May 14, 2014, 12:09 PM

Adobe makes it easier for e-retailers to react to shopper on-site activity

A new module in the Adobe Marketing Cloud lets e-retailers see what consumers are doing on their web sites and to react to that behavior to increase conversion.

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Adobe Systems Inc. today announced new tools for the Adobe Marketing Cloud, including real-time tracking and predictive analysis for its analytic tools, known previously as Omniture.

Adobe is the most widely used web analytics vendor among e-retailers in the Top 500 Guide, with 242 using the service. The top five e-retailers—Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Staples Inc., Walmart.com and Sears Holding Group—all use Adobe. The Adobe Marketing Cloud has more than 140,000 active users and had $1 billion in revenue in 2013, Adobe says.

The new real-time tracking module, which Adobe calls “Firehose,” allows its clients to view what’s happening on their sites at any given time. While seeing raw, real-time data might seem overwhelming, the benefit is being able to react quickly to what consumers are doing, says Chris Wareham, senior director of product management of Adobe Analytics. For example, you can see how long a customer has been in the shopping cart. If that customer lingers, you can deploy a pop-up chat window to ask if she has any questions about the order.

“The benefit of seeing real-time data is the ability to trigger and drive real-time action with somebody who’s interacting with your brand right then,” Wareham says.

A retailer in the U.K. is using the new tracking feature to view the contents of every order placed, Wareham says. The CEO noticed an order containing three sizes of an identical pair of shorts. “He knew he was going to lose money on that order,” Wareham says, because the customer was going to return the two sizes that didn’t fit. That insight, he says, allows the retailer to better understand what its customers are doing and how to change that behavior. That retailer might start tracking contents in customers’ shopping carts to intervene earlier.

Another new aspect of the analytics module is decision trees, which allow a retailer to see the paths consumers take and predict how likely they are to convert into sales. An e-retailer also can use this feature to drill down into such traits as purchase history, demographics and location. For example, Wareham says, a retailer can see a consumer with a high lifetime purchase value going down a path that’s unlikely to end in a sale. The retailer can then attempt to divert that consumer with pop-up offers, pop-up chats or other interventions. “The decision trees inform a dynamic experience for the consumer,” he says.

Adobe also announced today an addition to its digital advertising platform designed to optimize client media spend by predicting the success of campaigns. Clients using this platform have seen a 25% increase in the effectiveness of search campaigns, says Tim Waddell, the director of product marketing at Adobe Advertising Solutions. The third announcement is a social module which allows clients to create and manage communities and publish content.

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