March 11, 2009, 12:00 AM

Remote analyst recommendations slicken sales path for Ice.com, others

FutureNow’s OnTarget service tracks sales against online marketing plans for e-retailers like Ice.com and then delivers customized recommendations each month to improve conversions.

If software can be delivered online, so can professional expertise on boosting conversions. That’s one idea behind a new web-based service from online marketing technology and consulting company FutureNow Inc. that analyzes a retailer’s existing traffic against its goals and marketing plan, and then delivers a customized set of recommendations each month to improve conversions.

Ice.com Inc., No. 144 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites and a new user of the service, attributes to it a 20% increase in conversions after one week, including sales it can track to its call center, after the online jeweler followed OnTarget’s recommendation to more prominently feature a toll-free number on its home page. “We are on it, and we are hooked,” says CEO Shmuel Gniwisch.

The vendor says the program has lifted conversions at online retailers including another online jeweler that increased its overall web conversions from 3% to 7%, an increase of 133%, within the first three months of implementation. Another retailer that FutureNow didn’t identify increased its conversion rate by 59.3%, resulting in a financial impact of more than $70,000 per month.

Key to the subscription model offering, which starts at a monthly $1,000 depending on the level of service, is that it delivers analyst expertise without the cost of having an analyst on retainer, and that recommendations to e-retailers track to the spending plan framework the subscribed retailer has provided.

The recommendations tap into the collective experience of FutureNow’s analysts. The retailer-specific insights and suggested actions are based on data drawn from web analytics as well as FutureNow’s Persuasion Architecture methodology, a proprietary process that uses predictive models of customer behaviors to test and optimize a site, according to the vendor.

Customer behavior can be analyzed across e-mails, search engine marketing efforts and other campaigns as well as the web site. Within days of implementing the solution and tagging the site for monitoring, analysts have enough data to generate recommendations, which are delivered online to retailer customers` OnTarget accounts, the vendor says.

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