Ace Mart Gets Smart on Marketing
Like most retailers Ace Mart Restaurant Supply's marketing blueprint includes online campaigns, and to identify which campaigns were driving revenue and which were falling flat, the company implemented a system from an on-demand Web-analytics provider. According to Ryan Rodkey, Webmaster at Ace Mart, the company wanted to get its "foot in the door with a smaller package, or something that didn't have all the bells and whistles." When that system's inability to present a cohesive picture left a sour taste in the restaurant supplier's mouth, however, its appetite grew for a solution capable of tracking and analyzing ROI from its online marketing campaigns in a single interface.
The system from its first provider, Rodkey says, was basically split into two pieces. "Their marketing and analytical return on investment side of it was not directly tied to their traffic-reporting engine, so you couldn't really get a good picture...of what was actually driving revenue from a traffic standpoint," he says. "If we saw that we had a lot of traffic happening on a certain page on our site, we couldn't necessarily tie that to sales."
Ready for an application that could provide more than just click-through rates, the company tapped Coremetrics, a hosted Web-analytics provider, and its Coremetrics 2005 product. The solution captures and stores all customer and visitor clickstream activity to build LIVE (lifetime individual visitor experience) profiles, and gauges successful and lagging online marketing campaigns. Rodkey, who did all of the implementation, began the process in April 2004. The solution went live just a month later.
Using Coremetrics Ace Mart reduced online marketing spending by 25 percent, eliminated 50 percent of its paid keywords that were bringing traffic to its site (but not ending in sales), and lowered paid inclusion marketing by 75 percent. The company also cancelled its online text-banner advertising when Coremetrics revealed that Ace Mart's text banner advertisements had only a mere .32 percent conversion rate. By cutting campaigns that aren't producing, Ace Mart can reallocate the funds once used to run old campaigns into other, more productive marketing efforts.
Additionally, Ace Mart has a meeting every two weeks with a Coremetrics account analyst, who looks at the company's data and makes recommendations. Data anaylsis allows Ace Mart to target areas that may not be clear to customers to make these areas more customer friendly. For instance, the company learned that it had a 65 percent abandonment rate when customers went to the shipping page to get rate quotes. Most of the visitors leaving had possible order values under $300, and were therefore subject to a handling charge. "We found that the handling charge was driving them away, so we found some other ways to discount that handling, get rid of it, and accumulate more revenue by doing so," Rodkey says.
By taking a look at patterns and visitor traffic, Ace Mart was able to correct some confusing things on a couple of Web pages. "We might have a drop off on a particular product and we're able to go in there and find where we might not be delivering as much information to the customer as we need to," Rodkey says. "Product description...[and] product images [may not be] good, so we're able to isolate those as key products and key categories,...change it up, and deliver a better, more informative product to the customer."
Rodkey warns against the pitfalls of not selecting the right vendor from the onset. "When you don't make the right choice from the beginning, you could potentially lose all of the data that you've collected over time, or, you can't use it to the best of your advantage. If you're going to make the choice, go with someone you want to stick with, because you can't put a price tag on [that data]."
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