The Holiday Season is Not About Analytics But Business Should Be

Ah, the holidays! The roar of the fire, the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, the chattering of friends you haven’t seen all year – there’s really no other time like it. It’s a special time when everything seems to slow down, at least for just a while, so we can appreciate what we have.

At least that’s the idea, right? If you’re a business owner that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s just a little too difficult to separate business and home life, especially during the holidays when things are really hectic.

So while at home the holidays are about family, business life should be all about analyzing your business down to its very core! Somewhat ironically, the more work you put into your analytics the easier your home life becomes as you don’t have to worry so much about your company.

Get a Financial Snapshot
One of the most helpful analytics you can run for your business is a spreadsheet on your profits & loss. When running a business day to day we get caught up in the particulars – the “trees” in the “can’t see the forest for the trees” adage. How are you supposed to worry about the big picture when you have a big order on Wednesday and your hard drive crashed yesterday?

However, it’s extremely important to step back once in a while and take a look at what’s really going on. Looking at the numbers often tells a different story than the narrative we have in our heads. For instance, that big order seems like a big deal now, but perhaps you should really be worrying about the money you’re hemorrhaging from office supplies and utilities?

How Customers Find You
Another thing business owners take for granted is how their customers arrive at their store or website. After all, if the point of business is customers coming in through the “door,” then whatever’s working is fine, right?

That isn’t necessarily the case, especially during the hectic Christmas/holiday season. You’re facing extreme competition during this time as every single online product seller is scrambling for a piece of the holiday pie. There’s a lot of money to be made and if you’re complacent, you’re going to miss out.

So check to see where customers are actually seeing your company’s name and how they’re accessing your site. You may be in for a shock and could stumble across a treasure trove of marketing ideas you otherwise would never have known existed.

How Fast Customers Leave
Web surfers coming to your website is one thing, but them staying and buying stuff is a different animal altogether. It’s so crucial that there’s a term specifically for it: bounce rate. If the majority of users come to your main page but leave shortly after, you have a high bounce rate, and you have a problem!

Run some analytics (using a free program like Google Analytics or a pay, but user-friendly program like GoSquared) and find out how many of your customers are bouncing quickly, and what pages seem to be persuading them to click the little x. For example, if you notice lots of people move on from your shopping cart, maybe it’s too complicated and requires too many hoops, or maybe your shipping rates raise their price-conscious eyebrows.

Still, if you try different approaches to your website and nothing’s working, poll users to see what they say just isn’t working. With market research, you have a better chance of coming across something that will catch the eye of practically every person who visits your site and make them want to throw money your way!

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