E-commerce players work hard to sell products online through various marketing initiatives. You, as an analyst strive to come up with a gamut of recommendations, but would those recommendations capture the imagination of a VP of Marketing or a CMO?
In my opinion, the basic mantra is to present the insights in a quickly digestible dashboard format that empowers him to make a decision that has the greatest impact in the least amount of time.
So, here’s a stab at listing out few aspects to be covered while designing such a dashboard for an e-commerce player based on my experience.
1. The Scorecard: The objective of a performance dashboard is to compare the top level metrics against a similar time frame of the last season and a baseline target, which serves as the benchmark. This baseline target needs to be defined for each of the metrics based on a detailed study of the past performances, growth expectations, and campaign activities.
Hence these metrics should be reported on a scorecard:
- Since we are talking from an online perspective, the essential metrics to be reported would be “Visits” and “Unique Visitors” under the scorecard.
- Additionally, it would be interesting to see the share of returning visits since it provides a perspective to the future sustainability of the website.
- Conversion figures such as orders, conversion rate, average order value and total revenue provide a comprehensive view of the company’s performance and needs to be highlighted on the scorecard.
- Along with that, if the site has any survey running, providing the satisfaction index/score for the time period would allow gauging the overall consumer confidence.
All the relevant metrics presented in a crisp and easy to understand scorecard format makes the current status of the activities clear and actionable.
2. Traffic Breakup: Visits to a site can broadly be categorized into two traffic components:
Free channels: Free channels include organic search, referrals, and direct sources, which involve very little or no monetary investment.
Paid channels: Paid channels include banner ads, search ads, email, social marketing, etc.
While we would just show the Share of Traffic, Conversion Rates, AOVand the Revenue earned for each of the free channels, for the paid channels, in addition to the above metrics, add Return on Investment (ROI) on each of the campaigns, which would quantify the Cost of Acquisition from these different paid channels empowering the VP to take a call if they are worth the investment. This would involve comparing the revenue earned from each campaign against a similar time frame last season and a baseline target, to measure their performance.
Competitor Analysis: Performing a social media analysis on a set of competitors can help the company determine its Share of Voicein the industry. As an offshoot of this analysis, even the sentiments (Positive/Negative) of consumers under various segments can be captured for individual companies. The segments may include categorizing the social mentions by product types, service provided, pricing, etc.
Offline Sales and Promotions: If the company also sells its products through its brick and mortar stores and occasionally runs offline promotions, it’s important to highlight the orders and sales revenues along with any offline promotional details on the dashboard. The share of online orders and revenue will help understand the amount of business that the website is providing to the overall performance of the company. It will also highlight any impact of the offline promotions on the site and vice versa.
A Timeline Trend: A timeline with all the planned marketing initiatives portrayed along with the baseline targets, primarily in terms of revenue, can help the top management clearly understand the ongoing performance of the site and consolidate all the events along with the forthcoming targets to be achieved.
Making valuable business analytics decisions has been and will remain one of the most important things to take your business forward. Use your dashboards efficiently to simplify the complicated story you narrate to your seniors and they will pay you back in unimaginable ways.
Anoop Nagendra is the director of Business Intelligence and Analytics at Nabler Web Solutions and has been helping Partners across the globe to make better and faster decisions using data by building a world class Business Intelligence and Analytics team.