While Google Analytics 360 provides extensive reporting of historical website engagement and e-commerce activity, it lacks the ability to tell us what will happen in the near future. This lack of visibility is a pain point for e-commerce retailers who must anticipate revenue across campaigns as those campaigns are running. If retailers had predictions of the revenue that will be earned throughout the day, they could make changes to their marketing efforts in real time to help meet their sales targets.
In response to this need for a real time predictive tool, InfoTrust created a solution: The Real Time Prediction Dashboard.
The Problem: Lack of Predictive Data for Present Day
In our experience, e-commerce marketing teams often rely on their backend order management system for real time revenue data. These systems provide up-to-date information and may be able to generate sales projections but we’ve seen cases where not everyone who may need this important data has access to the backend management system. We’ve found that Google Analytics is typically easier to use and more widely available within the organization than the backend system.
Despite increased accessibility, Google Analytics may require several hours to process the data and display it in the reports, which prohibits the availability of important data in a timely manner. For Google Analytics 360 users, Google’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) guarantees that 98% of data will be available within four hours for sites that receive less than 2 billion hits per month. For standard Google Analytics users, sales data will be available within 24 hours.
Lack of access to real time data is a serious problem for e-commerce retailers when they have sales targets to reach for various promotions on important sales days, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On sales days like Cyber Monday, waiting four hours for data is four hours too long.
Luckily, InfoTrust has a solution and was able to provide this solution to La Senza during the busy season.
"InfoTrust agreed to develop a real-time revenue dashboard one week before Black Friday. They delivered the dashboard on time and provided new revenue visibility that proved critical over the holiday weekend."
Ryan Davis, AVP Ecommerce at La Senza
The Solution: Real Time Prediction Dashboard
InfoTrust’s Real Time Prediction Dashboard fulfills two purposes:
- It reports on actual revenue data more quickly than Google Analytics can. The tool updates every 15 minutes as opposed to the four hours of processing time needed by Google Analytics 360.
- A statistical model is custom fit to a brand’s data to predict future revenue. It leverages the data collected in real time to predict revenue for the remaining hours of the day.
The dashboard displays actual and predicted revenue for the current day and updates automatically every 15 minutes. It sums these values to display the actual and predicted end of day sales. The underlying statistical model is completely hands off and does not require any input from the user to tell it when a promotion is running. Instead, the model leverages the real time data and self-adjusts the predictions based on increases or decreases in sales volume.
Throughout the day, users can check the dashboard to understand if they are on track to meet sales goals. By having this important sales data in such a timely manner, e-commerce retailers can pivot in real time to quickly implement contingency plans if necessary - like scheduling another email blast or creating additional social media posts - to help reach their sales targets.
The data provided by the Real Time Prediction Dashboard is also a boon for clients who are exceeding their sales goals. By seeing this data earlier in the day, they can work with partners to ensure they meet the elevated demand and process orders in a timely manner.
In addition, the statistical techniques that InfoTrust has in place are not limited to overall revenue. We can build forecasts for most KPIs, including sessions, users, or revenue by channel or country.
Are you ready for your e-commerce sales data to forecast in real time? Contact your InfoTrust Consultant today to learn how we can build a Real Time Prediction Dashboard specific to your needs.