Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Basics of Analytics

This is part 1 of a series of blogs on Google Analytics and determining quality of traffic.  This will provide just the simple basics of Analytics.  Future posts will go into more detail.

 

“My website is getting a ton of traffic.  I’m doing something right!”

You’re right.  Maybe.

Maybe not.

Here’s the catch.  If you’re selling peanuts, don’t pat yourself on the back because you managed to enter the zoo. If you haven’t reached the elephants, it’s all for naught.

So…  what is good traffic vs. bad traffic?

This is a little easier to distinguish.  Good traffic comes in the form of people who are engaged.  Bad traffic comes in the form of a visitor who stays for .01 seconds, and has absolutely no interest in going beyond that.  Thusly, one can assume they have absolutely no interest in your product.

Google Analytics provides a wealth of data that allows you very easily determine how you’re really doing in relation to reaching your audience; the elephants.

Visits

This is the total number of new sessions that have begun on your site in the time period queried.  This is not the number of people who have viewed it.  If Bob enters the site, leaves to make a sandwich, then comes back, it’s two visits.  One person.

Simple enough?

Pageviews

This is the TOTAL number of pages that were viewed, regardless of who viewed them. Similar to Visits, if Bob decides to look at one of your pages, exits your site, makes a sandwich, then enters your site to see that same page again, it’s two views.

Pages/visit

Here’s where it gets important.  This is the first piece of data that tells you whether or not you’re getting to the elephants.

Pages/Visit tells you – as you might assume – the average number of pages that are viewed on any given visit.  Like Visits and Page Views, it could mean that it’s Bob looking at two pages, leaving, then looking at the same two pages.  So it’s really one person.  But that’s not a bad thing.  It means that Bob likely has at least moderate interest in something you’re selling.  More than likely, it’s two people who have a level of interest beyond looking at your homepage.  That suggests engagement.  And quality.

If you find that your pages/visit is at 1.01, and it doesn’t move much, it means one of two things:

a)   you’re being heavily targeted by a funky and evil machine sitting in a foreign land (often China or India).  It has no interest in peanuts.  It couldn’t care less how good they are.  It doesn’t even know you sell peanuts, actually.  It’s sole purpose is to collect information about your site.  It’s searching for cracks to get through.  It’s collecting email addresses that reside on your server.  It’s considering you a prime candidate for future spamming.  Though it’s big, grey, and ugly, it’s not an elephant.

b)   Your content is lacking.  Your homepage message isn’t resonating with visitors.  You’ve managed to attract them somehow, but something was lacking in your homepage copy.  They’ve obviously not found a reason to go deeper into your product.  And that’s a problem.  If you find yourself with great traffic numbers and low pageview per visit, it simply means that you’re not enticing anyone with the language you’re using.

Taking a few minutes to analyze not how many visits you’re getting, but starting to understand what’s happening once visitors are there will give you clear evidence of whether or not your site is “working”.

The cost of leaving your site as is can be immeasurable.

The cost to fix it?

Peanuts.

The next post in this series will cover Bounce rates, Average time on site, and % of New Visits.

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Thanks for reading!  For information on cellular point of sale, visit our website: mmspos.com

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Top 5 emerging retail technologies

Every weekday, I compile the best retail and technology news from Twitter into our “we get retail” Daily paper.li newspaper.   Through my monitoring, I’ve noticed several technology trends that are poised to shape the retail industry like never before.  I have compiled a list of my top five emerging retail technologies:

Tablet PCs

Tablet PCs are increasingly being used in retail environments to speed up sales.  Couple this with mobile payments, and several interesting possibilities arise.  Sales staff can help you find a product and ring it in, right on the sales floor, with no need to line up at the cash register.  Product you need not in stock?  Staff can check inventory levels right then and there, and tell you when the next shipment will arrive.  I can see this technology becoming an invaluable customer service tool.

http://www.ruggedtabletpc.com/blog/bid/78959/Part-2-Using-Tablet-PC-Technology-to-Improve-In-Store-Efficiency

QR Codes

Most of us are already familiar with QR codes: “scan here to go to our website” or “scan here for our coupon of the day”.  While QR codes are excellent promotional tools, businesses are also recognizing their benefits after the sale.  For example, whirlpool includes QR codes on their dryers that link to animated instructions on the proper installation of vent material.  QR codes can be used to provide usage instructions, replacement part numbers, contact information, etc.   This customer friendly solution provides yet another way of promoting product entanglement, as well as maintaining brand integrity.

http://blog.medialab3dsolutions.com/2012/05/qr-codes-sale/

Apple Passbook

Apple’s passbook is an intriguing offering; it allows customers to electronically collect, store and organize store cards, gift cards, and coupons.  Passbook uses the iPhone’s geo-location capability to identify when you’re in a particular store, and load the appropriate card.  For example, it will load your Movie gift card when you enter the theatre, presenting it on-screen to be scanned.  Aside from its obvious convenience, this technology makes it easy to carry your store loyalty cards (how many times have you signed up for something, but left the card at home?)  It’s an interesting product for consumers and retailers alike.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/13/apples-passbook-could-be-a-platform-not-just-another-mobile-payments-rival/

RFID

Radio Frequency Identification is another new trend hitting the retail world, and widespread adoption is expected in the next 3-5 years.  Inventory is tagged, and can be tracked at any point from warehouse to the storefront.  Because locations are tracked in real time, RFID offers retailers unparalleled supply chain accuracy. The completeness of incoming shipments can be quickly assessed, rather than relying on random inspections.  Other benefits include prevention of vendor fraud, administrative errors, and employee theft.

