Vendors boost Web analytics

As online marketing continues to evolve into mainstream sales for many retailer operations, Web analytics companies are moving to add advanced features to provide business intelligence for retail and business-to-business Web channels.

On May 6, marketing analytics vendor Coremetrics Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., will unveil a new platform designed to capture and store site visitor clickstream activity to build profiles of online customers for boosting marketing initiatives. The new Marketforce platform leverages a new XML and Java-based architecture to support the import and export of the customer data to third-party systems like internal data warehouses and customer relationship management systems. Coremetrics also will announce an expanded focus into the business-to-business market. Previously the company had focused only on consumer Web sites.

In addition Orem, Utah-based MyComputer on May 6 will relaunch its company under the new name Omniture to reflect an emphasis on marketing to large, complex Web sites. To coincide with its new identity, Omniture unveiled a new hosted Web analytics solution called SiteCatalyst designed to allow marketing managers to see in real-time all the factors that influence the success of their online business including banner campaigns, radio ads, customer loyalty and print media.

The Marketforce online marketing analytics platform from Coremetrics already used by Wal-Mart and Columbia House, among others, is an outsourced turnkey data warehouse that captures data from Web pages about browsing and buying behaviour.

“We track every single click they make and every single session,” said Brett Hurt, chairman and chief architect of Coremetrics. “Once they buy, they are known to you. Once they’re a customer, you can turn them into a repeat customer. You can see which products they looked at and did not buy, and determine if they had problems navigating through the check-out process and why it took them a month to become a customer.”

The Marketforce reporting suite delivers reports detailing top line performance, marketing campaign effectiveness, merchandising statistics and Web site performance. The solution also provides a suite of OLAP-based, client defined shopping path and segmentation reports to give marketers the ability to leverage customer profiles for analysis of marketing effectiveness. Marketers can find out exactly how segments of visitors and customers have browsed a Web site by detailing specific products viewed, purchased or abandoned.

Omniture which boasts customers including eBay Inc., AOL Time Warner Inc. and Gannett – is positioning its SiteCatalyst offering to take enterprise users beyond traditional site statistics into the more complex data that allows marketing managers to identify and measure the factors that most influence their success, said Josh James, Omniture CEO. For example, SiteCatalyst provides information on shopping, cart activity, clickstream analysis, effectiveness of front-page promotion, effectiveness of campaigns and customer conversion.

While retailers are getting more advanced in the IT solutions they are buying to boost online sales, only about 20 per cent on the leading edge are ready for the advanced intelligence Web analytics tools like Marketforce offer, said Carrie Johnson, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass.

“These Web analytics tools are very advanced,” Johnson said. “They can measure metrics that are increasingly valuable and useful. But a lot of retailers aren’t ready for them, aren’t ready for the detail they provide. Vendors need to look at other markets as they educate the retail market.”

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