How can I help you? [Direct Commerce Ask Chloe Column 1]

Over the last few months, I’ve been chatting with retailers of all shapes and sizes and from multiple counties to get to grips with how the pandemic has affected their businesses.


That would be word that sums up the experience of all those I’ve spoken to. Whether sales have gone through the roof, or collapsed completely, everyone is dealing with big challenges that change day to day and week to week.

As Ian Leslie, CMO of Industry West in the USA put it:

“Before, if we weren’t hitting ROAS on Monday we’d see how it went for a couple of days beforetweaking anything. Now, if it’s not working in the morning we’re tweaking by lunchtime.”

The turbulence isn’t going to end anytime soon.

We’ve got to be more adaptable, ready to pivot to take advantage of new opportunities.

I’ve spoken to companies who have launched new product ranges, temporarily mothballed, switched marketing manpower to neglected social media channels, initiated huge clearances on sale sites, knocked down walls to create more warehouse space(!), and turned off all but one customer service channel.

The potential pivots are endless, and the key to success (or survival) is to pick the right moments to pivot, and deploy the right solutions.

Being successfully adaptable requires 2 things – the data you need to make the right decisions, and a tech platform that enables you to make changes quickly.

The second of these is what we’ve created this column to help you with.

I would love to know what eCommerce problems you’ve got that I can help with.

Maybe you’re planning a site migration – but you don’t know what platforms to put on your shortlist? Or you’re not sure what are the key things you should be putting on your ‘must have’ list.

Maybe you want to make a quick improvement in website performance but you can’t decide whether to hire a CRO agency, buy a better search system, or invest in a full searchendising solution.

Maybe you’ve hit a plateau with your growth and you just want some ideas on how to go to the next level.

Please do send us in your questions and I’ll picking one (or more) to answer in next edition’s column.

For now here’s one to get the ball rolling:

Chloe, How can I speed up my access to the right data to make decisions?

Those I’m speaking to who are doing the best at weathering the storm have sped up their reporting and analysis cycle.

What they used to look at quarterly they’re now looking at monthly, what was looked at monthly is now weekly, what was looked at weekly…. You get the idea!

Consumer behaviour is changing much faster and if companies aren’t analysing more frequently they are flying blind and making bad decisions.

Speeding up reporting and analysis cycles comes at a cost – time. Most retailers are still using manpower heavy systems to collate the data. This means that reporting more frequently leads to team members spending much more time creating reports, rather than analysing them and taking
the actions that will help the business.

That means it is time to take the manpower out of reporting.

My top recommendation for doing this is a free Google tool called “Data Studio“.

With it you can set up reports that are automatically updated – so once set up you can just go to the report and analyses each time you need to, you don’t have to create the report first – the results are just there ready to be looked at.

In my experience it can reduce reporting and analysis time by 75%.

If it takes your team 2 hours to pull together your weekly reports then that’s
almost a day saved each month.

You can also use Data Studio to automate distribution of reports – set it up to automatically email the team each report as often as you need to. Saving even more time.

You can even download each report as a PDF if you want to review offline.

How does Data Studio do all this? Well, it pulls in data from lots of other systems – Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Google Analytics etc, and you can set it up to read off spreadsheets for data from systems you can’t integrate it with.

I’ve been using it for about 9 months now – and it’s one of my favourite ways to improve the performance of a marketing team. It saves them time finding the data, and enables them to make better decisions because it puts the right data at their finger tips. What’s not to love?

Chloë Thomas is the author of Amazon Bestseller “eCommerce Marketing”, and host of the award-winning eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast.

Originally published here,

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