19 07, 2018

GDPR: What Is It? Does It Apply To Me? And So What?

By | 2018-07-26T13:56:06+00:00 July 19th, 2018|Categories: Beacon News, Ecommerce, Google Analytics|Tags: , , , |

If you work in digital marketing, you probably couldn’t help but notice the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) mania sweeping the internet earlier this year. Indeed, before the new regulations became enforceable in May 2018, there was breathless anticipation and countless “What You Need To Know” blog posts promising the low-down on all the important compliance implications.

Any new regulation is bound to create a few headaches as affected parties figure out the new landscape and work out the kinks. But, a law as sweeping as GDPR promised to be — impacting the very foundation of how e-commerce works — has the potential to thoroughly disrupt the status quo, and everyone’s comfort level along with it.

So, has our digital existence been turned upside down since May? Are we really living in a whole new internet reality?

Here, at Beacon, we were very much interested in the potential of GDPR to impact our ability to collect and analyze consumer data via Google Analytics (our preferred data aggregation platform). So, after a couple of months under the new regulations, as the dust has begun to settle, we decided to take a look around at the brave, new, GDPR-compliant world and see what’s what.

What Is GDPR?

Let’s start by defining what GDPR does. According to the European Commission website, the body that created the legislation, GDPR governs:

“the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data.”

In simple terms, the new rules aim to protect the personal data of all European Union citizens by explicitly granting them greater control over how their personal digital data is used and stored by others. GDPR applies to any company, person or entity that has the potential to gain access to personal data of EU citizens for non-personal use.

Yeah, But Does GDPR Apply to My Organization?

Because there are no national borders on the internet, EU residents (and everyone else) can easily access websites hosted in other countries. As such, the practical implication of GDPR is that it applies globally, no matter where your company or organization is legally headquartered.

If your website can be accessed by someone in the European Union — and if it’s up and running, it absolutely can be — then you should be paying attention. So, if you haven’t already, make sure your organization undertakes a review of how your site’s visitor data is collected, compiled and stored in Google Analytics (or, whichever platform you use).

What Does GDPR Impact?

There are three major areas of emphasis with GDPR: data collection management, data protection and visibility, and restrictions on data use.

The new regulations affecting data collection management require companies to get consent from consumers before collecting and storing their personal data. This means that when you visit your favorite online store, the retailer will have to ask you for explicit permission to track your shopping session and see what jeans you’re interested in buying. More than that, consumers have the choice to opt out or limit how their online behavior is tracked.

If you grant permission to track your shopping experience, or choose to share any other personal information — like your address and contact information when you sign up for a store rewards program, for example — the retailer has the responsibility of protecting that collected information from falling into the wrong hands. Not only that, because EU consumers have the right to request that their data be deleted, businesses have to know exactly where they store your personally identifiable consumer data in order to comply with any consumer requests.

In addition to requests to delete their data, under GDPR, consumers are enabled to exercise more granular control over what data is collected and how it is used. Consumers are empowered to rescind their data collection permission at any time they want. They can also request that your company turn over their data to a third-party or another retailer.

All of this means that, going forward, companies doing business online should have a sophisticated, flexible and responsive system of collecting and managing consumers’ personal data.

What Should I Be Doing?

To understand exactly what your company should be doing to accommodate these new consumer-centered protections, speak with your legal team. Your attorneys should be able to provide guidance tailored to your industry and circumstances.

If that entails a re-imagining of your data collection and management processes on your website, or through Google Analytics, give Beacon a call. We’ll be glad to walk you through the platform and recommend a course of action. Give our experts a shout at 866.964.5590.

12 08, 2016

eCommerce Analysis: Using Google Analytics to Identify Your Whales and Minnows

By | 2016-11-22T17:47:23+00:00 August 12th, 2016|Categories: Ecommerce, Google Analytics|Tags: , , |

If you manage an eCommerce site, you probably spend a lot of time in Google Analytics. There’s a ton of great metrics and reports to check out, like mutli-channel attribution, average order values by channel, eComm conversion rates, and so on. You’ve probably even segmented data by demographic, device type, or geography. All of this is great, high-five yourself if you’re doing these things because you’re probably a few steps ahead of your competition. But have you ever segmented by transaction dollar amount? I’m about to enlighten you on a couple advanced segments to help you identify your whales (biggest customers), your minnows (smallest customers), and how to get more whales and less minnows.

