May 16, 2014, 11:40 AM

A free mobile analytics tool helps Overstock boost in-app sales 25%

The retailer began using analytics from vendor Flurry to track users’ activity in its iPhone and iPad apps and benchmark performance to identify areas for improvement.

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Discount mass merchant Overstock.com Inc. boosted its number of in-app sales by 25% after deploying in early 2013 Flurry’s free mobile analytics tool on its iPhone and iPad apps, the retailer says. Driving that growth was a 70% increase in the number of purchases from iPhone searches and a 30% increase in purchases stemming from customers tapping product images on the iPad, according to Flurry.

“Using Flurry Analytics, we have been able to greatly improve our apps and in-app purchase rates,” says Overstock CEO and chairman Patrick Byrne. “We now know what users want in the app and can provide that with confidence.”

The mobile analytics tool revealed that Overstock’s iPhone shoppers conduct four to five times as many specific product searches per session compared to iPad shoppers, which led Overstock to update its search process on the smartphone app. On the iPad, Flurry reported that shoppers scroll through a list of products three times as often as they do on the iPhone; Overstock responded by making its product images on the iPad larger and more colorful.

The mobile analytics tool also allows retailers to customize how they collect and view data on their mobile app audiences, for instance, looking at only consumers who use the app at least three times a week, or those who abandon a cart after placing $50 of items in it, the spokeswoman for Flurry says. Flurry can do this because it splits up the actions possible on the app into 300 custom “events” per app, which correspond to the factors needed to create each customer segment. For instance, one event could be placing $50 of items in a cart and a second event leaving the cart. The technology also collects customer acquisition data to help retailers measure the effectiveness of their app marketing.

To get started, a retailer needs to add some code to its mobile app, the spokeswoman says. Then, because all the data is exchanged on the server side—separate from the Apple App Store—anytime the developers make a change to the app, the resulting change in user behavior is immediately visible in the Flurry analytics. Only if the change is drastic, such as adding a new feature to the app, would the developer have to resubmit the app for App Store approval, the spokeswoman says.

Overstock is No. 31 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Flurry makes money through a separate advertising platform that leverages the aggregated data collected from its mobile retailer clients, the Flurry spokeswoman says. “Flurry sees data from 500,000 apps across 1.3 billion devices per month, so we have the deepest understanding of consumers’ cross-app behavior,” she says. That also allows the vendor to create industry-wide benchmarks about the makeup of particular app audiences, including by age and gender. “For example, even though an app developer might not collect age information on its users, Flurry can leverage data from other apps to tell that developer that 75% of its users are aged 18-25, or that 15% of its customers are business travelers,” she says.

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