May 25, 2008

Great Moments In Database Marketing #10: The 3/2/1 Rule

During the next two weeks, we'll explore some of the unique things teams I've worked with have learned during the past twenty years about customer behavior.

#10 is the "3/2/1" rule. I once worked with a large retailer that did a spectacular job of linking website visitation data with store visit survey information and purchase data across all channels. The retailer learned that multichannel customers visit the e-commerce website three times a month, shop the store two times a month, then purchase once a month (with 85% of the purchases occurring in-store, 15% online).

How does your view of customer behavior change when you know this fact? It should cause your head to pop with possibilities!!!

First of all, you realize that your Web Analytics information is largely incomplete. Who cares if the visit-specific conversion rate is 3.04838290%? Within this project, we realized that conversion, when measured on a monthly basis (counting e-commerce and store purchases) was utterly staggering. Staggering!! More than ten times the visit-specific conversion rate.

All of a sudden, that cross-channel inventory system sounds like a good idea!

The web analytics corner of the world doesn't have enough data to tell you about the true power of your e-commerce website. You need your Business Intelligence team (and they better know SAS or SPSS, not just basic tools like Business Objects or MicroStrategy) to lead you down this path. And most important ... you need your BI team to mentor your Web Analytics team, you need them to teach the Web Analytics folks how customer behavior works across and between channels.

The true power of your e-commerce website is measured in a monthly or yearly conversion rate, combining conversions from all channels. You'll never view your website (or your analytics team) the same way, once you identify your version of the 3/2/1 rule!

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