We would like to share an interesting lesson recently learned by one of the larger companies we work with.
Members of our jWAG team were called upon to review the Google Analytics account for a company with 5 store locations through their state. Specifically, we needed to identify the most valuable traffic sources. This was a 6 month review of their newly launched website.
The website doesn't have e-commerce, so measuring the value of traffic is very difficult, and relies heavily on the sales personal asking customers how they heard about the store. As it turned out, the first 6 months went by and none of the sales people were trained to ask customers.
What we see in Google Analytics is that more than half of the website traffic came from organic Google, so it's a good assumption that their SEO efforts are working. In that respect, it was easy to assume that the money they are spending on SEO is working to attract customers. But without asking customers, we don't know if any of it turned into actual sales.
The second most popular source of traffic was from people typing their domain name directly. This accounted for 12.7% of their traffic over 6 months. This high number shows that their direct mail marketing budget is also working to generate website traffic. Again, unfortunately, we do not have sales figures to measure the website traffic against.
The third most popular source of traffic, and this is where it gets interesting, is from the zip code search of one of their designers. We saw 7.24% of visitors during their first 6 months coming from one of their large, well branded designers. The number is quite impressive considering most jewelry websites only have a few monthly referrals from vendor websites.
This particular vendor is very well known, and we assumed each store had a few sales, but it turned out they haven't sold a single style from this vendor in the last 6 months. Like leading a horse to water, the customers were coming to the website, but no one was buying.
Much of the potential customers referred from the vendor website look through more than 2 pages on the site. These really are quality referrals, but somehow the sales are not being made.
There are a few lessons the jewelry store has learned from this:
1. All sales associates need to be trained to ask each customer how they found the store.
2. Having yourself listed in every one of your vendor's zip code searches is important, and they can generate a lot of traffic.
3. Just because you have quality vendor referral traffic someone is still responsible for making the final sale. Unless you have e-commerce on your website to measure sales directly, your site is just another marketing tool. If your sales associates cannot close the sale then you need to reevaluate their training instead of the effectiveness of the website.
If this was your jewelry store there would be several options for you. You could better train your staff to sell that designer line; you could add e-commerce to your website and bypass the sales staff; or you could evaluate other reasons the designer is not selling. Perhaps they styles you carry in the store are not popular.