Hiking up Sales

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BackcountryStore.com, a small online-only retailer of winter adventure gear, was looking to keep its revenues climbing. Although its business is continually growing, company executives felt the retailer could improve growth further by uncovering which promotional offers and sources of visitor traffic generated the most revenue, and by learning which navigational paths and visitor segments converted to the most purchases. In addition, the company wanted to determine checkout abandonment and conversion rates, the lifetime value of customers responding to marketing campaigns, and which keyword purchases bring in the most orders and revenue. The company began using WebsideStory's HitBox to track this information, and discovered a makeover was in order. "We knew the site needed to be redesigned, but what helped make the argument was using the analytics to show how much we were losing in the shopping cart," says BackcountryStore.com cofounder John Bresee. "That's leaving money on the table." BackcountryStore.com's decision to upgrade to WebsideStory's HitBox Enterprise and HitBox Commerce coincided with the choice to redesign its Web site. BackcountryStore.com wanted to define the specific activities that comprise the responses to and sales from marketing campaigns and promotion, and that define the best navigational path for leading from prospect to sale, then create an analytical road map to track and analyze these activities. "At first I wondered how as a little company we justify spending so much on analytics," Bresee says. "But we've justified it over and over." Bresee says the most surprising find is how much more effective the site's search function is at converting browsers to buyers: four times higher than when visitors navigate the site on their own. That discovery also helped justify the cost of the redesign, which went live in late September with the search front and center on the new site. In addition, BackcountryStore.com executives say the analysis has helped them in making faster, more informed decisions on marketing campaigns and product inventory. The company can also get real-time visitor intelligence data that displays what keywords, brands, and marketing initiatives are driving the most purchases and generating the most revenue. The results are a 200 percent increase in sales from June 2001 to June 2002. In addition, the company says that sales for the first eight days in July 2002 surpassed the total revenue for the entire month of July last year.
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