Webtrends helps e-retailers react fast to live web site data

The analytics provider’s Action Center marries streaming information with marketing.

Amy Dusto

Analytics vendor Webtrends Inc. has introduced a new product aimed at enabling online retailers to adjust site content and marketing messages based on on-site activity: Action Center.

A retailer could use Action Center to send an e-mail with a free shipping offer or another incentive to a customer right after she abandons her shopping cart, for example. For some e-retailers, such as events tickets web sites or other more time-limited sellers, cutting out delays in responses can mean the difference between capturing a sale or not, says Steve Earl, director of product marketing at Webtrends.

The technology builds on the Webtrends Streams dashboard the company introduced in December a dashboard that shows retailer clients the current activity on their web sites

Webtrends says it intends to make it easier for retailers to act on the data Action Center provides by building connections to software from other vendors. For now, it works with only e-mail service providers, including ExactTarget, Responsys and Silverpop Systems Inc. Plans include integrating Action Center with more vendors and other technology categories, such as customer relationship management and search engine marketing.

In addition to adjusting marketing strategies manually, retailers can set up automated responses using Action Center so that consumer actions on the web site trigger marketing messages or particular site displays, Earl says. For example, a merchant could create a rule that says every time a customer has looked at three or more pairs of running shoes on the site, the next time she visits the home page she will see a display for socks.

Users can drag and drop categories of data from Webtrends Streams and overlay them in Action Center’s web-based dashboard to create any kind of segments—perhaps customers in Germany adding Gibson guitars to their carts—around which to create actions. Action Center also allows a retailer to look back at how consumers interacted with its site, either individuals or groups of visitors, to identify where shoppers are held up or what a particular feature leads them to do next, the vendor says.

Action Center is part of Webtrends’ full platform of analytics tools, which costs $75,000, the company says. Retailers with other analytics tools in place can still use some of the Action Center features, starting at $25,000 with the least sophisticated tools like Google Analytics, Earl says. The price increases with the amount of data a retailer pushes into Action Center. Marketers need about 90 minutes of training to learn how to use all the tool’s features before they can start creating their own campaigns, the vendor says.

IBM Coremetrics, a competing analytics package, can similarly send out alerts in response to specific web activities like cart abandonments, but it lacks Webtrends’ easier-to-use and more flexible rules engine and its connection to the Streams live data dashboard, says Bill Gassman, an analyst at technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. “While use of event processing is not unique to sophisticated marketers, Webtrends makes it available to a wider audience, with a packaged product,” he says. “Webtrends partners, including e-mail providers Silverpop, ExactTarget and Responsys, make it easier to build a remarketing solution without expensive contractor or system integration fees.” 

Webtrends is No. 7 among web site analytics vendors in Internet Retailer’s Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 E-Retailers. IBM Coremetrics is No. 2.


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