OK, got your coffee? Let’s go!

First thing we’re going to do is figure out your top 10% and bottom 10% transaction thresholds.

Go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Sales Performance. Expand your list to show all available transactions, then export to XLSX.

transaction report

The next step is to identify the thresholds for your top 10% of transactions. Open up the XLSX file, put filters in your headings, and remove the last row of data where your totals show (keeping it in skews your sorting).

Sort the revenue column from largest to smallest, then apply some conditional formatting, as seen in the screenshot below. Repeat this step with the bottom 10%.

*Side note: If you’re not familiar with this feature in Excel, I highly recommend becoming a conditional-formatting-ninja, it will shave tons of time off of your analysis.

top 10

Once you’ve got both conditional formats applied, simply look at the lowest dollar amount in your upper 10% grouping, and the highest dollar amount in your lower 10% grouping. These are your thresholds. In my case, using the Google Merch Store test account, I’ve identified $259.50 as the upper threshold, and $13.59 as the lower threshold.

Now the good stuff begins.

Head back into your Google Analytics account and create a new advanced segment. We’re looking for users who have a per-user revenue of $259.50 or greater, so we create the segment as shown below:

advanced segment

Now that you’ve got a segment created, apply it, and you’re free to check out other reports to analyze where these users come from, how the interact with the site, and figure out what you can do to acquire more people that would fall into this segment.

A few good starting points for conducting this analysis are:

  • The Source/Medium report in Acquisition – Perfect for learning how your whales found you
  • The Mobile Overview report in Audience – This is great for device type analysis. i.e. are your whales coming through mobile or desktop? Assumptions can be dangerous, so it’s always a good idea to investigate
  • The Landing Page report in Behavior – Surely, you’ve got some pages on your site that are more likely to drive purchase, but which ones are the best?

Of course there are plenty of other reports you can gain insights from, this list is only intended to kick start your analysis engine.

Once you’ve conducted your whales analysis, circle back and repeat the process for minnows. The idea is the same, but this time around you’re trying to identify ways to attract fewer minnows. So check out the same reports in Google Analytics and identify channels that drive small transactions, landing pages the don’t perform as well, et al.

If you do this on a regular basis and make adjustments to your marketing efforts accordingly, you’ll start to see your thresholds shifting upwards, as well as increases in your average order value.

17 04, 2013

Display different product prices in AspDotNetStorefront

By | 2016-11-23T10:31:15+00:00 April 17th, 2013|Categories: Ecommerce|Tags: , , , , |

Recently one of our AspDotNetStorefront clients asked me to come up with a way to modify the display of his products that vary by price.  One of the things I really like about AspDotNetStorefront is that there are often “hidden gems” or functionality that you might not use one day, but come up with a way to incorporate it later.  For this client, I recommended that he investigate either the product attribute features of a simple product or set up the products with separate variants.

Attribute Option

This is the easiest product setup and, in general, requires the least XML package modification/development, but may not be the ideal user experience, depending upon the type of product being sold.

  1. Log into ASPDNSF Admin and search for the product to modify
  2. Click on the product and then on the Main tab
    • Change “Color Option Prompt” to the appropriate label to indicate why this product has multiple prices (for example “Product Options”).
    • Change the XML package to product.simpleproduct.xml.config
    • Hit the “Update” button.
  3. Go to the Product Variant link, click on the default product variant displayed and then click on the Attributes tab
  4. Enter text like this in “Colors” field– “Product Option 1[-100.00],Product Option 2[-50.00],Product Option 3”.  In this example, product option 1 will be $100 cheaper and Product Option 2 will be $50 cheaper than product option 3.  Add as many product types and prices as needed; separate all product options by commas.
  5. Hit “Update”  and then view the product on the live site.  Selecting “Product Option 1” from the drop down should  discount the item by $100 when added to the cart
  6. See http://manual.aspdotnetstorefront.com/p-967-varying-price-by-sizecolor.aspx for more info on this setup

Variant Option

Depending on the type of product, I think this is the best looking option for the customer, but sometimes requires modification of the XML package by a developer to display correctly.

