Digital Analytics

Does your Marketing and Merchandising dashboards provide actionable insights?

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Marketing Dashboards

As we are approaching the most exciting time of the year, there is a lot of tension in the economy due to 2 weeks of Government shut-down earlier this month due to constant tussle between the congress and the GOP regarding the lift in the debt ceiling, and most importantly, a consistently higher unemployment rate which has lowered the Consumer Confidence quite significantly. In the recent Holiday Forecast by National Retail Federation, the holiday sales are expected to increase by +3.9% to $602.1 billion out of which, $82 billion is predicted to be driven by online channel.

According to NRF, the period from November to December can account for as much as 20% to 40% of a retailer’s annual sales. But, Americans are questioning the stability of the US economy, their government, and their own finances. Until they see the signs of stability and certainty from Washington, we expect they will set a modest budget for the holiday purchases. In this hostile environment where, there is a lot of inconsistency and confusion among the retailers and consumers, the retailers have to be proactive in terms of gauging the behavior of their holiday shoppers and optimize their online storefront by embracing their ongoing concerns and their modest budget.

The best way to tackle this problem is to setup few actionable dashboards for your Marketing and Merchandising teams that focus more on the acquisition and engagement behavior of the visitors, and identify the quick actionable elements for the Marketing, Content and Merchandising teams.

In this blog post, we are going to discuss on some key elements for the Marketing & Merchandising Dashboard, and how you can smartly structure these dashboards before sharing with the key stakeholders.

Before we start putting together the dashboard, let’s first identify the key audience segments of your online business based on YTD data. When you configure the rules for identifying your key segments, make sure you make a good use of your acquisition and engagement related dimensions and metrics. Having a segmented dashboard based on your high potential and important segments is more actionable than a generic all traffic dashboard. Here are some dimensions and metrics we would like to propose for setting up your actionable segments:

Dimensions Metrics
Country Search Performed
Region/State Product Views
Marketing Channel Cart Addition
Keywords Checkout Initiation
Visit Duration Transaction
Visit Depth (Page Views/Visit) Store Locator Search
New vs. Returning In-store Availability
Time Prior to Event Promotion Applied
Device Cart Abandonment
Return Frequency Catalogue/Brochure Requested
Visit Number Single Page Visits (Bounces)
Browser Exit Rate

Structure for Marketing & Merchandising Dashboard

Once you setup few segments based on above dimensions and metrics, identify the 3 key segments based on their potential (impact on the macro indicators) and importance (driving higher traffic volume). These 3 segments would be the basis for setting up our dashboards.

Before you start embedding the reports and metrics in your dashboard, let’s put together a blueprint of your potential dashboard based on your above-identified segments.

The first page of your marketing and merchandising dashboard should provide a quick and actionable health scorecard for your online business with key micro and macro indicators. Here are some key metrics you would like to showcase to your stakeholders comparing this month vs. last with the % of variation.

  • Visits
  • Unique Visitors
  • Revenue
  • AOV
  • % Paid Search Visits & Revenue Contribution
  • % Organic Visits & Revenue Contribution
  • % Social Visits & Revenue Contribution
  • % Affiliate Network Visits & Revenue Contribution
  • % Promotional Email Visits & Revenue Contribution
  • % Comparison Shopping Visits & Revenue Contribution
  • % Display AD Visits & Revenue Contribution
  • % Direct Visits & Revenue Contribution
  • % Site Search Visits
  • Search to Product View Conversion %
  • Product View to Cart Open %
  • Cart Abandonment Rate
  • Checkout to Order %
  • % Store Locator Visits
  • % Email Sign up Visits
  • % Catalog Request Visits
  • Page Views/Visits
  • Average Time Spent per Visit

In case of a Marketing Dashboard, you should have the following 7 reports and metrics to provide actionable insights to your Digital Marketing team. Here the assumption has been taken that, your digital marketing team is spending 65-70% of their marketing budget towards Search Engine Marketing:

