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Tom’s tale of metric mishaps

Tom’s tale of metric mishaps

Scott Reis

It was the start of the week - 9am on a Monday - and Tom just stepped into the office ready to start his day.

He was a diligent and punctual man, Tom; barely a second had passed the hour before he reached his desk and switched on his old desktop computer. The company screensaver flashed up: Acme Ecommerce in bold, red writing on a plain white background.

Tom was an ecommerce analyst, and despite his confident appearance, he had only been at the company for a month. That meant he was desperate to impress, and with a business as behind the times as Acme Ecommerce Agency, he believed he could help them make a name for themselves.

But unfortunately for Tom, he was about to have the day from hell.

A metric ton of problems

As he read through his flurry of morning emails, Tom’s phone rang suddenly. It was Sarah, one of the project managers he worked closely with to resolve issues clients were having.

He didn’t even finish saying good morning before Sarah, exasperated, said: “We have a problem.

“The solution we put in place for Super Shoeslow conversion rates hasn’t worked. They’re furious and losing profits, fast. Can you take a look at the data and try to get a report together before the end of the day?”

Tom wasn’t with Acme Ecommerce when the initial solution to Super Shoesproblems was implemented. However, he knew the gist; they weren’t hitting their sales targets, and the previous analyst suggested they make the add to basket button clearer and move it closer to the top of the page, so visitors could more easily checkout. A good change, but clearly it wasn’t enough.

Sarah ran through some more details about the project with him, then abruptly hung up (he didn’t take it personally - Sarah was overworked, and practically fuelled solely on coffee).

It was time to get to work. He found the data he needed, and for a few seconds, stared blankly at the screen. It was a tangled mess. Whoever had accessed it last either couldn’t be bothered or didn’t have the time to decode everything; perhaps that was why only one solution had been put in place?

A cloud of panic started to form over Tom’s head. Super Shoes wanted a report by the end of the day - but it would take him hours just to compile a fraction of the available data, let alone form conclusions from it!

He would have to focus on a portion of the data for now, put together a preliminary report, and ask the client for more time to deliver something in-depth. He just hoped they’d understand.

Who is the client?

Super Shoes are an important client for Acme Ecommerce, and could provide some excellent publicity for the company if all goes well. They’ve been around since the 90s, and are a successful footwear brand with stores on many high streets across the country.

However, with the changing face of retail, they decided they want to push their online presence which up until now has been entirely neglected. That goal brought them to Acme Ecommerce, who built their website and have provided ongoing support and services since.

Tom’s job is part of that ongoing support. As an ecommerce analyst, he needs to look at data surrounding sales, conversions, page bounces, load speeds… anything related to the user experience. Then, he forms conclusions and comes up with a plan to fix any issues and build on existing success.

However, it’s not always that easy. Acme Ecommerce is a profitable company, but it’s been around for a while. That means agencies with newer, fresher takes and technologies have been overshadowing their work recently. And that means, as skilled as Tom is, he can’t always keep up with competitors who are better at adapting to new trends and software.

The lunchtime rush

Though he usually spent his lunch hour getting some fresh air in the park next to the office, today Tom ate his homemade sandwich at his desk. By the time it was over, he had formed some usable metrics from the mess of data.

It was time to figure out what was going wrong. The first thing he discovered was that cart abandonment on Super Shoes’ website was extraordinarily high, which hadn’t been addressed by the previous update.

The problem was, without the rest of the data, it was going to be difficult to form any solid conclusions about why people were abandoning their carts - and even harder to come up with a solution. He needed to know things such as customer journeys, and load speeds on checkout. He needed a clear and easy view of customer ratings and reviews which could be filtered for specific problems.

That’s when a thought popped into his head. His friend, Joe, worked at a software company and mentioned a product they’re working on called BI - or business intelligence.

It would take some time to implement such a solution, but if he could provide Super Shoes with his preliminary report today and ask them for more time, he could suggest the idea to his boss.

A happy ending

A month later, Tom arrived at work once again with his typical confidence and punctuality. Since his stressful day putting out fires, Acme Ecommerce had partnered with a company called Patchworks to gain access to their top-of-the-range BI tool.

Super Shoes weren’t too happy at first that Tom couldn’t resolve all of their problems in one day, but once they had a taste of Acme Ecommerce’s brand new BI solution, they were quick to sing its praises.

One of the biggest challenges Tom had run into on his disastrous day was an overwhelming amount of unclear and uncategorised data which his small and underfunded team just didn’t have time to process. With Patchworks BI, all of that data - for Super Shoes and the rest of their clients - was neatly organised into an easy-to-view dashboard.

That enabled him to get to the bottom of some of the concerning problems affecting Super Shoes’ profits. For example, he found that the high rate of cart abandonment correlated with load speeds slowing down as more items were added to someone’s basket. Potential customers were getting inconvenienced, and going elsewhere to shop.

The BI tool also revealed difficulties in customer journeys. Some page links were inactive or faulty, and by seeing which pages visitors were most likely to give up using the website on, Acme Ecommerce was able to make some changes and improve UX.

Thanks to Super Shoes’ rave reviews, they were in talks with even more big clients about their services. And, with the time and money saved from more efficient data collection and handling, they could reinvest into other areas of the business such as web design and marketing.

But on a more personal level for Tom, he had finally proven himself in the eyes of his boss and co-workers. Now, there was nothing in the way of his ambition to help turn Acme Ecommerce into the most successful agency in the country!

Patchworks BI

If this moving story has inspired you to look into business intelligence, Patchworks BI is a powerful software solution to help ecommerce businesses gain valuable insights into their operation.

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