Selling your products through retailers gives your brand access to new distribution channels and a wealth of opportunities. But it puts your brand in a difficult position: you can’t track sales that take place on their websites or in their apps. And that means you’ll never fully understand how your ecommerce marketing campaigns perform.
The partnership can significantly increase your brand’s visibility, accessibility, and overall sales, but it comes at the cost of watering down the value of your ecommerce data.
It’s kind of like if a sales team didn’t know who their best sales reps were, what tactics were working, who they were most suited to sell to, or even what leads were most qualified. It sounds absurd, but that’s not far off from the challenges ecommerce marketers have to navigate when your brand works with retailers and third party sellers. You simply don’t have end-to-end visibility into campaign performance, so you can’t see the relationship between where you send people and what happens next. You can only track whatever metrics the content platform gives you.
But that changes when you use PriceSpider. We partner directly with retailers and use proprietary crawling technology to trace sales and other in-cart data back to the marketing assets that brought someone to the retailer.
Whether you’re driving awareness, loyalty, sales or something else, PriceSpider gives you a detailed breakdown of how each campaign performs—before and after the click or tap.
In this article, we’ll explain why every ecommerce brand struggles with campaign data visibility and how PriceSpider removes this critical blind spot. To begin, let’s dig into why this is such a prevalent issue—and why none of the most common solutions really work.
Why every brand struggles with ecommerce campaign data
Visibility into ecommerce campaigns isn’t some niche problem. Many of the world’s largest brands can’t track performance outside of their direct-to-consumer channels. Even when retailers use affiliate programs to share retail sales data, this doesn’t include “receipt level data” like the names of your products, which means you have to manually reconcile SKUs with your catalog and the campaign—for each retailer. It’s a tedious and error-prone process that’s often more trouble than it’s worth.
Most brands have simply settled for workarounds and accepted their lack of visibility as the cost of working with retailers. With every ecommerce campaign, if you work with retailers and third party sellers, you have to make one of the following choices, none of which are great:
- Drive your audience to a direct-to-consumer sales channel (if you have one). This reduces the campaign’s overall performance by forcing consumers to buy through you instead of their preferred retailer, but it makes that performance measurable because you can track and attribute sales. Or at least the ones that come through your D2C channel. Some consumers will see your content and find their own path to their favorite retailer, where you’ll lose visibility.
- Send the audience to a specific retail partner (such as the one that moves the most inventory), or give them several common options. This could improve overall performance, but you won’t ever know, because you can’t track sales or anything else that happens after people click. You might be sending people to a retailer that doesn’t convert well, is out of stock, or diverts significant traffic to your competitors.
- Create a highly specific campaign, such as a channel-exclusive product or online-only coupon. This takes a lot more work for you and your partners, and you can’t track people who click through the content and make a purchase but don’t take the desired action. They can check out without the coupon (or a different coupon), or choose a different version of the product or different product altogether. That’s activity that happened as a result of your campaign, but you can’t attribute it to your efforts.
Each of these strategies attempts to alleviate the problem of poor campaign visibility, and none of them actually resolve the issue. You have to exchange potentially worse performance and experience for some visibility.
While many brands accept that some visibility is better than none, it leaves a massive gap between what you know and what your retail partners know—and that missing information often leads to short-term and ongoing mistakes that inhibit campaign performance.
Whatever your objective, you simply can’t optimize your ecommerce campaigns without seeing the behavior your assets trigger on retailer websites. And that’s why this visibility is such an integral part of the PriceSpider platform.
How PriceSpider improves your campaign data visibility
Like other ecommerce tools, PriceSpider incorporates the third party affiliate lists retailers use to provide general sales information. But we take things a step further.
Over the years, we’ve built direct data-sharing partnerships with many of the world’s leading retailers—including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Best Buy—to give receipt-level data, including product names. Retailers trust us because we only share the ecommerce data that’s directly related to your activity (e.g. your campaign drove people to their site, and we just show you what happens as a result), and we only share it with you.
When you use our Where to Buy tool, the traffic you send to retailers gets tagged in their Google Analytics, and we scrape that data and organize it into intuitive dashboards you can search and filter by seller, channel, campaign, KPIs and more.
Here’s why that’s such a game changer for ecommerce brands.
Automatically track sales from specific assets and campaigns
When your campaign assets link to retailers through Where to Buy, PriceSpider tracks every click and the activity that happens as a result. You’ll see whatever people buy after the click, whether it’s the product or bundle you directed them to, or something else entirely. You’ll even see cart totals. And since your marketing messaging can often inspire sales days or weeks after someone sees your content, Where to Buy continues tracking your audience for up to 30 days after they click through to a retailer.
This universal tracking gives you definitive results for your campaigns and enables you to connect those results to specific assets, so you can actually test and validate the most effective:
- Marketing channels
- Asset types
- Distribution channels
- Marketing partners
- And more
For each asset or campaign, Where to Buy can show you the clickthrough rate for individual retailers, too, so you can see which positions and partners get the best results.
