3 Beginner Tools to Understand Customer Data

It’s hard to believe that in 2017, there are industries in which customer data isn’t valued at its true worth. The good news is things are changing. According to Forbes, 60% of business owners believe in the revenue power of data within their companies. And 83% feel that data increases profitability among existing products or services.

It’s hard to believe that in 2017, there are industries in which customer data isn’t valued at its true worth. The good news is things are changing. According to Forbes, 60% of business owners believe in the revenue power of data within their companies. And 83% feel that data increases profitability among existing products or services. Even so, some industries out there still lack severely in the customer service sector. Government offices, Healthcare, Airlines, Retail, to name a few. The full list and percentages are available in this infographic by Statista.

Customer support Customer data is crucial to your sales and marketing strategy if you want to:

  1. Understand what your customers need before you upgrade your products and services;
  2. Develop loyalty programs for your buyers;
  3. Apply design thinking principles (innovation) in your line of work;
  4. Attract a new audience and diversify your clientele;
  5. Be one step ahead of your competitors. And more…

Working with customer data isn’t easy especially if you are a beginner in the field of analytics. Or a content marketer with little knowledge in working with stats. But with these 3 beginner tools, no customer data will be left behind.

SEO Tools for Excel

Let’s start with the basics. Before you consider customer data and the sales process, you need to understand what is happening with your website behind the scenes. How people find your website. Who mentioned your website/product/service. Links. And ranking performance. I’m sorry to remind you again, but search engine still matters, and I don’t know of a business who isn’t peeking at competition every now and then.

If you want to discover the current Google cache for a web page, that’s easily manageable by typing “cache:www.websitename.com” into your web browser. But for multiple pages or the entire website, this is time-consuming. Imagine if each product has a dedicated page, and you have about 1,000 products displayed. Not cool, right?

That’s why the Excel SEO tool is useful because it allows users to simply apply a formula to return the data (in this case, the formula is =GoogleCacheData(“URL_TO_CHECK”). There is a basic option (ad supported, free, but with reduced functionality) and a pro version (where you can connect your other accounts, such as Moz, Ahrefs, GA, SEMRush, Majestic), which pulls data directly into Excel, without having to manually transfer it. This guide explains all about the uses of Excel in SEO and marketing, so you might want to check that out. Meanwhile, I have requested permission from AcuityTraining to use some of their screenshots to showcase the tool’s functionality.

Installation Tips and Examples How to Use the Tool

Installation is simple: Go to the SEO Tools for Excel website, and simply download it. This only works for Windows users, and you will need to check compatibility of Office version with Windows version (32 versus 64 bit).

Excel SEO

Here are a few formulas you can use to speed up your analysis. There is a series of string tools that help with text variables (in case you didn’t know, more advanced tools as SPSS, for e.g., do not run an analysis on a string variable, so you must compute the variable from a string into numeric. Which takes up time and energy). But SEO tools in Excel is friendlier with beginners.

To remove spaces from the text, use the “=Normalize()” function. To remove blank spaces in a string variable, use “=StripWhitespace()”.

SEO Excel tool

You can also use the tool for spidering and pull current data for multiple pages. The Spider icon in the upper left will generate a dialogue box that needs to be filled in every section. Add a report name of your choice. Specify the website to crawl, and level of crawling required. Specify data required per page. Highlight the options (you can choose up to 51) in the left-side column. Click Add. Data will be generated in the right-side column.

SEO Excel tool

Clicking Generate will display a table with multiple columns, such as URL, GoogleCacheData, and LinkCount. Or any other metrics of your choice (based on your previous selection from the left column options).

SEO Excel tool

Web stats are a great way to understand what is happening behind the scenes on your page/website. If you have this figure out, it’s time to proceed to the next level: customer specs.

Website Call Conversion Tool

Conversion testing is nothing new. Almost anyone is familiar with A/B testing of channels, for e.g., to see which one drives more traffic, leads, sales. This Hubspot article shows how inbound marketing and sales combine one another.

