October 1, 2002, 12:00 AM

How analytics helped Dartek figure out what new customers want

The rate of conversion among new customers lagged until Dartek applied analytics to test–-and fix-–the reasons that customers were bailing out.


Dartek.com, the 6-year-old web site of discount computer cataloger Dartek, ventured beyond log files into an analytic service in April and experienced a 5% increase in conversion rates in two separate initiatives, marketing projects manager JoAnn McNeely tells Internet Retailer.

Dartek, which serves medium to small businesses as well as home office and individual consumers, started in April with an ASP-based version of WebSide Story’s HitBox tool and this summer became a beta user for the company’s recently released Commerce analytics product. Splitting its web visitors into new and existing customers, Dartek found by using the tools that while the conversion rate among customers of record was on target, the conversion rate among first-time buyers who’d gone as far as starting a shopping cart lagged. “New customers were coming and then bailing out,” McNeely says.

Dartek first checked to see if the problem was an issue of trust among new customers by adding a customer assurance program and featuring it on the site, seeing a 1% increase in conversions as a result. The company next tested free shipping as an incentive, seeing a 4% to 5% increase in conversions among new customers who started the shopping cart process.

Analytics also are helping Dartek in efforts to push more catalog and outbound telemarketing sales, currently about 81% of sales, to the web. Dartek drops as many as 150,000 catalogs per month. “We give customers an offer and a coding number so as soon as they come to the site, we can track what the catalog is driving,” McNeely says. Dartek likewise gives coded offers to existing customers it contacts by e-mail and even fax to drive those customers to the web; analytics tracks those offers as well. Other initiatives being tracked by analytics tools include search engine optimization efforts and the response to the language used in different non price-focused offers.

Dartek, which pays WebSide Story a quarterly fee based on traffic, has broken even on its initial investment within its first six months of the use of the tools, McNeely estimates.



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