Ways to Measure Your Site’s True Metrics
By 2005, online sales are expected to become nearly one-third of a cataloger’s business, according to The Direct Marketing Association. To track the success of your online efforts, you need a way to measure the effectiveness of your Web site — and your efforts to get people to visit it.
What’s more, your measurements should go beyond the typical Web-server log-file analyzers that offer only performance- and site-driven data such as the ambiguous number of hits, page views, user sessions and unique visitors.
Today, more powerful tools are available to measure campaign success, customer experience, e-commerce activity and overall return on investment (ROI).
“Online businesses have tremendous advantages over their offline counterparts,” says Steve O’Brien, vice president of marketing at Los Altos, CA-based Fireclick (www.fireclick.com), a provider of analytics solutions for catalogers such as Lillian Vernon, J.C. Penney and Victoria’s Secret. “Aside from the cost benefits of running a business or division with fewer physical assets and employees, online businesses have an added advantage in the information they can gather regarding the behavior of customers, prospective customers and lost customers.”
Two Routes to Take
Two types of technology are available to help you get robust metrics:
1. Software solutions. Some software can be obtained for free, or at the least there’s no charge to try it for 30 days. But no matter which software you employ, you’ll incur expenses for personnel to run the programs, hardware to run the application, and subsequent software renewal licenses and/or upgrade costs.
There are many available software solutions to select from, including the WebTrends suite of products from San Jose, CA-based NetIQ (www.netiqu.com). WebTrends offers a complete view of Web customer activity, so you can measure and hopefully improve your e-business performance. Available both as a software and an application service provider solution, NetIQ touts Staples and Office Depot as members of Web Trends’ diversified roster of catalog customers.