“The more information that is known about an online visitor, the more targeted an advertisement or Web page content can be, which will improve the user experience and the site’s results.”
– Gartner Research

That “more information” Gartner is talking about can only be gained by analyzing user behavior, folks. In the fast-moving world of eCommerce, the most effective way to do this is by harnessing the power of Behavioral Analytics.

It’s no secret that there are the Amazons and eBays of the online world and everyone else. How did they get there? By truly understanding behavior, the customer journey, and acting on it in real time, by seizing that opportunity at the right moment, and guiding their shoppers to behave in a certain way.

Marketers always need to demonstrate marketing campaign ROI, whether it’s to clients or internally to their executive teams. With the right Behavioral Analytics solution in place, you will not only have an easy time in understanding your ROI in real time, but you’ll also be able to show key stakeholders what’s working and what isn’t at a level of detail they’ve never seen before.

Going Beyond GA
Lots of marketers think that Behavioral Analytics (BA) is an alternative to Google Analytics (GA). This couldn’t be further from the truth. GA is the old way. BA is the next generation of analytics and it’s what is coming up next. It’s actually already here, so best to hop on that train now. You’ll clearly see why by the time you finish reading this article.

With Behavioral Analytics you can easily import all the events you want to track, which enables marketers to visualize all the events in a customer journey. It is this way, a marketer can see that Sally found their brand on Pinterest in April, visited their blog in July, subscribed to it in August, downloaded a whitepaper in September, talked to a sales rep in October, etc.

The insights you gain via the use of Behavioral Analytics, empowers you to go beyond the traditional analytics tools, to really understand the why behind user clicks, conversions and shares. It is those insights that allow you to drive a more personalized customer experience whether you’re using a discount and pricing tool, recommendation engine or another personalization type tool. It is companies that adopt this way of looking at things, that will shine the brightest in their particular verticals.

Knowing What Drives Shoppers
The power that Behavioral Analytics injects into a business allows marketers to know what drives shoppers to buy one product over another. Going further, it takes you deep into the shopping psyche and lets you know if it was a competitive offer, ad or an email campaign that guided their decision to buy or not to buy. By using this next generation of analytics, you’ll become empowered to conduct a time-series analysis of your shopper’ behavior across the entire customer journey. This leads to providing you with insights that are data-driven and will allow you to optimize as necessary to maximize your marketing ROI.

The user events that are collected across the spectrum of platforms, devices, and variety of other sources are the key to providing you with a system of insights. This collection of insights feed and steer your engagement systems which ultimately all work together to direct the customer to your goal. Many people use Amazon as the primary example of how real time querying allows you to get the answers you need to build behavioral segments in real time. This is just one example, but it is at the core of why some online businesses thrive and others just languish in the dustbin of traditional yesteryear analytics.

Real Time Recommendations
When an online seller recommends relevant products to their shoppers at precisely the right moment, how do you think that makes them feel? Pretty special, right? Chances are likelier that they will convert.

This is driven by harnessing the power of query. By being able to ask questions of your data, from the most simple to the most complex and receive immediate answers, this allows you to make data-informed decisions in real time.

Business questions can range from:

– Are shoppers who search for a particular item on my site more likely to buy another similar item?

– Which items do shoppers typically buy together?

You can further drill down to finding out if there is a particular time of day or day of week they are more likely to buy, or if there’s a particular region they are from.

Amazon knows what you’d like to purchase. The majority of shoppers look at it as magic. However, this notion of magic is offered by a variant of predictive analytics known as NBO (Next Best Offer).

Next Best Offer relies on the historical use of collaborative filtering, a technique that enables websites to guide visitors in the direction of an attractive offer which is based on their past shopping history and page visits. NBO powers online businesses to maximize their business results by maximizing the data they receive from each touchpoint. This empowers online businesses to understand each customer intimately, so that they may be able to match them with special offers that are most likely to resonate with them such as a pair of yellow-framed sunglasses with that yellow and black sundress.

One of the most defining elements of NBO is that it all has to happen in real time. It is these real time data-driven insights that are the impetus for timely marketing decisions that drive growth.

“Journey Analytics Are the ‘Next Frontier’ for Customer Insights” – Forrester

The Yellow Brick Road of the Customer Journey
A powerful way to optimizing the path to conversion is by using Behavioral Path Analysis. By using path analysis you can see the user’s path to purchase a particular category of products, read and share a piece of content and much more. The types of insights derived from path analysis are critical for promoting specific types of content or relevant product categories to foment higher engagement from customers.

When deciding on a Behavioral Analytics solution, you want to ensure you are getting powerful visualizations. See below the Sunburst visualization that denotes the path that users take to a goal. These path visualizations can be explored interactively and are products of a powerful querying feature, built for time-segmented behavioral analytics. The query feature that returns this visualization, for example is similar to SQL, but built specifically for time-series analytics. It’s light on code so it is easy to pick up and heavy on insights.

Every Step They Take
Lets face it. Shoppers yearn for an experience, they expect one, and they keep that in mind whenever they shop online. They all want the same basic things. A place where they can see their products clearly at a few angles, detailed product info, a competitive price and a quick, easy, and painless checkout. They could receive a personalized discount on a certain item along the way, which only increases loyalty. Each step taken and the online moments between is critical to understand, so you can shape that journey.

To learn how to apply behavioral analytics to your eCommerce site, download the eCommerce Behavioral Analytics Guide