Shouldn’t Analysts be Able to Explain the Narrative?

Below is an interview with a Danish reporter asking me for some thoughts about e-commerce. Don’t worry, once you get past the Danish the interview is in English.  By the way, I’ll be presenting the keynote at the  Danish Distance Selling and E-business Association (FDIH) later this month, so if you attend please come over and say hello.

Q: What is the most typical failure concerning webshops in general?

A: Too many companies put all their resources into the launch. They drive furiously towards the launch of a website or of a campaign and then with crossed fingers hope real hard that it will work. This is an artifact from pre-Internet days. Even if they understand in theory that they can optimize they fail to budget for it. At least 30% of your budget should be used to improve what you created with the feedback of real people.

Q: How important is data when you are making your webstrategy? (I’m thinking of the fact that a lot gets the data but actually don’t know how to use it)

A: You’ve heard that online you can measure everything. It’s true. Nevertheless, the fact that you can measure everything is dangerous. There is way too much noise in all that data to distinguish the valuable signal. I recently told a CEO that his company’s problem was that his creative staff couldn’t explain the analytics and that his analysts couldn’t find the narrative in their metrics.

Q: What is the most important learning when you want to use social media in your onlineshop-strategy? And why?

A: Social media drives huge traffic and it’s changed the way we communicate as companies and individuals. However, when it comes to conversions, social media rarely converts as well as direct navigation or search traffic. This has a lot to do with intent. Intent is the energy we bring to our visit. When we search for something we’re explicitly interested in that thing. However, often when social media drives us somewhere our interest is only implicit. We help lots of clients and students use social media more effectively but we always caution them to have different expectations for social media traffic than any other traffic.

Q: Overall – which companies have succeded in your opinion – and why? (I’m thinking about the speed and integration of the different platforms in an organization in general)

A: The danger in responding to your question is that what actually makes companies succeed may sound like a string of cliches. The most important thing, in my opinion, is culture.  Culture is what determines accountability of strategy, agility of the organization, openness to failure, happiness of employees and subsequently happiness of customers.

Q: If you could give only one tip to webshops-owners that wants to enhance their ROI – what would it be?

A: The one thing I want those that come to my presentation to know if they want only one thing to enhance their ROI is that I can’t tell them that one thing. It takes way more than one thing. You may pick up many fine tips that have helped our clients increase their conversion rates but truly great conversion rates come from an obsession with excellence. That obsession keeps you focused on great user experience, great copy, great merchandising, great execution and the certainty that they are never done improving any of it.

Please share if you think others would benefit.