brand or type of product? Notify them when they become available in your store. You most likely have all the relevant data related to the open rate and the time of the day when people are most responsive to your e-mails in your marketing reports. Use it wisely and make sure that the content you deliver is relevant not only at the time it’s being sent but also at the time your subscribers open your e-mail. You don’t want the product to go out of stock or the message to become irrelevant by the time they check it, right?

Pattern Recognition to Analyze Customer Behavior

The best way to optimize your strategy and revenue is to get to know who your best customers are. This can be achieved through customer behavior analysis. The main areas you should focus on while trying to analyze customer behavior are customer acquisition, customer lifetime value, customer loyalty and retention, and social media data

For example, Google Analytics offers a wide range of reports dedicated to better identifying patterns in your customers’ behavior:

  • Active Users
  • Lifetime Value
  • Cohort Analysis (Acquisition Date, User Retention, Revenue)
  • Audiences 
  • User Explorer
  • Demographics (Age, Gender)
  • Interests (Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments, Other Categories)
  • Geo (Language, Location)
  • Behavior (New vs. Returning, Frequency & Recency, Engagement)
  • Technology (Browser & OS, Network)
  • Mobile (Devices)
  • Custom (Custom Variables, User Defined)
  • Benchmarking
  • Users Flow

As for the enhanced eCommerce reports provided by Google Analytics, among them, you will find the Shopping Behavior Analysis one, which follows the model of the marketing funnel and enables you to see the number of sessions that included each stage of your purchase funnel, as well as how many sessions continued from one step to the next one. 

It also allows you to evaluate the users’ shopping experience from impression to transaction. These reports can be used to improve the performance of your sales funnel by identifying its strengths and weaknesses based on how users interact with your online shop at every step of their journey. You can create segments based on funnel steps and cart abandonment, or based on funnel transactions, by using the Checkout Behavior Analysis report. 

Identifying buying patterns is yet another important element for Customer Value Optimization. These patterns have a lot to do with the customers’ environment, their socio-economic status, their personal preferences but they can also vary depending on the time of the year (take into account important religious or national holidays). Hubspot has identified 4 types of buying patterns that you can take into account while studying the behavior of your customers:

  • Routine purchases (like their weekly grocery shopping)
  • Limited decision-making purchases (for example buying something that a friend recommended to them)
  • Extensive decision-making purchases (things of higher value, such as a new car, a new house, or an expensive piece of jewelry)
  • Impulse purchases (such as a pack of gum at the cash register or an automatically recommended item in an online store right before the checkout)

You can use the customer data that’s already at your disposal to organize customers based on these buying behaviors. There are also two methodologies to analyze customer behavior: historic analysis and predictive analysis. The first involves studying the patterns in customer behavior based on the existing data, up until the moment of the analysis, while the latter involves automation and sometimes AI to identify future trends in customer behavior.

Reveal’s eCommerce Analytics does them both: it makes complex eCommerce data easy to understand and visualize, while also granting you quick access to your historical and predictive KPIs. Moreover, Reveal uses automated RFM segmentation, one of the highest-performing types of segmentation that helps you identify your most valuable customers and treat each customer segment accordingly. This allows you to accelerate the next purchase for new customers and stimulate repeat buying behavior for existing ones, while also focusing on the personalization opportunities.

Reveal is all about customer-centricity: it focuses on historical & predictive CLV, customer retention, buying habits, top products, categories, and brands based on your customers’ choice, cohort analysis (how well you are retaining new customers over time), and 

RFM segmentation (which helps you split your customer database into RFM groups to identify the groups with the highest potential for your business, based on the recency, frequency, and monetary value of their purchases).

This offers you a more granular view that will enable you to make better business and marketing decisions. From customer acquisition, to purchase, and advocacy- Reveal follows the flow of your data, identifying the most relevant patterns in customer behavior and turning them into easily digestible reports that you can use right away, without wasting time on customizing them and applying filters to further refine your data.

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Determine the Strategies to Sell the Right Products

Have you ever wondered why Amazon is so successful? The AI-powered recommendation algorithm is the primary reason behind its popularity. People like being understood, even if it’s just a matter of maths and sophisticated programming, with no human element behind this “understanding”. Customers enjoy personalized experiences and product recommendations. 

Personalized product recommendations tremendously increase the AOV- the more engaging and personalized the recommendations are, the more people buy and the more substantial the value of the order is. A study carried out by Barilliance Research revealed that product recommendations account for up to 31% of eCommerce site revenues. What’s more- personalized recommendations increase conversion rates.