Recently, more attention has been paid to custom web data reports that showcase what the customer journey is, and how their interaction with your service or product impacts the decision-making process. Call conversion is linked to both customer journey and conversion testing. If you think this isn’t an important subject, think again, as Google Analytics has been allowing phone call tracking since 2016, with phone calls being a marketing channel. Users can simply add the GA code to their websites, and either setup Events and Goals (free option) or opt for an integration software (paid) to track phone calls.

Using Nextiva Analytics: Short Guide

Nextiva is a call conversion software (premium), which offers around 225 report combinations to analyze real-time data and historical data using graphs and tables. Below, you can see an example of Summary for Calls (Total Count, Count by Day, Hourly Average).

Nextiva key features

Besides summary reports and other technical features, call group reports are also available. This how a call group report looks like with graphs (right) showcasing call channels, and scatter-plots (left), displaying count by day.

Nextiva call group

For e.g., if you want to analyze the target group “company employees” with a final objective of understanding the business needs, you can create a custom report and dashboard. An example of the custom dashboard is listed below. This type of report allows you to compare users, sales numbers, call duration, and clusters (i.e. Summer sale promotion team; Sales team; Mike’s calls, Support team).

Nextiva custom dashboard

Operating with agile decision-making processes, the wallboard feature enables transparency and displays critical information. Here’s how a critical process map looks like, detailing all types of calls, duration, and number for each section. I.e. 4,608 dials under Unique calls, 726minutes for International Talks etc.

Nextiva wallboards

The tool itself is easy to handle, and user-friendly. They have a resource center on their YouTube channel, with video guides for Beginners, worth checking out.

Pivot Tables: Sales, Buyer Behavior, and More

For a tool that has been around since before Moses ( the first version of Excel for the Macintosh was launched in September 1985, and first Microsoft version 2.05, in November 1987), you would expect everyone to be an expert at it. For the ‘80s version, probably everybody is. Microsoft developed their Office suite to address its other market segment: businesses. If you’re just starting with customer data, Excel is an excellent tool for beginners.

The simplest, yet useful and powerful feature is Excel pivot tables, which are used to summarize, analyze, explore and present the data through graphs and charts. You can find out how your services and products are performing in an industry, region, segment, by simply grouping the data into designated columns for each variable (i.e. variable “Services”, “Industry”, “Purchases”) and performing the analysis.

Types of Action in Pivot Tables

  1. Summarize your data by finding the average (mean) value of a specific metric/variable. e. Purchases are done per region, per industry, for each product.
  2. Organize the columns of a table. Structure them based on metric/variable/action performed by the customer.
  3. List unique values. You can work here with “outliers” (min and max values, which are outside the mean; call them “particular cases”. For e.g., a customer purchasing your Christmas products in Summer/Fall is natural. But a customer purchasing Christmas gifts in April is peculiar.)
  4. Create dynamic pivot charts and reports that show custom forms and subtotal values. Instead of having a report/graph generated for each segment, you can combine segments, and check for a particular result or for general outcomes.
  5. Filter, sort, and structure your data without formulas or macros. You probably don’t know this, but the main disadvantage of formulas is that you need to carefully follow each function and element/item of the formula. Otherwise, the formula will either not work at all generating error reports, or work in a way, but generate a fake report and false findings. These numbers will affect business decisions. And this isn’t something anyone wants.
  6. Link data sources that are outside Excel and generate pivot reports for this type of data. Think of data such as Google Analytics, tracking stats in email campaigns, surveys, social media data that can be linked to, analyzed, and reported.
  7. Transposition of data from rows to columns and vice versa.

Data sources you can use for a Pivot analysis include GA, Bing, Yandex, surveys, email campaign tracker data, SQL data (website data), external or in-house social media analytics tools, APIs, Internet marketing tools (Moz, Majestic, SEMRush etc).

Example: Customer Devices Pivot Analysis

Let’s say you are interested in finding out if your website should have a mobile-ready version, or it’s enough to have a mobile-responsive theme. You can extract the data from the past year (53 weeks) or from the last 6 months (26 weeks). For this example, I will work with data from the past year, that showcases traffic metrics which came from “All Users” compared to “Mobile Users”.

