Like most B2B organizations, you probably think you know your customers. You know what products they buy and how often they buy them, so what else is there? Actually, there’s a lot more you can learn about your customers, as well as potential customers who visit your site, and you can do it with the help of data analytics.
A number of web analytics tools are available for businesses like yours that track and provide insight on all sorts of website behavior; insight that can be used as key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure and improve the success of your eCommerce site. Even if you have a good read on your customers and their general needs, analytics can help improve their online user experience and provide additional opportunities to drive sales.
Start with the basics
Businesses don’t all share the same strategies and goals, which is why they don’t all follow and analyze the same metrics. However, there are a few key metrics that benefit every B2B and, therefore, should be tracked regularly:
- Number of visitors– Find out how many people are visiting your site. While some visits are made with the intent to buy a product online, others may be to research a product. Just because someone visits your site and doesn’t transact there doesn’t mean you didn’t get the sale. Their site visit could convert to a sale via an alternate sales channel, like over the phone or with a sales representative.
- Page views– Learn which pages are being visited most often. These metrics can show how many pages a particular person went to during their visit, as well as identify products people are most interested in and see what content (data sheets, manuals) they’re accessing for a product.
- Average time on site – The average amount of time a visitor spends at your site can indicate when improvements are needed and when you’ve provided a great user experience. Not enough time spent on your site could signify they couldn’t find what they were looking for so they abandoned their search. More time spent could mean they are utilizing your eCommerce site as more than a place to transact; they are using it as a one-stop shop for product and account information.
- Keywords –Don’t assume that buyers are using the same product terms that your internal organization uses. Keyword metrics show specific words visitors are using to look for products on your site. If certain terms are being regularly searched that aren’t part of your current product vocabulary, they can be added to your PIM to ensure a wide spectrum of product terms can lead buyers to your products.
- Visits by device– See how customers are accessing your site, whether it’s with a desktop computer, tablet or mobile device. With a younger generation of B2B buyers entering the marketplace, more people are looking to do business from their smart phone. Not only do these metrics help you determine the makeup of your visitors, they can also help you improve the customer experience so you can provide them optimum accessibility and usability from their preferred device.
Uncover sales opportunities
According to Gartner research, up-selling and cross-selling to existing customers is five to 12 times less expensive than acquiring new customers. That’s because existing customers provide a wealth of buyer behavior analytics that can be used to create additional sales opportunities. Customer search and purchase analytics give you the ability to recommend complementary products, promote product bundling and present discounts for bulk purchases. There are also metrics that show when people abandoned their shopping cart, so you can send them a reminder about those products and offer an incentive to get them to transact with you. With the help of customer-related analytics, you can help guide current customers, attract new customers and see an increase in online profits.
Rely on open-source tools
Keeping a finger on the pulse of your website doesn’t need to be costly. There are a number of free tools available that can offer good insights and real benefits to small and mid-sized businesses, the most notable being Google Analytics. Its software tool tracks data from your website and provides customized reports that can be shared across your organization. With a user-friendly interface and easy-to-read dashboards, it’s a popular choice for many organizations, with some sources estimating 30 to 50 million websites are currently using the tool.
Piwik is another free analytics software tool that’s gaining popularity. It has many of the same features and functionality as Google Analytics, with the main differentiator being you download and host the software on your server. Because Google Analytics is a remote-hosted service, they track, store and share your analytical data. With Piwik, the data is tracked inside your open-source database to provide better privacy around visitor and transactional data.
Both Google Analytics and Piwik offer great analytical insight, which is why some B2Bs use the two tools together: Google to track the visitor traffic and keywords, and Piwik to handle the transactional data analytics. It all comes down to personal preference and needs.
There’s always more you can learn about your current customers, and plenty you can find out about potential customers visiting your site; and with the help of data analytics, you’ve got the insight readily available. Look into the benefits of open-source analytics tools to track your e-business because you’ll never improve your site if you don’t measure it.