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eDataSource Launches Ecommerce-Monitoring Service

3/20/12

By Ken Magill

Marketing-intelligence firm eDataSource announced today it has launched an ecommerce-monitoring service that offers insights into online sales trends at major retailers and subscription services.

eDataSource claims to have a panel of 800,000 people who have agreed to have their email inboxes monitored on an automated basis.

The company also claims to monitor the email and social media activity of more than 9,000 brands.

Historically, eDataSource has offered clients intelligence on their competitors’ email marketing activity and its effectiveness from an open-rate and corresponding-site-traffic perspective.

The company’s new ecommerce-monitoring service stems from analyzing panel members’ purchase-confirmation emails.

As a result, the company can determine, among other things, retailers’ average online order sizes.

“This gives clients deep insight into their competitors’ ecommerce capabilities,” said Carter Nicholas, CEO of eDataSource. “We can offer practical stuff like what’s the average order volume, what’s the number of items per order, and all that feeds back into how you design your site. Should you urge people to continue shopping? Or should you urge them to check out? That can affect items per order.

“With this data, you can benchmark against your competitors,” he said.

The service also can offer insight into competitors’ shipping-charge practices, said Nicholas.

“Shipping is a huge question in ecommerce,” he said. “Do you charge for it? If so, how much do you charge for it? Just knowing how many of your competitors’ customers opt for three-day, versus two-day versus overnight shipping can give you insight as to how you should operate.”

For example, he said, delving into Walmart’s ecommerce data revealed a significant percentage of customers choosing the ship-to-store option.

In developing the ecommerce monitoring service, eDataSource claims it analyzed 580,000 purchase and subscription confirmations over six months and determined the following:

Walmart.com's average order value excluding digital purchases is $124 and Amazon.com's is $49. For Walmart.com, the average order includes 2.3 items, compared to 1.5 items on Amazon.com. For competitors Gilt and Ideeli, the respective average order values are $123 and $98. For Staples and Office Depot, the respective average order values are $143 and $107.

One thing the company cannot determine with the new service is the sales activity generated by a specific email campaign.

“We don’t know where those purchase confirmations came from or if they came from a [specific] campaign,” said Nicholas.

In any case, at some point eDataSource plans to offer what Nicholas is currently calling “lifecycle analysis.”

“I’m calling it that now because I don’t have a better name for it,” he said. Lifecycle analysis would involve “being able to say: ‘Look, this person received email from six different apparel companies and if you send them email every day, they stop opening after a certain amount of time or they unsubscribe after a certain amount of time. And during that time they made this many purchases.’

“Being able to provide that feedback to ESPs and email marketers would be invaluable,” said Nicholas.

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