It has been a while since I attended an SES and Interactive Media/ClickZ did not disappoint the Canadian market place with an extremely informative 3 day event. First up was the keynote speaker Avinash Kaushik, who touched on the core values of successful ecommerce sites: influence, value, and experience. With a focus on these values Canadian e-tailers can connect to their customers and generate ROI today, and in the future.
Kaushik then touched on a point felt by many Canadian shoppers – why are the big retailers like Canadian Tire not online with full ecommerce capabilities? As Canadians, are we behind the ecom innovation curve? From what I have observed in the Canadian marketplace over the last 10 years, we have had many retailers come online, go offline, and then once again come back without ecommerce functionality or with limited functionalities. Why is this? Is it that retailers feel that Canadians are committed to only researching online rather than purchasing? Is it that infrastructure for warehousing and shipping goods is not as good as in the states?
On the second day, I spoke to a few of my lunch table buddies about the topic and we believed that in Canada we are not a catalogue purchasing-centric culture (like the States) and that purchasing online was a natural extension for US consumers because they are used to purchasing through catalogues. Another interesting fact is a majority of Canadians hug the US border and are close to major city centres. As such there is a limited need to shop online – they already have relatively good access to what they need.
A second important takeaway was focusing on the right metrics. With the addition of many marketing modalities (e.g. social, PPC, and media buys), businesses are struggling to find a way to report on the right metrics in a manner that would generate meaningful datasets that show or indicate a potential ROI. It then becomes challenging to benchmark these marketing modalities against one another.
Website analytics can only take you so far; what is needed is the ability to explore metrics at the transactional level. At this level, exploring what transpires across the different marketing channels and how each of these channels interact can be a successful key to measuring valuable ROI metrics, especially if you can bring this data to the same level playing field. Essentially, this lets you compare apples with apples. To solve this problem some of our clients are using their affiliate software tracking platform to record and measure each of the transactions that takes place. Then they are able to evaluate their transactions (or group transactions) from different data perspectives such as day, month, creative types, and performing channels.
What are you doing to compare apples with apples? How do you feel about the Canadian e-tail landscape? Comment below!
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