Clickstream Analysis Digs Deeper

New tools are designed to help companies better understand customers.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

February 8, 2002

2 Min Read

Clickstream analysis: It's not just page hits anymore. Early versions of clickstream or Web data-analysis tools provided basic information, such as how many visitors a site had, how long they stayed, and what they looked at.

"That's not really useful information from a strategic point of view," says Manny Sodbinow, a Patricia Seybold Group senior analyst. But two new products aim to change that. This week, WebSideStory Inc. will unveil HitBox Enterprise 7.0, a new version of its hosted service for analyzing Web-site data. The service offers visitor-segmentation capabilities, letting business managers categorize site visitors by demographics, the content they view, the Web sites they come from, and other criteria. The service is available now starting at $1,500 per month for 2 million page views. And last week, NetIQ Corp. began shipping its WebTrends Intelligence Suite with new report-design capabilities and pre-designed tables for collecting data from customer-relationship management applications, such as Siebel Call Center. Pricing starts at $30,000. (See NetIQ Adds Report Design Tool To Web Analytics Software), an outdoor recreation equipment supplier in Heber City, Utah, uses WebSideStory's HitBox Enterprise and HitBox Commerce services, the latter to analyze online sales data. The tools help the retailer better understand who its customers are and what they buy, co-founder John Bresee says. "This data is invaluable to us," he says. The company redesigned its Web site when the tools discovered that 96% of its buying customers have PCs with 800-by-600 screen resolution or better.

Still, Web-analytical tools have a ways to go before they can help managers understand the "why" of customer behavior, Sodbinow says. Bresee has run into that problem: While browsers of the retailer's ski equipment frequently make a purchase, many snowboarders don't. "We're doing something wrong there," he says. "We don't know what it is yet, but at least we're aware of the problem."

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