  1. Log into ASPDNSF Admin and search for the product to modify
  2. On the Main tab
    • Change the XML package to product.variantsindropdown.xml.config
    • Save the product with the “Update” button
  3. Go to the Product Variant link and clone the default/existing variant using the “Clone” link.  Create as many clones as there will be product options for this product.
  4. Click on the first variant in the list.
  5. Change the variant name to “Product Option 1” (or other applicable label) and change the price field to the correct price for this product option and then save the variant.
  6. Click on each subsequent variant in the list and change the variant product name and price for that product option.
  7. Save the product and then view the product on the live site.  Each product variant will appear as a separate choice in the drop down box along with the applicable price for that product variant.

I hope that you find this information helpful!

13 02, 2012

Super quick Aspdotnetstorefront site setup

By | 2016-11-22T10:56:27+00:00 February 13th, 2012|Categories: Ecommerce|Tags: , |

There are literally thousands of settings that you can configure for a new AspDotNetStorefront site, but here is a set of instructions that we use to quickly set up a very basic non-eCommerce (catalog only) site in Version 8 of AspDotNetStorefront:

  1. Follow manual instructions to do a base install: Installation Guide
  2. Skin/Template set-up
    • Review the available default skins or purchase a skin template
    • Navigate to the docs/skins folder of your new AspDotNetStorefront site and rename the  Skin_1 folder to Skin_old
    • Copy the new skin to docs/skins and rename “Skin_1”
    • Resize the company logo to the height of the logo.jpg file included in the skins/skin_1/images/ and save as logo.jpg in this folder (if not a jpg file, see #3 below)
  3. Template.ascx Set-up– Open /docs/skins/skin_1/template.ascx in an HTML editor and make the following updates to the HTML code.
    • If the company logo is not a jpg file (png, for example), change logo.jpg in template file to correct logo name
    • Remove shopping cart and wishlist links from utility nav in template.ascx
    • Remove all links and content from top and bottom nav that do not apply
    • Update copyright line/year in footer
    • Remove departments/sections from left nav (if not in use on site)
  4. Style.css Set-up— Update colors and styles in docs/skins/Skin_1/styles.css as needed to match corporate colors
  5. Admin Set-up
    • Log into Admin with default id/password and create super users under Customers/Add New Customer and then Customers/View-Edit Customers/Super User button.  Notify new admins of id/password/Admin URL.  Log in with one of the new super-user accounts and delete default admin user. 
    • Update store details under Configuration/Site Configuration Wizard including Store Name, Store email address, etc.
    • Go to Configuration/Email and set email server information
    • Appconfig updates– Make the following updates in Configuration/Advanced/Appconfig Parameters
      • Search for “meta” in the Appconfigs section and complete all relevant fields with search engine data/keywords
      • Remove buy and wish list buttons by setting ShowBuyButtons and ShowWishButtons to “false”
      • Remove items from site map that should not be displayed by searching appconfigs for “sitemap.” and setting areas that should not be in site map to “false”
    • Hit reset cache to force updates to appear on public site
  6. Topics— Update the following under Content, Manage Topics in the Admin area
    1. Add content to all topic pages that are relevant to this company (about, service, security, hometopintro, etc.)
    2. Hyperlink any new topic pages to Help & Info box so they show in the left navigation
    3. Review each existing topic page and do the following:
      • Remove topics that will definitely not be used using “Delete Topic” button
      • Set topics that should not show in sitemap to “no” with “Publish in Site Map” field
      • Update text on all topics that start with “Empty” and “Productnotfound” topic
      • Update hometopintro with homepage content
      • Update pagenotfound text
  7. Products/Categories– Add Categories and Products using either a product import (our preference) or manually in Admin
  8. Complete “Go Live” checklist
  9. Carefully review and test the site, make revisions as needed
  10. LAUNCH THE SITE!
7 02, 2011

Notes from the field.

By | 2016-11-23T09:57:13+00:00 February 7th, 2011|Categories: Ecommerce|Tags: , , , , |

I attended a Webinar hosted by Vortx recently and had a chance to learn a few things that can affect conversions of shoppers.

1. 75% of shoppers use the search box to find products. They pointed out that the top 10 e-tailers all have the same style search box: a long narrow search box prominently displayed in the header.

2. You have 7 seconds to impact a shopper with the product detail, after that they will typically go to another product.

3. There are 3 main pieces of information shopper want to see quickly:

  • Product Image
  • Product Description
  • Pricing/ Add to Cart

These items need to be clearly defined and prominent. Add to Cart button should be above the fold and use a color scheme to draw the eye to it.

4. The use of tabs is fading, major e-tailers are no longer using them to convey information.