“How you Manage your Data is how you Manage your Business”

Custora had a fantastic time sponsoring and attending Brand Innovators E-Commerce in NYC on a beautiful, actually-felt-like-spring, spring Thursday.

Here are some highlights from the event:

Omnichannel

Omnichannel was on everyone’s minds yesterday. Jason John (VP Online, Mobile, Social Marketing at Gilt Groupe) presented Gilt’s new TV ads, with their literal takes on “flash sales,” and talked about using Cohort Analysis as one way to measure their effectiveness.

 

Sam Gagliardi (Marketing Director, Digital Shopper Solutions at Reckitt Benckiser) talked about Customer Lifetime Value being key to omnichannel marketing: More specifically, the ability to measure the value of customers acquired from each marketing channel in order to properly allocate budget and resources to each channel. We’re on the same page.

Scott Lux (Vice President, E-Commerce and Multi-Channel, Diesel) presented this slide – an appropriate illustration to “omnichannel marketing” and the shift from a linear buying funnel to a multi touch point customer journey:

omnichannel
That’s quite the slide title, Diesel.

 

Attribution

Another “hot topic”, that goes hand in hand with omnichannel, was attribution. A Google survey was mentioned, highlighting that only 14% of marketers believe Last Click attribution is effective, yet 54% use it. The survey was conducted two years ago, but based on the sentiment yesterday, it sounds like the results still hold.

Catherine Schenquerman (Manager of Customer Experience Marketing, JetBlue Airways) shared a great insight about attribution: While it’s important to get it right, attribution is only one element to consider when thinking about the performance of your various marketing channels. It is equally important to look at which channels bring in better customers, and what is the customer mix – new vs repeat vs lapsed. Another excellent point Catherine made (and others echoed) was that channels shouldn’t be judged solely on conversion and ROI – for example, JetBlue uses various social media channels for customer service. Steve Weinrib (Director, eCommerce, ABC Carpet & Home) talked about using Facebook as a platform for gathering product feedback from customers, and incorporating the feedback into the product roadmap.

 

** The great quote in the title is from Joseph Yakuel, Senior Director of CRM and Digital Marketing, The Vitamin Shoppe.

 

Coming up on our event schedule is Fashion Digital LA – come say hi if you’re attending!

 

About Custora and how we can help: Custora provides a customer-centric marketing platform that helps e-commerce teams make customer acquisition and retention programs more profitable. Custora’s software uses advanced statistical models to identify distinct customer segments and predict how customers will behave in the future. This enables e-commerce companies to deliver more relevant and effective communications that promote long-term customer relationships. Custora is proud to work with some of the world’s leading e-commerce retailers, including Etsy, LivingSocial, Bonobos, Crocs, Wine.com, and One Kings Lane. If you’re interested in learning more about Custora, you can request a demo here.

 

 

US E-Commerce February Update: Up and to the Right

The Custora Pulse

Hot February for US E-Commerce: Sales were up 10% over February last year.

This stands in sharp contrast to overall US Retail Sales, which rose a paltry 1.5% in February compared to last year, according to the US Department of Commerce.

E-Commerce revenue was up 10% year over year, and transactions were up 12%. Average Order Value (AOV) was up 1% vs last year, indicating a healthy e-commerce environment that did not become more promotional and discount-driven compared to last year.

These data points are from The Custora Pulse‘s latest US E-Commerce data, tracking e-commerce transactions from over 100 US retailers and 70 million shoppers.

Mobile e-commerce continued its strong growth in February, increasing its share of the total e-commerce pie by 45% over 2013: From 14% to 19.5%. This includes purchases made on both mobile phones (9% of total) and tablets (10.5% of total).

 

Mobile E-Commerce, February 2014

mobile e-commerce

 

More where this came from: Check out the Pulse and sign-up to receive email updates for our holiday, seasonal, and industry performance reports.

 

About Custora and how we can help: Custora provides a customer-centric marketing platform that helps e-commerce teams make customer acquisition and retention programs more profitable. Custora’s software uses advanced statistical models to identify distinct customer segments and predict how customers will behave in the future. This enables e-commerce companies to deliver more relevant and effective communications that promote long-term customer relationships. Custora is proud to work with some of the world’s leading e-commerce retailers, including Etsy, LivingSocial, Bonobos, Crocs, Wine.com, and One Kings Lane. If you’re interested in learning more about Custora, you can request a demo here.

