SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

Aberdeen Group

March 17, 2010 11:00 ET

Customer-Driven Analytics High on the Agenda for Top Performing Online Retailers

50% of Top Performing Online Retailers Are Aligning Site Data Analysis With Overall Corporate Strategy in the Face of Declining Customer Loyalty

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - March 17, 2010) - As online commerce sales grow and take additional market share away from traditional brick-and-mortar channels, retailers are under pressure to increase sales conversions. Sixty three percent (63%) of top performing online organizations have a formal e-commerce analytics solution in place for more than a year, and 64% of these same organizations consider themselves satisfied with their results, according to the Aberdeen Group report, "E-Commerce Analytics: Cornerstone of the Complete Customer Profile." The research from Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS) details the business benefits derived from upgraded e-commerce analytics management and cost optimization.

According to Aberdeen data, as a means to increase conversions, top performing online retailers are focusing on quantifiably measuring and improving the online customer purchase lifecycle. The rise in competitive shopping alternatives has given consumers the ability to judge retailers not only on price, but on available shopping tools as well. The accuracy of product search, display, and merchandising schemes affect not only how often a consumer shops at a particular site, but also how well the retailer benefits from the advantage of viral and social marketing and other word-of-mouth marketing devices. Analytics tools take the guessing game out of the online selling process by bringing relevant points of data together to quantify the consumer interaction in both previous and current shopping sessions, and adjust the process accordingly.

 "In a challenging economy characterized by decreased consumer spend, customer expectations are through the roof. Online commerce must be specific and personal to provide the customer with exactly what he or she is looking for, in as short a time as possible. The online channel must therefore be fully quantified and coordinated with customer data geared towards increasing customer conversions and overall consumer loyalty," says Greg Belkin, chief author and E-Commerce analyst, Aberdeen.

Aberdeen has found that top performing retail organizations are turning their attention towards capturing analytics data from all customer touch points, versus a marketing-only use of analytics. Forty three percent of respondents cited this action as a top strategy driving e-commerce analytics tools, versus 21% who are using analytics to create or improve their pre-purchase marketing strategies. Capturing data from all points includes customer attraction (marketing), conversion (merchandising and customer behavior), and retention (post-purchase/follow-up). This is not to diminish the role analytics play in marketing strategies such as email marketing, banner ads, direct mail, rich media advertising, promotions, and even social media throughput, but rather to suggest that retailers in particular have proven themselves to be a little bit more inclusive in their use of analytics.

 "Online analytics functionality has matured faster on the marketing end of the organization than it has elsewhere. That being said, retailers have very specific challenges when it comes to managing customer and site behavior data, which requires analytics utilization before, during, and after a conversion occurs," says Belkin.

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About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company
Aberdeen provides fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having queried more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748.

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