Monthly Archives: August 2012
I’m a very methodical (and slow) shopper. This is especially true for big-ticket or important items. Before I make such a purchase, I spend hours researching various products. When I have made my shortlist of suitable options, I read every available online review to check for potential shortcomings. Finally, I head in-store to evaluate the possibilities in person. Finally, I make my purchase and head home…
…where I re-research the product again.
It sounds a little nutty…but chances are you’ve probably done this too.
According to a recent article by the Marketing Science Institute, my behaviour is a classic example of the well-documented “post-purchase bias”. The bias was first discovered by Ehrlich et al. in a 1957 study. They found that new car buyers read more advertisements for the car they had just purchased than for the cars that they had considered, but not purchased. This effect has been reproduced many times and is considered to be one of the most robust findings in consumer behaviour.
Why do we do this? By re-affirming the reasons for our initial purchase, we defend the wisdom of our acquisition and are able to allay the dreaded “buyer’s remorse”.
More recently, researchers have discovered that we also distort product information to reinforce our decision after a sale. When presented with such information, we ignore the bad and inflate the good. More importantly, because this interpretation is self-driven, we are more likely to believe in these positive evaluations.
This has big implications for business. Traditionally, we think of marketing as something that occurs before the sale. However, this study suggests that marketing is just as important after the sale has already occurred.
The MSI article outlines four implications for business:
1) Managers should always find ways to follow through after a recent purchase. Good customer service practices aside – when customers are given more information about a product, they positively interpret this information to create a stronger brand preference.
2) This follow-up should take place as soon as possible after the initial purchase, while the customer still feels strongly about the product.
3) After the initial purchase, we are likely to hear from some customers again – some products may be returned, others may require repair, or the customer may need additional instructions. Every encounter offers businesses the chance to strengthen the customer’s product preference.
4) The best kind of marketing is free-marketing – specifically when customers talk to friends about their experiences. The more post-purchase follow-up, the more loyal the customer, and the more likely they are to offer positive feedback regarding the product. Most importantly, because they are passionate about the product, this feedback is inherently more believable.
Remember: Your work as a retailer doesn’t end when the customer reaches the cash register – it has only just begun.
Do you research products you’ve already purchased? How does your business market itself to existing customers?
You may, (or may not) recall that a couple of weeks ago in “The Basics of Analytics“, we started to look at Google Analytics, trying to decipher what these metrics really mean. Below is part two of that post.
As the name would imply, this is the rate at which people end up on one of your pages then ricochet off to another site entirely. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who view one of the pages on your site, then immediately exit. So… by definition, the number of pages per visit for “bouncers” is going to be a grand total of … one.
You can assume that if they land on one of your pages then jump to another site entirely, they didn’t get what they wanted, or landed on one of your pages by accident.
If you find that you have a high bounce rate, you likely need to work on your content, ensuring that on every page you have resonating copy that provides a reason to continue to explore.
Average time on site
Well… if this one is a struggle to understand, you might as well pack it up.
As you would assume, Average time on site means, very simply, the average total length of time that each visitor spends on your site. How do you break this down and what does it mean?
It could mean one of two things; a) you have a really interested prospect sitting on your site for ten minutes, genuinely engaged and enthralled by all of the information you have presented. Or b) your visitor is completely lost, desperately trying to find relevant information.
And how can you tell the difference? Look at your pages visited against total time on site. If they’re spending thirty seconds each on twenty different pages, they’re likely not all that engaged and may not be finding what it is they’re looking for. You would much rather have a page or two where your visitor is spending several minutes actually collecting and digesting the information you have provided. If you have twenty minutes on one page with little content, your visitor suffers from narcolepsy.
% New Visits
As the grouping name would suggest, % of New Visits tells you what percentage of your total visits are from new visitors.
Is a high percentage of new visits a good thing? Of course it is. It means that word about your site is travelling. Of course, if your site is one where you want continual revisits and your % of new is 99… that’s not a good thing. At all.
Make note that the new visit percentage is based on IP addresses. If Bob clears the cookies from his browser and visits your site, his visit will count as new. The reality is that people do, in fact (or should) clear cookies out of their browser with some frequency, so this number tends to be lacking in guarantee.
The best use of this number is as it relates to promotions – internet or otherwise. If you’ve engaged in a Google Adwords program, this number absolutely must increase, and should increase immediately. Likewise, any traditional advertising where your website address is promoted should result in a heavy increase in new visit percentage. If not, your promotion isn’t working. Plain and simple.
And there is your basic lesson on Google Analytics. My next post will go into more depth, covering some of the more granular tools that Analytics offers and (hopefully) helping you to decipher the information that will be of most help to you.