How Optimizing your SEM Customer Acquisition with CLV can Triple your Revenue

datasauce-logo

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a bread and butter way to acquire new customers. You bid a certain amount per click, impression, or acquisition, and in return you get new visitors to your site. The key with SEM, as with any marketing channel, is to make sure that what you pay for new customers isn’t taking too big of a bite from your profits.

One of Custora’s customers, DataSauce, recently confronted this very issue. How could their client, “The Unusual Pea,” still profitably acquire customers despite low profit margins and thus a smaller budget for acquisition?

Read on for the summary of our recently published case study, and download the full case study below.

The Setup

DataSauce is an e-commerce and digital marketing consultancy based in Melbourne, Australia. They’re passionate about helping businesses reach the right customers with the right message at the right time. The Unusual Pea is a pseudonym for DataSauce’s client, who asked to remain anonymous. Despite the bit of mystery, we do know some key facts: They are an online food seller that services multiple locations in Australia, and are known for their insistence on food quality and the best ingredients.

The Challenge: Low margins. Low customer acquisition.

The Unusual Pea hired DataSauce to help them bring in more customers through advertising on Google AdWords. DataSauce’s first hurdle was The Unusual Pea’s low profit margins. Their average order is for a single diner who spends around $20, with The Unusual Pea’s profit amounting to $5, a slim margin. What this meant for DataSauce was that they could only justify a $5 or less Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) through Google AdWords to acquire new customers.

The Solution: Looking beyond the first order.

The lightbulb moment for DataSauce was when they turned to Custora to unlock the power of repeat purchasers and customer lifetime value (CLV). Armed with information about CLV, as well as the average repeat rate for their customers, DataSauce saw that instead of spending under $5 to acquire each customer, they could actually spend as much as $20.50 to profitably acquire a new customer.

The Results: Investing double and tripling revenue.

With Custora’s predictive CLV modeling, DataSauce felt confident setting their target at $10 CPA – double their initial investment. They assumed that spending twice as much on AdWords would double revenue. Happily for everyone, revenue tripled. In hindsight, that made sense: The higher CPA put them above the competition by ensuring that their ads were displayed more often, and allowed them to get better at identifying the keywords that brought in new orders.

According to Tzvi Balbin, Founder of DataSauce, “I can now say with conviction that the most important metric I measure is the CLV. For any direct marketer, it’s critical in guiding your data-driven decisions.”

To download the full case study, fill in the form:

Calling All NYC Data and Marketing Geeks

Custora is growing and hiring software and data engineers, sales and marketing folks, customer advocates, designers, and baristas (barista? baristi? baristae?). You can check out all available jobs and apply on our careers page.

 

A bit more about us:

Custora provides a SaaS platform that helps online retailers better understand their customers and improve their customer acquisition and retention programs. We’re on a mission to remove the “mass” from mass marketing. Our software uses data science to uncover meaningful customer segments and integrates directly with various marketing tools to help retailers predict and address each segment’s unique needs and interests. Since taking part in Y Combinator’s 2011 batch, we have grown to become a profitable business working with some of the leading e-commerce brands in the country including Etsy, One Kings Lane, LivingSocial, and Bonobos. We were named one of Time Magazine’ 10 NYC Startups to Watch in 2013, and our headquarters are in the Flatiron District in Manhattan, NY. We work hard, work together, and care deeply about building a business and a culture that will have a positive impact on the world.

 

Check out our jobs page for the full postings.

 

To help you decide which position at Custora is the best fit for you, we created this handy flow chart:

job flowchart

If you’re not looking for a job, but are a friend of Custora and want to help, please spread the word on your favorite social network(s). Use this ready-to-tweet link to share on Twitter. Thanks!

US E-Commerce: 2014 Starts with a Bang

The Custora Pulse

E-Commerce is doing just fine, thank you very much. While overall US Retail sales (offline + online) declined 0.4% in January 2014 compared to last year, according to the US Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales grew a healthy 8%. This is based on The Custora Pulse‘s latest US E-Commerce data, tracking e-commerce transactions from over 100 US retailers and 70 million shoppers.

 

All key e-commerce indicators exhibited substantial growth in January ’14 compared to January ’13: Traffic to e-commerce stores was up 6%, and the average conversion rate grew to 2.2% (vs 2.1% in 2013). These factors combined resulted in a strong 7% growth in online orders.

