May 21, 2002, 12:00 AM

Deeper insight into buyer behavior brings a sales boost to BackcountryStore

After analyzing buyer behavior using WebSideStory, realized it was optimizing its pages for a fraction of its audience. Re-designing in a larger format helped boost sales 153% over last year.


Internet retailers are sitting on mountains of visitor and customer data, and as analytic services get more user-friendly, the marketing staff is increasingly able to extract meaningful data directly without having to depend on IT staff to pull reports. That’s even the case with smaller retailers.

Six year-old, a pure-play Internet retailer that competes against the much larger Recreational Equipment Inc., has just 18 employees. It saw a quick ROI from visitor and customer analytic services it implemented last year from outsource provider WebSideStory, says co-founder and vice president of marketing John Bresee, on data largely pulled by Bresee himself.

For example, the site had been optimized for visitors able to view a smaller 640 x 480-pixel page. “We wanted everyone to be able to see our pages the same. But we were losing screen acreage. There was more we could do with a larger page,” says Bresee.

Data served up by WebSideStory`s HitBox Enterprise product, which analyzes the clickstream behavior of site visitors, showed that 95% were equipped to view pages of 800 x 600 or better. WebSideStory`s Commerce product, which segments the behavior of customers from that of site visitors, delivered even more compelling data: 98% of visitors who actually made a purchase could view pages in the larger format. “At that point, we realized we were optimizing pages for only about 3% of the audience,” says Bresee. With that insight, the company re-optimized its pages for the larger format in time for last Christmas. That was one contributing factor to year-over-year sales increase of 153%, Bresee says.

“A lot of people are used to processing log files in the traditional way, where you have to use the IT staff to get any in-depth data,” says a WebSideStory spokesman. “But you don’t have to do it that way these days. You can drop our code into your web pages and then view the data yourself instead of having your IT people do it.”


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