“Tracking” is a word that invokes thoughts of the hunt. Images of Ray Mears looking at what side a stick has been trampled on and working out if a bear has stomped through the woods is a familiar sight on our television screens. However, tracking can also mean monitoring, and it is in this sense that tracking becomes a key tool towards achieving success in the world of e-Commerce.

Tracking is a digital marketer’s best friend. It allows businesses to monitor a variety of metrics across their web and mobile channels, and use the data to improve their service for customers. This results in revenue uplift, increased brand loyalty and improved customer satisfaction.

Basic tracking of customer behaviour often includes data on traffic on web vs mobile, how many return customers a business has, and how much they spend on each visit. Sophisticated enterprise systems that support customer tracking can take things one step further. Organizations can discover how much profit each visitor garners and see their segmented conversion rates, traffic source revenue rates, abandoned cart rates and even discover the lifetime value of customers (LTV).

All of this additional data provides insights and opportunities for companies to drive their business forward. But, you guessed it, in addition to the multiple benefits customer tracking brings, there can be less welcome results.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

The benefits of customer tracking are evident. Understanding what your customers want and offering them choices based on this is one. Another is being able to access inactive customers (those that abandoned shopping carts, or just browse and leave a website) and get them to engage more. Referral leads, personalization of marketing campaigns and identifying when and where a product or service is most needed can help with additional revenue and strategic business planning.

The more negative aspects of customer tracking are fewer, but can have a big impact on the success of your e-Commerce strategy. Get it wrong and you can easily turn off customers for life.

Common concerns regarding customer tracking include data security, increased technical support, lost and incorrect data through poor maintenance, potential differential treatment or favouritism and, worst of all, customers feeling that you ‘know too much’ (Google Ads, anyone?)

How Should Your Business Use Customer Tracking Tools?

Nobody wants to be tracked like a bear in the woods, but in these fast moving times, nobody wants to waste their effort in clicking on 10 different buttons to find the product they want. A dedicated offer and a personalized message, without making your customer feel watched, is the pinnacle of e-Commerce strategy.

Effective customer tracking requires both sides of the equation to buy in fully to the concept. Customers have to accept that the data they provide will be used to predict shopping patterns, but that this will result in having immediate access to shoes or a car or even a sofa in their preferred size, colour and brand.

Organizations using customer tracking as a tool need to throw themselves into the process and use the correct tools and processes to ensure things don’t go wrong. This means connecting with a Enterprise CMS, e-Commerce partner that knows what they are doing, and can advise on the right type of system for your business. It also means dedicating resources to making sure the data that is mined is correct, current and not subject to security threats. This is an ongoing process.

There is a compromise available between what a customer wants to give in return for what a company can offer via their e-Commerce sites. This compromise can be found hidden in the interactions between the two on website and mobile channels. Get the level of interaction right, and you get customer tracking right.

Of course, customer tracking is only a small part of the wider e-Commerce picture. Dedicated enterprise commerce systems can do so much more, however, you only get to use the vast majority of the functionality available on these systems if you get the customer on-board right from the start. Customer tracking done right is the starting gun of the marathon you want to run with your customers…

About the author
Co-founder and CEO of Coders Center
Successful entrepreneur and business enthusiast. Gained MBA at The University of Business in Poland and Germany.Highly motivated promoter of ideas, fan of knowledge and experience sharing. Passionate about IT technology and standards. Digital disruption hunter. Digital Marketing practitioner with eCommerce focus.

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