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Technology & InterneteCommerce: Manage your online channels efficiently – with Business Intelligence
How do my online shop’s marketing channels actually perform!? As an online retailer, you will be used to this question most probably, knowing that it has to be answered thoroughly for running successful eCommerce. Business Intelligence provides you with the answers required for an efficient channel management.
How do my online shop’s marketing channels actually perform? Google AdWords, Facebook advertisements, affiliate sites, partner network – where should I invest my time and money to optimize my channel portfolio and manage it efficiently?
As an online retailer, you will be used to those questions most probably, knowing that they have to be answered thoroughly for running successful eCommerce – answered on a daily basis, preferably.
It might not seem to be so difficult at first, for every online shop does have the necessary data at its disposal. All right up to that point. They got it in their shop system (who buys what?), their webanalytics system (which channels do the single customers come from?), their ERP system (what are the contribution margins? What about returned goods?) and their customer management system (who are the customers and what is their history?). And that is where it starts to be problematic. All this valuable data has to be connected – otherwise it won’t be that valuable at all.
The way: intelligent data integration
Let’s think of a shop having exactly this problem. To really be able to compare its channels’ performance, the shop must have its contribution margins from the commodities management linked to the channel information from its webanalytics system – to mention just one thing –, but so far, the respective metrics are provided on a monthly basis only, collected in effortful, surely not flawless manual work and with a strong time delay to make it all even worse.
To fix this deficiency, the shop owner decides to make the most important metrics regarding customer groups and communication channels visible in a holistic Business Intelligence (BI) solution and successively optimize them on this analytic basis.
To achieve that, a BI service provider integrates the various data sources in a comprehensive Data Warehouse – shop system (OXID), commodities management (MOS Tangram), CRM (salesforce) and webanalytics (econda) – and additionally transfers data from a variety of single depositories (first of all from Excel files) to the holistic data base as well.
Hierarchy of online channels
Now the collected information has to be made useable for the aimed-at reporting of key figures concerning online channel management (as one of probably a whole number of reporting goals). Therefore, a hierarchic channel structure is created. A team of shop employees defines channel categories like for example “Social Media” and “Search”, divided into sub categories like in this case Facebook and Twitter or SEO and SEM. For SEO and SEM, a further hierarchic level with a segmentation in “brand” and “non-brand” is defined additionally.
By means of this hierarchic structure, all information about the single customer’s origin, his or her purchasing impulse as well as every Touchpoint of the Customer Journey becomes relatable to every placed order (anonymously, of course). Via a tool for the central data feed and master data management, this channel structure can not only be adapted to any kind of changes any time, but also have certain marketing activities integrated by associating them with single channels. The entire customer interaction process is modeled in significant metrics finally.
Analysis and evaluation
Via the Business Intelligence solution, all parties involved in the online shop’s management can access the relevant, holistically gained metrics now and thus are able to measure the single channels’ efficiency on a daily basis. This way, inefficient channels are identified quickly, so proper steps can be implemented before having wasted large amounts of money.
How do my marketing spendings pay off? Which channels have the highest contribution margins and the lowest return rate? Where do the long-term customers come from? What are the exact impacts of budgets having been transferred between the channels and which marketing activities are the most profitable ones? All those questions can be answered by the Business Intelligence solution’s dashboards, so future marketing campaigns can be implemented on the basis of real facts and figures.
The result: optimizing processes instead of collecting data
By integrating the data of your online shop’s various systems in a holistic solution, online retailers can achieve a whole bunch of goals concerning an efficient online channel management:
- Display and analysis of all important metrics and KPIs per click on a daily basis
- Every online channel can be evaluated considering numerous criteria (contribution margins, cost per order, new customers, customer lifetime values and many more)
- Marketing budgets assigned to single marketing activities or channels can be adjusted perfectly on the basis of holistic analyses
- Time and money does not have to be wasted for the collection of data – but for optimizing your business processes!
This way, Business Intelligence becomes an important factor when it comes to modeling your business processes in the most efficient way – not only in regard to the management of online channels.