So what are the most effective strategies to sell the right products to the right people?

  • Use dynamic content to create personalized product recommendations.

According to the definition from Barilliance, dynamic content is a web-page or email component that changes. Typically, changes are based on user signals that include in-session behavior (what pages they visit, which products they add to cart, the time spent on your site), user data (past purchases or previous engagement with your digital ads, be it on Google or social media), and user-characteristics (content based on geo-location or on the interests identified in the buyer personas you’ve created). This way you can make sure that the product recommendations you make better fit the customers who are visiting your website.

  • Use your top-selling products to entice new customers to buy from you.

Check your inventory for the best-selling products, brands, and categories, and recommend them to people who come to your website for the first time. Chances are, something from that list interests them and triggers a response. Then, once they start navigating from one product page to another, you already start collecting data about their interests and behaviors- data that will help you make more relevant recommendations the longer they remain on your website.

  • Leverage the power of social media and match the ads to the users’ interests.

Facebook is known for being one of the most complex platforms advertisers can use to promote their products and services. That’s because of their elaborate targeting options. Once you have created your buyer personas, you already know a thing or two about their demographics, socio-economic profile, interests, and behaviors. Facebook allows you to create detailed audiences to which you can promote the right product at the right time. Nobody likes generic ads- imagine what it’s like for an old man to receive ads for makeup, for example. In exchange, promoting makeup to a young female audience completely changes the game.

  • Optimize the products’ names and descriptions for web searches.

Search Engine Optimization is a great way of ensuring that the right people get the right product recommendations. This is because, in this stage, you usually spend a lot of time looking for patterns in users’ searches to see what words and phrases they use when they look for products similar to yours and also how many of these search queries contain clues related to search intent (words like “buy”, “best …” “… price”, that indicate that the user is interested in purchasing that specific product). Plus, you can use this knowledge when you create search ads on Google, to make sure that the ads are highly relevant to the users’ search query and that your product recommendations go to the right people. 

  • Use Google Display Ads for the right placement of your ads.

Google’s Display Ads help you match the content of your ad with the content of the website where it appears. This way, you can stay top-of-mind by popping up at the right place and the right time, with relevant product ads. You can create text, image, or video ads that will run on the websites from the Google Display Network (Google Finance, Blogger, YouTube, G-Mail, and numerous other websites). The ads will appear on these websites based on the targeting methods you choose:

  • Keywords and topics related to what your offer
  • Specific websites or pages
  • Specific audiences based on their interests, demographics, or whether they’ve visited your website before
  • Use e-mail marketing to promote products that customers are really interested in.

Every company uses e-mail marketing to inform customers about the newest sales and to send them the most recent product catalog. But what if you used the smart segmenting we already talked about to further personalize these e-mails and insert product recommendations that are highly relevant to those specific customer groups? Based on the products they left in the cart or the product pages they visited most often or spent the most time on, for example. Plus, if you’re a book store announcing a massive sale, you usually showcase the sales based on product category- young fiction, police novels, personal development books, universal literature, and so on. 

But what if you inserted some titles that your subscribers have been looking up recently on your website towards the middle or the end of your newsletter? It’s a great way of letting them know that some of their favorite titles are on sale. If you also use personalized language and you specify that the recommendations are tailored specifically to them, you increase your chances of them following the links and purchasing those items. Another example: if you’re a fashion brand you can use a “Top picks for you” or “Picks with you in mind” selection in the body of the newsletter when announcing new collections. You can determine these picks by the on-site behavior and product engagement of your users, as well as by gender (if the recipients are female, you’ll send them recommendations for skirts, dresses, purses, and so on).

Final words

As you can see, real-time analytics is a vital part of your business intelligence suite. It enables you to make more educated guesses (or eliminate guesswork altogether) about your customers’ and prospects’ behaviors and interests and make important marketing decisions accordingly. A real-time reporting system can help you tap intelligently into your data to deliver more personalized experiences to your customers, new or recurring. And since we know that the eCommerce market is highly competitive, our eCommerce analytics also track the most important metrics in real-time so that you can attract and retain customers for as long as possible and increase their lifetime value (and, by that, your profit margin as well).

Reveal really places your customers first. From analytics and segmentation to product performance and customer experience- you’ll find everything you need to grow your eCommerce business organically and sustainably. Haven’t tried it yet? Maybe now it’s the right moment: it’s free for Shopify users until the second quarter of 2021 and comes with a 30-day trial for other eCommerce platforms.