The steps are: Import Data from GA >> Organize Data in Columns and Rows >> Run Pivot Tables >> Generate Pivot Chart.

SERPiflied pivot table

Based on the results in the pivot table, I see that a third of my customers use a mobile device. I can expect the number to grow in the following year, although I would need to run a predictive analysis to confirm my statement.

However, this pivot chart result is enough, at this point, to convince me to invest is a mobile version of the website, so that my customers can enjoy a fully mobile experience.

More information about pivot tables and user experience is available here.


Remember: customer data is crucial to your sales and marketing strategy. Before understanding your customers’ needs, you need to understand what is happening with the main sales channels. In this case, your web properties and how they rank in the SERPs. For that purpose, the SEO tool for Excel will generate enough valid reports to help you plan your marketing strategy better.

Then, the customer journey and the customer experience are two defining factors in achieving success with your online business. Almost all major e-commerce websites offer call or chat support. Call support helps with conversions. Nextiva has a series of YouTube videos for beginners, explaining how to use the tool and how to get the best out of your reports.

Ultimately, Pivot tables will reveal in a simple, fast, accurate way if it’s worth investing in a mobile-only version for your website. And not only that. Go beyond my example and discover the relationship between sales, purchases, revenue, and trends.

Grab the business insights you need. Data can be turned into calls to action and used for competitive advantages, long-term goals, predictions of future user behavior, success rate analysis, and KPI restructuration. And revisit these examples any time you need.

Wikileaks Paypal Funds Released – Account Still Restricted

Paypal has been facing the brunt of the Anon after the company admitted to being browbeaten by the American government to block funds to Wikileaks. The company website has been facing extreme DDoS attacks from the Anonymous group called ‘Operation Payback‘. While http://paypal.com looks down still, www.paypal.com appears to have recovered at the time of writing this post.

Perhaps in a bid to pacify the attackers, Paypal has announced that the company has decided to release the funds it had accrued through donations made to Wikileaks from donors from across the world. However, this does not mean Wikileaks’ supporters can use the channel to make their donations once again. The group’s account remains restricted which means it will not be able to gather more funds.

Paypal has however noted that the government had no say in its actions and it was their management’s decision.

Retail eCommerce Spending In USA

How much spending goes online when you take away the travel bookings part? According to a study conducted by Comscore, the growth of retail eCommerce spending that excludes travel-bookings has been slowing down over the years. This is how the growth has been – In the second quarter of 2007, retail eCommerce grew 23% year-over-year. […]

How much spending goes online when you take away the travel bookings part? According to a study conducted by Comscore, the growth of retail eCommerce spending that excludes travel-bookings has been slowing down over the years. This is how the growth has been – In the second quarter of 2007, retail eCommerce grew 23% year-over-year. This number came down to 13% by Q2 2008. Thanks to recession, there was a fall in the spending numbers in 2009 with Q2 of that year registering a fall of 1% YoY. Now, finally, there has been growth in retail ecommerce spending this year. However, the growth percentage is not as splendid as it once was at 9%.

Here is the retail eCommerce spending in absolute value over the past few years.

Q2 2007 : $27.97 billion
Q2 2008 : $30.58 billion
Q2 2009 : $30.17 billion
Q2 2010 : $32.94 billion

Android Apps Purchase Using Paypal Could Be Coming Soon

eBay and Google are reported to be in talks over a possible integration of the Android app marketplace with Paypal’s payment processing system. The rumor, which both companies have not confirmed so far, will allow Android phone users to make app purchases using Paypal. At present, this is only possible over a credit card or Google’s payment processing system – Google Checkout.

Paypal is one of the leading online payment gateway systems that is however often criticized for its extraordinarily high charges on transaction fee. While many users would any day prefer a Paypal payment over possible direct credit card checkout (which can lead to possible wireless thefts), it is not clear how customers will view Paypal vis-a-vis Checkout in a Google-controlled environment. Also, it is not clear if Google stands to make a commission on every transaction made via Paypal over the Android marketplace.