 

Encouragingly, Average Order Value, or AOV, was up as well in January: It grew 1.3% over January 2013. This indicates that the e-commerce environment remained stable and did not become more promotional and discount-driven compared to last year.

 

While mobile shopping continues its unabated growth, driving a third of online transactions in January, Android devices took us by surprise, accounting for 20% of mobile orders (up from only 14% in January last year).

mobileJanuary2014

The share of US online sales out of all retail sales has grown from less than 1% in 2000 to 5.9% in Q3 2013, according to the US Department of Commerce. If physical retail continues to decline, while online retail continues growing at close to double-digit rates, it will be interesting to see how much market share online stores “steal” from brick and mortar in 2014.

 

More where this came from: Check out the Pulse and sign-up to receive our email updates for holidays, seasonal reports, and industry performance.

 

About Custora and how we can help Custora provides a customer-centric marketing platform that helps e-commerce teams make customer acquisition and retention programs more profitable. Custora’s software uses advanced statistical models to identify distinct customer segments and predict how customers will behave in the future. This enables e-commerce companies to deliver more relevant and effective communications that promote long-term customer relationships. Custora is proud to work with some of the world’s leading e-commerce retailers, including Etsy, LivingSocial, Bonobos, Revolve Clothing, and One Kings Lane. If you’re interested in learning more about Custora, you can request a demo here.

How ASOS, Adidas and The North Face Do E-Commerce Personalization

We had a great time sponsoring the WWD Digital Forum in NYC last year, and were equally excited to sponsor the WWD Digital Forum in LA, which took place yesterday (actually more excited, since this time involved escaping New York’s Polar Vortex).

One apparent theme in today’s event was personalization and one-to-one marketing communication: How do you, the e-commerce marketer, connect with your customer in a more relevant, personalized way, across all marketing touchpoints? How can social media be leveraged to create meaningful (and profitable) conversations with current and future buyers?

 

Here’s what some leading retail brands had to say:

Aaron Carpenter, VP of Global Marketing at North Face, discussed how North Face utilizes a loyalty program that rewards its customers not only for making purchases, but also for engaging with the brand on social media. Their goal is to inspire their customers to explore, and share their experiences to inspire others. With mobile already driving 40% of their sales and traffic, e-commerce is the cornerstone of North Face’s five year growth plan.

Matt Hiscock, Senior Vice President, ASOS US discussed how ASOS incorporates social media as part of the customer’s natural lifecycle. They embrace the path that customers take from browse to buy to share (and finally resell). Their digital experience is designed to highlight how customers are wearing and sharing, and encourage customers to share experiences. The challenge for them is predicting what customers will want to share and which products will go viral.

Chris Murphy, Director, Brand Communications & Digital Marketing, Adidas US, talked about how Adidas employs social media in an authentic, grassroots way. They produce content that customers want to share (like engaging images of high school sports teams they support, and the local stars). They have found it challenging to measure social media ROI: The brand teams focus on ROR (Return on Relationship), but the e-commerce team is thinking about real ROI of online efforts, including social media. For example, they might ask themselves what is the value of a new customer who finds you on Instagram – not just how many shares and likes you get.

Chris Murphy, Director, Brand Communications & Digital Marketing at Adidas

Paul Friedland, Director, Marketing at Levi Strauss & Co., emphasized the importance of knowing your customers – and being creative about achieving this goal: Talk to your customers, design content for them, and make things relevant. While the preferred medium to reach consumers continues to change, the tactics are still very similar, and so is the overarching goal: Make your communication relevant.

Levis, Paul Friedland Director, Marketing

All retailers underscored the importance of tailoring communications to individual customers, that is magnified by the growth of the millennial generation. Millennials (ages 14 – 33) are on pace to outspend baby boomers in 3 years. They contribute over $200 billion in direct annual spend to the US economy, and they are everywhere online. Tapping into this growing segment of shoppers is all about finding great new millennials and investing in meaningful relationships with them.

 

Custora’s Take and How We Can Help

Custora provides a customer-centric marketing platform that helps e-commerce teams make customer acquisition and retention programs more profitable. Custora’s software uses advanced statistical models to identify distinct customer segments and predict how customers will behave in the future. This enables e-commerce companies to deliver more relevant and effective communications that promote long-term customer relationships. Custora is proud to work with some of the world’s leading e-commerce retailers, including LivingSocial, Etsy, Fab, Bonobos, Revolve Clothing, and One Kings Lane.

