E-Commerce & Analytics is Built by Idiots
The human being is fairly straightforward in thought process, as was seen by an incident outside my apartment the other day. I was driving a car with French number plates on it and at an awkward junction that is not clear to other drivers. The car behind me bearing Swiss plates from Neuchatel nearly hit me. As he drove on he shouted out of his open window - "You French a*****e, f**k off back to your country and learn to drive properly!"
I smiled ruefully at the Swiss gentleman's nationalistic observation. My point? The number plate of the car, for him, defined my nationality, as does the IP address on my computer for the WWW. Analytics thinks just like that because the human being, possibly from Neuchatel, programmed it in just the same way.
The geniuses amongst us have created many levels to the WWW. Some things are truly worldwide. i.e. I can visit a website in South Africa from my seat in Switzerland, and I can read an article or long story on any server almost anywhere in the world. I can follow links to webcams on Phi Phi Island to see the beach conditions and Skype call to my family in Australia. I can create an 'account' on almost any website WORLDWIDE (for analytics reasons they want all your details including where you live), and I can browse to my heart's content over this very clever system of communications. I then get bombarded with Ads for stuff I will never purchase or need again because I showed the modicum of interest. e.g. For a Gala event and so that I did not have to drive home in the early hours of the morning, I booked a local Hotel in Montreux, 1/2 and hour away. So what? Well, Booking.com now bombards me DAILY, with offers in Montreux - #analytics fail! And when it comes to BUYING something then the WWW takes on a whole new and very surreal dimension; analytics fails badly again. I am sure everyone has stories!
"My Computer OS is set to English, all software I download is the English version, as is all my writing over the WWW in English, I read 90% of English websites, but the 'WWW Analytics Beast' thinks German is my language because I reside in Switzerland."
Twitter is worldwide, and we all get to choose the language we want to use to communicate. I am an avid Twitter user and was recently invited by a 'connection' to join a book club as a reviewer. My first book offer was a crime novel with a cross-channel (UK-France) plot, and it interested me greatly as an ex-pat. I wrote to the author, which transferred an email to him from Switzerland to the UK. He responded with a link, which sent me to the Kindle - Amazon UK version. I have an Amazon UK account so duly logged in; however, it is for UK customers only, and it saw from my IP address that my Computer lives in Switzerland. No, go because Amazon for Switzerland defaults to Amazon.de (despite the common language of the Swiss being English due to the four languages they have in such a small country). So despite my attempts, the 'smarts' of the WWW always recognises that I am in Switzerland and will not let me purchase even the free version of the book from the UK.
"Shouldn't the SMART world of the WWW understand what my preferred language is and then accommodate my access to content accordingly, or is that too much to ask?"
I thought I would outsmart it and downloaded the 'Smart-Phone' Kindle App, surely there it would be universal. What was I thinking? No! It too recognised that I too was in Switzerland, of course, duh! I don't read German, cannot get through the 'pop-up' notices or menus to exit so have always to abort! I read in French and English! Hell's bells. I can purchase any physical book in a bookstore and have someone ship it to me from anywhere in the world, so why can I not have something delivered from a WWW site where I want to buy it (e-commerce), especially if it is not a physical product? It is an e-book for F sake and made of bits-n-bytes, which flow gracefully over IP connections? It's not as if I am going to buy millions of things from these foreign lands. Why am I physically yet electronically sent somewhere else because of an IP address? (Don't say payments, please ... PayPal and Credit Cards are not geo-blocked). It is just the odd purchase here and there. Physical goods I can understand that this may be a bit more complex due to shipping costs, but bits-n-bytes from a bloody server attached to the Internet - come-on-world!
"It is 2016, and we are still effing around with 'Geo-Blocking' and 'Customer Profiling', which shows that my Smart-Phone and Computer is mostly turned into a Dumb-Terminal when it comes to on-line purchases over the WWW."
All you ANALYTICS gurus have not tackled the WWW e-commerce aspect from the right end. It's about the system working for the CUSTOMER - To get ANALYTICS working correctly you need to re-design it all from the CUSTOMER out to the PRODUCTS, and only then you will see real access to what people want when they want, where they want. This re-design would change on-line retail management enormously.