Google Newspass Micropayment System To Launch By Year-End

Google is learned to be in talks with select content publishers over the launch of a new micropayment system called Google Newspass that will enable a one-click login system for search engine visitors to pay and access content from these publishers.

The Google Newspass system is said to be on the same lines as Facebook Credits which allows a one-click login system for social gaming. However, Google’s solution is said to be focused at media houses who have, for long, complained that their revenues from the online segment has been abysmal while third party referrers like Google have been “scraping” content off their websites to make money.

The new system is expected to offer a Google-Checkout based micropayment system that will appear beside the search engine results from these partner publishers. Publishers may choose to either allow access to content via a micropayment system or offer subscriptions.

Quite expectedly, Google has not confirmed these rumors though an Italian newspaper has revealed that the system can go live internationally by the end of this year.

[via PaidContent]

KonaKart v5.0 Adds Support For Reward Points And Recurring Billing

DS Data Systems, the UK based developers of the KonaKart shopping cart software has announced the launch of the new version 5 of their ecommerce platform. The new version has added several new functionalities – most notably a reward point structure for customers to earn and redeem. Also, the new software will allow merchants to set up a recurring billing functionality that may be used by retailers offering subscription based services.

KonaKart is a Java/JSP/XML based solution that uses Java APIs to allow merchants to integrate their websites with the ecommerce platform. The service is available for free as a community edition though premium features are available at a price.

Bing Cashback To Be Replaced By Amazon Shopping?

Microsoft had recently announced that the company shall be wrapping up its Bing Cashback program come July 30 this year. The Cashback program incentivized Bing users for shopping at the site by offering cash rewards. With Bing closing down its shopping site, rumors are now doing the rounds that Bing may soon outsource its shopping link to Amazon.

Ever since the announcement of Bing Cashback hit the news, we have heard that Amazon has been aggressively pursuing Microsoft to outsource the shopping tab to Amazon and in return earn a commission on sales carried out through their referrals.

Talks are said to be in early stages and there is no way to confirm the speculations. Nevertheless, this appears to be not just a logical step, but also a masterful one at that, given that Google has been slowly building its relationship with retailers and subsequently their ecommerce function. We had reported recently that Google is testing a CPA ad model with select retailers that will allow advertisers to pay for select action and not just an ad-click.

The ecommerce scene is beginning to heat up once again. It’s sad however that eBay continues to be elusive in the headlines.

[via Business Insider]

Paypal Grows Ten-Fold In Australia

eBay’s online transaction service provider, Paypal has announced that the company’s growth has been on the up, down under. In a recent statement, the company has announced a ten-fold growth in the Australian market with close to 50% of Australia top 100 online retailers now using the Paypal platform as a payment option on the website.

Paypal has not revealed the time-frame for which the growth was measured. However, the company says that the terrific growth in the region will bring a new head for the Australia Merchant Services Division. Elena Wise, who previously served at American Express as the vice president of B2B will now be taking over as the head of merchant services division.

Paypal is noted to have over 30,000 online merchants from the market who serve over 3 million customers.

[via ITWire]

Zara Online Clothing Store To Launch In September

Zara, the popular fashion retailer has announced that the company will take the online route to increase sales with the launch of an online store later this year. The new ecommerce store is expected to be available in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. The launch is expected around September 2.

Zara has had a fruitful few months in the recent past with sales soaring to €2,665 million in the first quarter of 2010. The launch of an online store also comes at a time when the UK clothing industry is touted to have breached £4 billion a month.

The online store will help improve the logistics of the company by making the brand available even in those parts of the country where Zara does not have a physical presence.

[via QuestSearch]

TechWave Launches Free Shopping Cart And Multiple Payments

E-Commerce solutions provider, TechWave has announced that their system has now been integrated with SugarCRM. The new CRM integration will offer TechWave clients a free shopping cart apart from multiple methods of payment including Google checkout, Paypal. Other features in the CRM will include a tax calculator, currency converter, etc.”

SugarCRM is an open source customer relationship management application that was launched in 2004 and has since then grown to become one of the hugely popular CRM software for businesses. SugarCRM has been downloaded over 7 million times and is one of the most popular applications on SourceForge.