If you’re interested in learning more about Custora, you can request a demo here. If you’d like to learn more about e-commerce analytics, check out our free, quick (promise!), online courses on Custora U.

 

Mobile is Eating the World, the E-Commerce Edition

In looking at holiday data from The Custora Pulse, we were struck by how much mobile shopping matured in 2013. More and more people are browsing and buying on mobile devices, and revenue from mobile continues to climb.

 

To get a sense of just how much e-commerce mobile has grown, we looked at the period of time between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday for 2013 and compared it to the same period in 2012. In 2012, 25% of e-commerce site visits came from a phone or a tablet, while during that same period in 2013, mobile was responsible for 40% of visits.

 

In 2012, less than one of every five purchases was made on a mobile device, in 2013 that number jumped to one in four. Black Friday specifically (aka “Mobile Friday”) saw over 40% of online transactions coming from mobile.

 

While these trends were observed during the holiday season, the trend will surely continue in 2014. Here are a few recommendations e-commerce marketers can benefit from as they’re getting ready for this new, mobile reality:

 

Keep your eye on iOS
While Android did gain a little bit of market share (up to 17% in 2013 from 13% during holiday 2012), iPhone and iPad users continue to drive online mobile retail with 83% and 90% of their respective markets. (tweet this stat)

 

Prepare for total device convergence
By looking at average order value (AOV) across different devices, we’ve been able to see that shoppers are behaving in similar ways across devices. In 2013 we saw mobile AOV pull almost neck-and-neck with AOV for desktop purchases. The AOV within mobile got closer as well, with tablets seeing just 10% higher AOV compared to phones in 2013, versus 20% more on tablets from 2012. (tweet this stat)

 

Keep working on converting
While mobile site visits climb, conversion rates continue to lag behind those for desktop shoppers. Desktop users converted at about 25% higher rates than tablet and almost 90% higher than mobile phones during Holiday 2013. (tweet this… you guessed it ;)) It’s imperative that retailers make their mobile sales and checkout process as comfortable for their customers as possible– think intuitive, secure, and easy to navigate.

 

Conclusion
The holiday season demonstrated just how big mobile has become. Now it’s time for online retailers and smart marketers to take advantage of this huge opportunity in 2014.
To continue keeping an eye out for mobile and e-commerce stats, sign up to receive updates from The Custora Pulse. The Custora Pulse is the only free, real-time US e-commerce industry benchmark, and is based on transaction and customer data from over 100 US e-commerce retailers. Check it out here: http://www.custora.com/pulse.

 

Craving more Holidata?
For extensive coverage of US e-commerce holiday performance, download our recap report:

A longer form version of this article was recently published on Direct Marketing News. You can check it out here.

Holiday 2013 E-Commerce Recap: The Most Surprising Stats

recap_blog_2

The 2013 Holiday shopping season came to a close, and what a season it was. From the biggest online shopping day in US history, through science fiction-like delivery drones, to too-realistic shipping storms, there was never a dull moment this season.
Throughout the holiday season, The Custora Pulse tracked the US e-commerce industry based on aggregate data from over 100 US retailers. Now that the season is over, we took a moment to reflect upon the big e-commerce data stories of 2013 and consider what’s in store for the year ahead.
Read on to discover the five most conspicuous stats of the 2013 holiday season, and download the report for a full recap of these and other notable trends.

We will continue to send out updates on e-commerce stats throughout the year: Sign-up to The Pulse to receive our email updates for holidays, seasonal reports, and industry performance.

 

The 5 Most Surprising Stats of the 2013 Holiday Season

1) E-commerce was the shining star in a ho-hum holiday retail season. While overall (online and offline) US retail growth during the holiday season is estimated to be 4.1% over 2012 according to the US Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales grew 12% year over year. (tweet this stat)

 

2) The Mid-West continues to click, claiming the biggest regional growth: The season’s growth wasn’t uniform across the country. Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska led the charge with 18% average revenue growth over 2012. Mature markets grew at a slower pace, with California sales growing only 6% vs 2012, and New York revenue actually shrinking 2% over last year. (tweet this stat)

 

3) Mobile commerce is exploding. Share of mobile purchases grew by 50% this holiday season: Almost one in three purchases was made on a mobile device (phone or tablet) during the holiday season, up from one in five in 2012. (tweet this stat)

 

4) Email and search are key to e-commerce success. Google is still the gatekeeper to online shopping, with over 40% of e-commerce orders originating on Organic Search (26%) and Paid Search / SEM (15%). Email Marketing accounted for 16% of e-commerce orders. (tweet this stat)

2013 e-commerce orders by marketing channel

 

5) Social Commerce isn’t Happening (yet?). Social Networks (including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram) generated less than 2% of e-commerce sales during the holidays shopping season, same as in 2012. (tweet this stat)
Continue reading

Not All States Were Equal in the 2013 Holiday Season

The 2013 holiday season was strong, with 12% year over year growth in US e-commerce revenue, according to The Custora Pulse. This growth wasn’t uniform across the country – some states grew much faster, whereas others grew more slowly or even declined compared to 2012.

