The annual madness that is Cyber Weekend has become a yearly headache for most retail brands. All our marketing, site stress testing and fulfilment planning and preparation is done (bit late now if not), so bring it on. Obviously this particular flurry of customer activity will be out of kilter with how they normally interact with you and this has led me to wonder if we should be looking for slightly different behaviours in our analytics as well.
Of course I’m not for a second saying you should ignore the usual traffic, content and ecommerce reports, I just think there are a few additional areas we can look at too that will give us an extra layer of understanding. Here are my thoughts.
Store locator pages
Cyber weekend isn’t just happening online, many stores will be taking part too. As we all know customers don’t exist in just the digital or offline worlds, they intersect in many ways. Is your online marketing driving increased visits to your shops? Unless you’re tracking footfall there’s no way to tell for sure but looking at visits to your store locator page(s) can be a good indicator, especially if they’re predominantly done on a mobile. People may well be browsing online before taking advantage of your offers in-store, therefore looking at what marketing drove store searches as well as online sales will give you a more complete picture of their contribution.
It might be possible to take this a step further, if you have event tracking on the store search itself you may be picking up what post codes are actually being searched for (you might be able to see this in the URLs too if they change to include them). You can then tie these interactions back to any locally targeted paid campaigns to see if there any correlations.
Delivery & Returns
Sometimes we underestimate the role delivery and returns information can play in a customer’s decision to buy or not. Whether this information is within further information tabs on your product pages or elsewhere on your site it’s worth creating a couple of segments in your analytics tool (one where sessions did include looking at delivery and returns and one where they didn’t) and see how ecommerce behaviour compares. Are average order value and conversion rate higher or lower between the segments? Do the types of products people buy change at all? It is possible people won’t look at them as much this weekend as the prices will be lower, on the other hand they might want more reassurance on what your returns policy is on Black Friday.
Comparing if people are looking at this more or less when buying or abandoning during this specific period to usual behaviour will tell you how important a part of your customers’ decision making it is in general and during a sale. If you’re seeing a lot of people looking at it and not buying then maybe you’re not clearly showing all the places you’re delivering to, now you have lots of new visitors, or your returns policy isn’t clear or attractive. This can be a quick win as simple changes to the content may be all your customers need to finish their purchase.
Delivery Options Chosen
Sticking with delivery, another behaviour that might change is the delivery option people choose. Due to the immediacy of the occasion and people getting caught up in the moment they might be willing to spend more for same or next day delivery so they can enjoy their purchases as soon as possible. Often delivery and shipping shows in web analytics’ product reports because of how the ecommerce tracking has been set up. Therefore it’s a good idea to keep an eye on this when looking at how product revenue and AOV has changed. It might not just be down to what people are buying and how high the discounts are. If your delivery options aren’t specifically reported on, whether in the ecommerce reports or in a custom dimension, your own back end system will have this information available. If you can see more people choosing the more immediate delivery options then maybe consider publicising that option exists in your ad copy.
As an aside to this I’d also see if there’s a change in people choosing to collect in-store too, maybe they can’t even wait until tomorrow to get their goodies. This may also be contributing to the increase in people searching for store locations so if you do offer this option it’s worth bearing in mind.
Page Load Speed
Now this won’t come as a shock, your website is about to see a massive rise in traffic to it. I’m sure you have your own internal infrastructure in place that monitors how your website is holding up and your web analytics page load speed reports shouldn’t in any way replace this. However slow loading pages can hinder users’ experience and ability to convert, especially on mobile devices.
I wouldn’t rely on this report to see if your site is about to buckle under the pressure, I would use it though to see if there are any speed issues blocking people doing what they want to do. If you have created new product heavy landing pages especially for the occasion then it’s a good idea to check all the images aren’t preventing the page rendering quickly, particularly on mobiles, especially if you’re paying for that traffic.
These are just a few ideas to consider when analysing customer, marketing and site behaviour and are by no means exclusive. There are undoubtedly numerous areas in your web analytics and own systems you’re pulling information out of and each business will have its bespoke needs. I do definitely urge you though to use your analytics ongoing to see what learning you can take in the moment so you can fix performance issues with your site and tweak your marketing messages so they’re as effective and relevant as they can be.