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When it comes to achieving B2B ecommerce success, leaving well enough  alone isn’t a winning strategy.  If you want to increase the value that  you and your customers are deriving from your SAP Integrated B2B  website, you need to understand who is coming to your website and what  they’re doing there (we rely on Google Analytics to provide us with many of these insights).

In the B2B world, knowing who is  coming to your website is trivial…they can only be a subset of the  people that you’ve invited.

However, not all invited users are  created equally.  They aren’t all given the same rights and privileges,  and frankly you don’t care equally about what each of them are doing. 

That’s  why we weren’t too surprised when our clients asked us for a simple way  to distinguish between their employees (salespeople, customer service  representatives and administrators) and real customers in their  Google Analytics reports.

Their reasoning was simple.  While the  statistics they were getting from Google Analytics were showing an  impressive overall return on investment, our clients were a little  concerned that they didn’t know what percentage of those returns were  coming from customers versus those that were coming from employees.   While improving employee productivity and morale was a nice side benefit  to the B2B website project, our clients wanted to make sure that their  primary targets, their customers, were the major beneficiaries of their  investments.

To that end, we recently released a new feature to  the b2b2dot0 service which passes information to Google Analytics that  enables it to distinguish between External and Internal  users on the website.  We then leverage Google Analytics “Advanced  Segments” capability to overlay these E/I segments onto all of our  reports.

Revenue_by_segment

Here  is an example of a segmented Ecommerce Overview report for the period  of Jan 9 thru Jan 17 for one of our clients.  The blue line represents  the total revenue generated on the website by all visitors combined.   The orange line shows the revenue contribution from Internal users and  the green line the revenue contribution from External users.

Without  the ability to segment your users, you could be quite content (fat,  dumb and happy) in knowing that you generated close to $850K in orders  during this time period.  However, upon closer inspection, you learn  that most of that revenue was generated by your employees, especially on  January 13th (the red vertical line on the graph).

So what’s  going on here? 

Dig even deeper and you learn that while your  employees are generating most of the revenue, it’s not because they are  placing most of the orders (or transactions in Google terminology).  In  fact, External users are placing practically twice the number of  orders (597 to 290) as Internal users.  That’s probably a good thing.   Interestingly enough, the average value of those External orders is less  than half the value of when Internal users place them ($354 to  $1747).

It looks like during this time period, External users  were using the site regularly (flat green line) to place simple orders  of roughly 6 line items per order (divide External user’s Purchased  Products by their Transactions).  However, Internal users (Sales Reps in  this case) were jumping in to place the “more difficult”  orders.  They  were averaging closer to 25 line items per order on their orders.

Is  that a good thing?  That really depends on your business. 

Is  there any “Actionable Intelligence” here?  Absolutely! 

Here are  some of the questions I would investigate further:

  1. Why are our salespeople still handling these larger orders?  Is that  the best use of their time?
  2. Why aren’t our customers entering in those orders on their own?   Don’t they know about our “Upload Shopping Cart” feature that prevents  them from typing in 25 line items for each order?
  3. What happened on Jan 13?  Why did our revenue peak on that day?  Is  that part of our “normal” business cycle? 
  4. Is the fact that most of the website revenue is generated by  Internal users a “fact of life”, or should we work to get more External  users generating revenue? 
  5. Are Internal users placing larger orders on behalf of customers  because of total line item differences only, or are there other product  related drivers?  Maybe our product catalog, and the presentation of  product choices, should be improved?

Inquiring minds want to know. 

The segmented data presented by  Google Analytics is just that…data…albeit very interesting data.   It’s up to the inquiring mind to dig deeper, talk to Internal and  External users and make the business decisions to change people’s  behaviors…or not.

It’s now time to act intelligently.

Sam

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