2013 US holiday sales revenue growth by state
Green is higher growth than the overall average, red is lower growth.

 

Growth Leaders – Southern and Mid-West States
Which states grew the most during the 2013 holiday season?


State

Site Visits
Growth vs 2012

Orders
Growth vs 2012

Revenue
Growth vs 2012

Alabama

36%

16%

12%

Kansas

55%

21%

18%

Mississippi

62%

16%

14%

Missouri

39%

19%

15%

Nebraska

34%

19%

16%

Oklahoma

61%

22%

20%

Tennessee

44%

18%

14%

Virginia

38%

18%

16%

Average growth

15%

12%

12%


These are states that each accounted for at least 0.5% of national revenue and experienced growth in site visits, orders, and revenue that exceeded the national average by at least 33%. Data refers to the period of Nov-1 through Dec-30

 

Together, these states now account for just under 11% of total US e-commerce sales, up from 9% of total e-commerce revenue from 2012.

 

 

Mature Markets – Growth Laggards


State

Site Visits
Growth vs 2012

Orders
Growth vs 2012

Revenue
Growth vs 2012

California

14%

7%

6%

Michigan

13%

3%

1%

New York

12%

2%

-2%

Average growth

15%

12%

12%


These are states that each accounted for at least 0.5% of national revenue and experienced growth in two of three measures of site visits, orders, and revenue that was below the national average by at least 33%. Data refers to the period of Nov-1 through Dec-30

 

New York and California together accounted for almost 22% of total e-commerce revenue during the 2013 holiday season, down from 25% in 2012. California experienced some revenue growth, while New York actually experienced a slight decline.

 

What does it mean?
It seems likely that these trends will continue into 2014, as the more mature markets of New York and California have reached a scale where their growth will not be able to match national averages. Look for states in the middle of the country, many rural and non-coastal, to continue to drive e-commerce growth rates upward. Some of their growth may be explained by increased investment of retailers in distribution and warehouses in these areas. Texas is also one to watch for in 2014 as it is currently third behind NY and CA in online revenue, but its growth kept pace with the national average in 2013. We also hope for a swift rebound for Michigan from a tough holiday season.

 

This information is interesting in and of itself, and e-commerce marketers should consider the implications when deciding on marketing budgets. It can be easy to overlook the importance of geography when conversations in marketing departments often focus on acquisition channels or mobile device usage. Use this state-by-state comparison as a reminder.

 

Interested in more?
Sign up to the Pulse here to receive updates on e-commerce stats, holiday trends and seasonal reports. The Pulse also enables online retailers to easily benchmark themselves against US e-commerce industry performance along key performance metrics.

View the Pulse and sign up here: http://www.custora.com/pulse

 

About Custora and how we can help
Custora provides a customer-centric marketing platform that helps e-commerce teams make customer acquisition and retention programs more profitable. Custora’s software uses advanced statistical models to identify distinct customer segments and predict how customers will behave in the future. This enables e-commerce companies to deliver more relevant and effective communications that promote long-term customer relationships.

Custora is proud to work with some of the world’s leading e-commerce retailers, including LivingSocial, Etsy, Fab, Bonobos, Revolve Clothing, and One Kings Lane.
If you’re interested in learning more about Custora, you can request a demo here.

 

More about the Custora Pulse Methodology
The Custora Pulse (http://www.custora.com/pulse) tracks key US e-commerce statistics and allows any retailer to benchmark their data in real time throughout the holiday season. The Pulse is based on Custora’s analysis of over 70 million online shoppers and over $10 billion in e-commerce revenue across over 100 US-based online retailers. The Pulse also leverages external data points, such as the US Department of Commerce e-commerce growth figures, to extrapolate growth trends within the Custora data universe to arrive at predictions for US industry at large.