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Hot On The Trail

More and more online retailers are using a variety of tools to help them track their customers. Here's how you can, too.

Web-site statistics are no small matter to Diana and Gregg Shapiro, owners of All The Right Gifts Inc. (http://www.alltherightgifts.com) in Woodland Hills, California. The gift-selection company runs an online shopping directory to help customers find gifts quickly.

Without reliable site statistics, the couple wouldn't be able to track the site's 500 daily visitors, who peruse at affiliate sites (sites where All The Right Gifts gets a portion of any sales revenue generated from its referral) that sell gifts ranging from flowers and CDs to airline tickets. The data tells the couple which areas of the site visitors are viewing and which search engines were used to reach the site--essential elements for managing the online directory.

"The data helps us figure out which search engines are generating the best referrals and what keywords customers are keying in to find us," says Gregg. "Then we use this information to concentrate our marketing efforts in the best way possible."


Melissa Campanelli is a technology writer in Brooklyn, New York, who has covered technology for Mobile Computing & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management magazines. You can reach her at mcampanelli@earthlink.net..

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Melissa Campanelli is a technology writer in Brooklyn, New York, who has covered technology for Mobile Computing & Communications and Sales & Marketing Management magazines. You can reach her at mcampanelli@earthlink.net.

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This article was originally published in the August 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hot On The Trail.

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