One thing that drives the people who manage e-commerce sites crazy is spending an inordinate amount of money driving people to their sites, only to find they don't buy anything there. And they're not sure why these people left their site. Were they the wrong types of people being pulled into the site by a misguided search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, or is there something fundamentally amiss about the price of the goods on the site?
Usually, the people who run the e-commerce site default to cutting prices in the absence of any other information. That might work in terms of driving a sale, but it can have a dramatic impact on profits. Before resorting to a "drop your pants" price strategy, the people who run e-commerce sites would be better off if they could tune their offers based on real-time information about the person visiting their site.
This is precisely what a new conversion marketing service from a startup company called Runa purports to do. In real time, the service will first establish what is known about a particular customer by sifting through internal sources of data such as Omniture. Then it will reach out to public sources such as AdSense and other sources of click-stream data, then correlate that information to help the owner of the e-commerce site develop a more effective conversion strategy.
That may sound too good to be true, but Runa is willing to puts its money where its service is. The company, after establishing an initial baseline, only gets paid based on a percentage of the increased number of clicks on the e-commerce site that are converted into sales.
As a service, Runa is also relatively easy enough to set up to have a material impact this holiday season. There are plenty of e-commerce sites out there that have nothing to lose -- and possibly a lot to gain by trying a more analytic approach to real-time e-commerce that promises to allow them to keep their profits up, but their pants as well.