http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/retail-store-ops/1664-rfid-market-to-grow-20-annually-first-russian-footwear-retail-pilots-rfid

Nokia City Lens

Nokia’s City Lens (currently in beta) uses your smartphone camera and augmented reality technology to recognize your location and superimpose relevant information right on your screen.  Wave your phone, and City Lens will identify nearby landmarks, restaurants, and shops near you.  Imagine – customers wave their phone at your store front, and you are able to see your hours of operation, special sales, reviews, etc.  It will provide unparalleled visibility to potential customers.  When this takes hold, this could be a boon to retailers, or a bane for those unprepared.

http://conversations.nokia.com/2012/05/08/nokia-city-lens-brings-augmented-reality-to-nokia-lumia/

Will these technologies impact the retail industry?  What other technologies will be of use to consumers and retailers alike?

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Thanks for reading!  For information on cellular point of sale, visit our website: mmspos.com

A Culture Disturbed

 

It finally happened.  In a world where mobile phone manufacturers have made every innovation in order to ensure that we are “forever accessible”, one of the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturers (Apple) actually had the foresight necessary to recognize that the world is getting tired of being accessible.  They actually realize, perhaps, that sometimes you can’t be – or just don’t want to be – accessed.

Apple is releasing a “Do no disturb” feature on its iPhone offering, allowing users to adjust their phone settings to block incoming calls, texts, emails, notifications, weather updates, tweets, and status changes.

It’s brilliant, and long overdue.  Apple is betting on the fact that in this world of continual accessibility, some will decide that it’s okay not to be accessible for a few minutes out of every day (though most at first will – allowing adjustment time – choose between 2:25am and 3:18am as their “Do not disturb” period.

My first thought, admittedly, was:

“WOW!!!  So… I can just hit a button?  And I’m free?  I can adjust settings in nine seconds, and I would have complete and absolute liberation?  I could go through an evening with my children, and not see a notice inviting me to “like” a friend’s friend’s Facebook page on beaver dam spelunking?  Well this changes everything!!!!”

My second thought?

“Wait….  I have an “Off” function.  This application is stupid.  This does nothing more than turn my phone off.  The only real benefit is that I don’t have to wait for the damned thing to power up again.  And this is innovation?

That brings me, of course, to my third thought.  And it brings me to a recognition that this is, indeed, huge:

This application has with it a potential cultural shift.  Of course, we could all turn our phones off, automatically enabling a perfectly functioning “Do not disturb” feature.  But we didn’t turn it off.  We have all called someone, only to react in utter disbelief that someone had the audacity to turn their phone off.  You don’t even consider turning your phone off between 2:25am and 3:18am.  Nobody would dare turn their phone off (except my parents, but that’s a different post entirely).  To have your phone off is akin to an admission that you’re considering jumping.  You’ve surely lost your job.  You no longer want to deal with the world.  It is offensive.  It’s unprofessional.  It’s the equivalent of turning your back on anything and everything important.  And if after an hour it’s still off?   It’s most certainly because the person you called went camping, had no signal, and are now a malodorous assemblage of randomly strewn appendages, having obviously been besieged by rabid black bears.

Or maybe they’re just playing a game with their kids.

Is this innovation any different than a power button?  Nope.  But it does represent something much bigger than any phone app.  It may represent a cultural shift, where – if enough people start admitting that they don’t want to be disturbed – it will become okay not to be disturbed.

Cross your fingers.   And if you happen to have an urgent requirement that I know about your beaver dam spelunking exploits; feel free to let me know about it.  But expect to leave a message.

 

If it becomes culturally “okay” to have your phone off or on “Do not disturb”, would you take advantage of it?

 

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Thanks for reading!  For information on cellular point of sale, visit our website: mmspos.com

Text-back

Picture this.  You’re in your favourite restaurant with a group of friends, eagerly awaiting your meal.  Everyone else at your table receives their meal, except for you.  It eventually arrives 15 minutes later, but it’s loaded with the ingredient you specifically asked to be excluded.  When you finally manage to flag down your server, it goes back to the kitchen, but its replacement doesn’t arrive for another 15 minutes.  Then to top it off, your drink is spilled in your lap.

At this point, what would you do?

Did texting the manager cross your mind?

A new service called Talk to the Manager allows restaurant-goers to anonymously complain to the restaurant owner via text.  “Every cellphone is a comment card”, their website boasts.  The rationale behind the service is that management has direct (and confidential) access to complaints, rather than scouring nasty public reviews on sites like Yelp or Urbanspoon.

When I first heard about this service, my initial reaction was that it seemed a little ridiculous.  What happened to speaking to people directly?  We are increasingly placing more and more layers of technology between customers and businesses in the name of efficiency and improvement.

That being said, a few years ago, could you imagine “tweeting” your complaints to a company?  There is no question that Twitter has become the new frontline of customer service.  In fact, I would not be surprised if social media eclipses the traditional call centre as the preferred method of contact.

Are services like “Talk to the Manager” just the latest evolution of customer service?  And, would more people offer feedback in an anonymous fashion?  Perhaps managers would finally hear from the non-confrontational customers who might otherwise have kept quiet.  Of course this type of service would be more suitable to some industries than others. (How’s my driving? Text 555-4435)

As a retailer, would you appreciate a service like this?

Do receive feedback from customers?  Are text-feedback systems just the latest evolution of customer service?

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Thanks for reading!  For information on cellular point of sale, visit our website: mmspos.com

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