  1. Top & Bottom Performing Channels (Click-through, Visits, Entry Rate, Bounce Rate, % Product Views, Cart Abandonment Rate, Orders and Revenue)
  2. Top & Bottom Performing Campaigns (Click-through, Visits, Entry Rate, Bounce Rate, % Product Views, Cart Abandonment Rate, Orders and Revenue)
  3. Paid Branded Keywords Effectiveness (Click-through, Visits, Entry Rate, Bounce Rate, % Product Views, Cart Abandonment Rate, Orders and Revenue)
  4. Paid Non-Branded Keywords Effectiveness (Click-through, Visits, Entry Rate, Bounce Rate, % Product Views, Cart Abandonment Rate, Orders and Revenue)
  5. Organic Branded Keywords Effectiveness (Click-through, Visits, Entry Rate, Bounce Rate, % Product Views, Cart Abandonment Rate, Orders and Revenue)
  6. Organic Non-Branded Keywords Effectiveness (Click-through, Visits, Entry Rate, Bounce Rate, % Product Views, Cart Abandonment Rate, Orders and Revenue)
  7. Landing Page Effectiveness (Visits, Page Views, Entry Rate, Bounce Rate, Weighted Bounce Rate, Exit Rate, Weighted Exit Rate, Revenue Participation)

Note – Don’t forget to segment these dimensions based on above identified audience segments.

In case of a Merchandising Dashboard, you should have the following 7 reports and metrics to provide actionable insights to your Online Merchandising team:

  1. Top & Bottom Performing Categories (%Product Views, % First Cart Addition, % Cart Additions, %Checkout Initiation, Orders, Revenue)
  2. Top & Bottom Performing Products (%Product Views, % First Cart Addition, % Cart Additions, %Checkout Initiation, Avg. Rating, Orders, Revenue)
  3. Shopping Cart Conversion Funnel (This Month vs. Last Month)
  4. Top & Bottom Performing Search Keywords (# Searches Performed, %Product Views, % First Cart Addition, % Cart Additions, %Checkout Initiation, Orders, Revenue)
  5. Recommended Products Effectiveness (%Product Views, % First Cart Addition, % Cart Additions, %Checkout Initiation, Avg. Rating, Orders, Revenue)
  6. Onsite Promotions Effectiveness (# Promotion Applied, Cart Abandonment %, Checkout Initiation %, Orders, Revenue)
  7. Internal Banner Ads Effectiveness (Click-through Rate, Exit Rate, % Product Views, % First Cart Addition, % Cart Additions, %Checkout Initiation, Orders, Revenue)

Note – Don’t forget to segment these dimensions based on above identified audience segments.

General Best Practices

  • Maintain a balance between your leading and lagging indicators and make sure, each and every report in the dashboard provides an actionable item and allow the business person to take proactive actions.
  • Whenever you choose a time period for your dashboard, always choose a rolling week or a month if, the business team is not rigid about the timeline.
  • Always provide a context behind each report by adding a 1-line NOTE against each dimension.
  • Be careful about adding too many metrics against a dimension because, they might get truncated by your web analytics tool due to width constraints. I would suggest, never go beyond 5 columns per report depending on the type of dimension you have.
  • Arrange the metrics in a report in such a way that, it creates a storyline, and the viewer is not forced to move their eyes left and right multiple times.
  • Arrange the reports in a dashboard in such a way that, it creates a relevant hierarchy, and resonates with the site and channel architecture. For example

Channel –>Campaign –>Ad Group –> Keywords –> Landing page –Department –> Categories –> Products –> SKU

  • By default, always sort the dimension values based on a relevant metric, and if possible, keep that metric closer to the dimension so that, the viewer knows on what basis the data is sorted.
  • If you are adding a calculated metric to your dashboard, make sure these metrics are created at a Global Level, and everyone has access to it otherwise, the viewer will see an error in his dashboard report-let.
  • I always recommend providing a glossary along with a dashboard to clearly explain the formula for each calculated metric so that, there is no confusion or misinterpretation of data.
  • Don’t add too many dimensions in a dashboard and if possible, try to maintain a fine balance between your metric and dimension because, you don’t want your stakeholder to fall asleep with too many data tables in their dashboard.
  • Always send the Dashboard in a PDF format because, HTML format might end up in the SPAM folder or, might get rejected by your organization exchange server.
  • Keep the number of Pages in the Dashboard under 5 and please don’t try to create a library of congress 🙂

At the end, in case you are struggling in setting up your Marketing and Merchandising dashboards for the upcoming holiday season or, wants you existing dashboards to be reviewed or optimized prior to Holiday season, please feel free to contact us.

 

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