Explore campaign data in our platform or yours
We’re constantly improving our analytics capabilities to make it easier for brands to get the ecommerce insights they need. When you use Where to Buy, Insights 360 is your hub for visual, interactive dashboards to explore your campaign data. But we also understand how valuable it is to get campaign data in the tools your team already spends time in. We integrate with the major analytics platforms like Google Analytics and Adobe—and if you built a data platform in-house, we can integrate performance tracking there too.
Evaluate campaign performance with meaningful KPIs
When you have the ability to track sales associated with your campaign—wherever they take place—you can select the key performance indicators (KPIs) that make the most sense for your campaign. You no longer have to choose between mismatched KPIs or limiting your campaigns to what you can measure.
Here are some of the key KPIs PriceSpider gives you visibility into:
- Unique campaign ID (UTM data)
- Where-to-Buy impressions
- Where-to-Buy purchase leads
- Online retailer impressions
- Online retailer purchase leads
- Purchase lead conversion rate
- Purchase rate
- Purchase lead value
- Total receipts by retailer
Whatever your campaign goals, PriceSpider enables you to see if you’re reaching them.
See which channels and sellers are most effective for each brand
Within your brand portfolio, you’ll always have some variance in which marketing channels and distributors are most effective. Various social media platforms, for example, cater to different demographics and types of activities. Some brands and campaigns will inevitably get more traction on Instagram than Facebook, and vice versa.
And since retailers are brands as well, your campaign performance will vary depending on how well the retailers you point people to align with your brand. For example, if one of your brands is designed to appeal to young adults, your audience may be less inclined to purchase your products from stores that primarily appeal to children or the elderly—even if those stores are more well-known and successful.
But without direct visibility into sales performance, it’s difficult to correctly gauge which marketing and distribution channels align best with which brands. PriceSpider lets you test your assumptions and fine-tune your marketing by tracking sales and other KPIs associated with the campaign, so you can optimize your future efforts for each brand.
Find the best products and configurations for each audience
Similarly, better campaign visibility helps you recognize whether you’ve selected the right products and configurations for each audience (or the right audience for each product). You may find, for example, that some audiences are more likely to be interested in bulk variations of a product, bundles with particular accessories, or certain colors, scents and flavors.
Every audience is a group of people with varying distribution of shared characteristics, interests, behaviors and preferences. While you may begin a campaign with assumptions about how an audience will respond to a specific offer, PriceSpider helps you rule out offers that aren’t a good fit, and find the ones that align best with the people you’re reaching.
Avoid directing customers to competitors
Many retailers have dedicated sections on your product pages to allow their customers to compare similar options. Some retailers push these alternatives harder than others, or else have more appealing alternatives. Perhaps there’s another well-known brand on Amazon that simply has more or better reviews—but it’s not available or doesn’t have as many reviews on Target’s website. Or the price is simply lower. This naturally drives more people to checkout with that competitor on Amazon than Target. And knowing that may change how you prioritize retailers in Where to Buy.
Whatever your product category, there’s always likely to be some percentage of customers that purchase from another brand once they get to a retailer. Your campaign asset is the launch pad that starts their research or triggers their sense of need, but for whatever reason, their customer journey ends with another brand in the basket.
Based on our internal data from thousands of brands and retailers, about 53% of household and grocery customers purchase with the brand that drove them to the retailer, while 47% purchase from another brand or competitor. For comparison, in consumer electronics, about 88% of customers purchase with the brand, and the remaining 12% buy from another brand.
With receipt-level data for each campaign, over time you’ll build your own baseline for how customers behave when they click through your campaign assets, and when particular retailers fall outside that norm, you can optimize your ad spend and marketing efforts accordingly—so fewer customers go to your competitors.
Detect errors and reduce the harm they cause
Suppose you have a campaign running for a month. Or a quarter. And when you set up the campaign, there’s a problem no one notices. Perhaps one of the product pages is broken, and people get an error when they click through to a certain retailer. Or maybe your product is out of stock on a specific site. It’s not uncommon for errors like these to go undetected for days or even weeks during a campaign, especially if they only occur in one of many possible actions your audience can take. Your retail partners may have thousands of product pages, so you can’t count on them to notice the error—and they’re certainly not going to tell you to stop driving traffic to them.
Since PriceSpider tracks what happens after someone clicks through your campaign assets, you can see, for example, when a product page has a 0% conversion rate—a clear sign that something isn’t working as intended. Thanks to better visibility into campaign data, you can identify issues and make adjustments before they become larger problems. You may even detect larger issues your retailer needs to address, such as fundamental problems with an individual product page.
Eliminate campaign blind spots with PriceSpider
Even as businesses become increasingly data-driven, poor ecommerce campaign visibility has remained the norm. Whether you sell consumer packaged goods, consumer electronics, hardware and tools, or something else, your brand has been working around this blind spot for so long, you may not even realize what it’s costing you—or the advantage brands gain when they tap into PriceSpider’s more advanced analytics capabilities.
PriceSpider isn’t merely a tool that streamlines the path to purchase. Where to Buy supports the customer journey by giving consumers a direct route from your campaign assets to their preferred retailer—but it also gives you invaluable insights into how people interact with your content.
Whatever your media mix and whatever marketing channels you utilize, PriceSpider enables you to finally optimize your ecommerce campaigns using metrics that fit your goals, and data that benefits your entire brand portfolio.