Blowing E-commerce Customers Away with Real-Time Customer Analytics

The following post was written by Ken Daniels, ecommerce expert with 7 years as Head of Marketing & Strategy at a multi-national ecommerce agency and owner of The Beauty Lounge and eCommerce Action.

If there’s one tool I can’t live without, it’s real-time customer analytics from Woopra. I even have a dedicated monitor on the wall that shows my Woopra dashboard at all times.

It’s a mixture of exciting and insightful to watch Woopra dance and pulse as customers and prospective customers alike engage on my website. It’s a reminder that there are actual, real people using my site, not just a collection of anonymous data.

I believe it’s one of the key ingredients to the success of my ecommerce company, and I’m going to show you exactly how we use it so you can borrow my ideas and reap the rewards.

“Wowing” Customers with Attentive Service

Seeing customers interact with our website in real-time allows us to be more attentive to their needs. A couple examples of what Woopra allows us to do:

Prepare for inquiries from customers
Knowing when a customer is about to inquire allows us to review their browsing history to identify what they may be inquiring about or where they may have had problems.

Follow up with customers who abandon carts
Instead of relying on an abandoned cart reminder system, we follow up with all abandoned carts by hand. More on this process a little later on in this article.

“Wowing” customers primarily comes down to being attentive. Understanding what they want – possibly before they even realize themselves – and being able to take problems away in an effortless manner is one of the pillars of amazing customer service.

Real time customer analytics provides the base for that pillar.

My Woopra Setup

Two of the most important features we use are Labels and Notifications, which is where Woopra really stands out from other analytics offerings. Let me explain.


Labels are a way of categorizing your visitors based on a combination of their actions, habits and history.

Below is a screenshot of the Labels we’re currently using for The Beauty Lounge. All of these Labels are based on critical or influential aspects of the buying process.

This screenshot shows around half a day of activity on a relatively slow day for us (Saturday).

Let’s take a look at each Label:

The checkout Label tells us how many people are currently in or have been in the checkout. Ideally I want this number to match the “Purchased” Label as that tells us that the checkout funnel doesn’t have any leaks.

In this case it’s 100% which is rare, but it’s usually relatively high at around 75-85%.

This Label measures a completed purchase. If this number is the same as the checkout Label, I’m happy, but it’s usually a bit lower than 100% which is still OK. Not much to say about this Label really, it’s pretty cut-and-dry – this Label is the ultimate goal.

Because The Beauty Lounge offers services as well, we take bookings online via a simple booking form. I like to measure the number of bookings as it is another solid revenue source from the website.

This Label measures the number of people who are in or have been to the shopping cart. I like to measure the shopping cart as it is a major stepping stone between browsing and buying.

It generally shows a sign of commitment that the customer is a late stage buyer and they’re ready or very close to being ready to purchase.

In the example above, the number of people who viewed the cart matches both the Checkout and Purchased Labels.

This is not usually the case, with the Cart to Purchased ratios typically being closer to 35%.

Order Problem
Strangely, I love this Label. It tells us when someone has had trouble with their order, most likely because their credit card was declined.

We can usually quickly define the problem and offer a solution to the customer, either by way of initiating a Live Chat session if the customer is still on the site, or via an email. This allows me to recover carts within 10-15 minutes of the customer experiencing a problem.

Why don’t I just use an automated abandoned cart system? Easy answer – personalization. We can tailor the message perfectly by dropping in the customer’s name, what they were trying to buy, the method of payment and the precise reason their credit card was declined.

My cart recovery success rate sits at around 80% using this method.


Ah Notifications, how I love thee.

I still bristle with excitement every time I get a Notification telling me “Visitor 18569 is checking out!”. I loved them when we were doing just 3 or 4 sales a week and I love them just as much now that we’re doing a lot more than that.

We periodically set up Notifications for important events and monitoring such as:

VIP Customers
Sometimes we’ll track a particular customer – maybe they’re a VIP and/or big spender. We set up a Notification so that when they arrive we can man the battle stations to do everything we can to ensure their visit goes smoothly and have the Live Chat service on standby.

New Product Launch
If we’re launching a new product, brand or category, I like to setup a Notification so we know when it is being viewed. We’ll do this to measure the engagement with the page, analyze what paths visitors take after they land, whether they turn to site search or whether they convert.

Suspicious or Unusual Behavior
If we notice suspicious or out of the ordinary browsing behavior, we might tag a specific visitor to see how they’re interacting with the site and why it’s so unusual.

The few times we’ve done it have all turned out to be above-board, but have led to interesting discoveries about buying patterns. One visitor visited the website 38 times over 24 days and spent 10 hours browsing through products before finally purchasing.

That same customer is now in our Top 20 customers of all time based on revenue. What it told us was that more information and guidance was needed for the particular category they were browsing, which we implemented in the following weeks.

Alarm Bells (The Good Kind)

The “Visitor 18569 is checking out!” Notification is like an alarm bell. It puts us on high alert, ready to monitor the customer through their checkout process. We’re like a guide overseeing their journey, yet the customer never knows we’re there. Unless they hit a snag.

95% of the time the customer is fine, navigating their way through the checkout process and coming out the other end with the satisfaction of having placed an order without any hassle. It won’t be long before their order is packed up and ready for shipping.

For the minority of customers who do have issues – maybe they’re having problems with their credit card or just not confident in checking out – we’ll be ready on the phone, Live Chat or email to answer their cry for help.

On our end the manual order screen will be ready to go, halfway through processing the order they were trying to place based on the items we suspected they are wanting to purchase because of their activity we monitored in Woopra.

Customers in trouble give pretty tell-tale signs of distress. In-and-out of the shopping cart and checkout. Revisiting a particular product page every 2 minutes. Frequent visits to the contact us page. Unusual behavior like this is normally a dead giveaway that an SOS message will be on its way shortly.

Overall Business Impact

Woopra has had a profound impact on my business. I won’t put a figure on exactly how much it has improved conversion rates or how much revenue it’s generated because for me it’s not just about that.

It’s about the indirect results of better customer service and getting a better feel for my customers and how they interact with my website that has given me the biggest benefits.

Woopra makes me feel like the general manager of a physical store, sitting high up in an office, peering out the window observing my customers. I get an instant feel for how busy we are, analyze customers’ buying behaviors and am one step ahead of the curve when it comes to customer service.

My finger is well and truly on the pulse.

About the Author: Ken Daniels left his 7 year tenure as Head of Marketing & Strategy at a multi-national ecommerce agency to focus on growing his own ecommerce business. The Beauty Lounge website is the online retail division of a service-based beauty therapy company. You can find more insights from Ken on eCommerce Action which provides actionable insights for your ecommerce business. Follow Ken and eCommerce Action @ecommerceaction.

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