… and that can be deadly when you are running a business.

Watch this famous video to test your attention skills first:

Did you notice the Gorilla walking through? Lots of people didn’t — nearly 60% of the people who were shown this video were too busy counting the basketball passes to notice a gorilla walk past.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is life.

That amazing opportunity walks right past your business and you don’t notice it because you weren’t expecting it — just as you weren’t expecting a Gorilla.

It is hard to notice things that we are not expecting to see. This affects all of us everyday. Whether it is not being able to look at a problem a new way or not being able to spot new opportunities

When psychologists speak of “inattentional blindness,” they might as well be prefacing an article titled ‘Top Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make”.

“Inattentional blindness” refers to a phenomenon where despite not having any visual or attention related issues a person misses what is in front of them.

It is generally because their attention is so devoted to other activities that they miss out on other, often critical, information.

In a business, you could be so stretched out by the everyday logistical demands of running your store that you miss out on innovative ways to reach a new audience and generate more cashflow.
via Flickr

All businesses have the same problem but big companies have the advantage of being bigger — and getting to build teams to tackle such issues specifically. So they have data analytics, strategists, and even external consultants come in and help them spot opportunities and trends they might have missed otherwise.

The Difference between Slanket and Snuggies

Don’t you love the Slanket? No? Well, I guess you can’t love it if you haven’t heard of it. Slanket was the first commercial version of what is now more popular as Snuggies. Snuggies sold 20 million units within the first five years of launching and made over $500 million. How did they do what Slanket couldn’t?

Well firstly, Allstar Products Group (the company behind Snuggies) had no idea it was going to sell so well when they started off — it was one of over 80 products they tested via commercials that year. In fact, CEO Scott Boilen claims that Snuggies might not have made the cut if the budget was tight that year.

Test, test, test.

Secondly, they got to the right people, at the right time and in the right way. Allstar Products Group, the company behind Snuggies, went crazy with TV advertising but at late night. That time when people are most likely to be cuddled up in a blanket or huddled on a solitary sofa feeling vaguely cold and un-blanketed. The company also embraced all the silliness that is inherent in a blanket with arms. They didn’t try to make it seem vital or beautiful. They instead embraced the absurdity of the product, showing viewers a Snuggie-wearing family roasting marshmallows in their commercials.

According to the Scott Boilen, if they had insisted on taking themselves seriously, they might not have sold anything at all.

So the key ingredients that Allstar used to combat inattentional blindness was testing (lots of it using lots of $$$) and an understanding of their customers’ moods.

Big businesses like Allstar Products Group can afford to systematically sift through their whole catalog of things in order to find a hit. They are willing to spend the money to find, promote and track the results of over 80 different products and then go with the one that works.

Fortunately there are now hundreds of apps the help small businesses be as good big businesses (read more here and here). Combating inattentional blindness is no exception and it should ideally be the cornerstone of your analytics solution.

Analytics is so basic to any website or business now that people often forget how important it is. Unlike an online store owner whose attention is split between a dozen different tasks your analytics is constantly running, never diverted and most importantly, always objective.

A good analytics tool or setup (if you are using Google Analytics) ensures that you can afford to completely focus on store activities and trust your tool to tell you the key insights on your store.

A good analytics setup should enable you to surface out all the key data on your store. It’s not just about knowing your revenue and conversion rate. It’s about much more salient and easy-to-miss points than that.

  1. How much revenue did I not make today?
  2. Who are the people who abandoned products on my store?
  3. Which is my most profitable group of customers?
  4. What’s the most popular or viewed product on my store and who is viewing them?

Having easy access to this data at a glance can mean the difference between identifying opportunities and completely missing them. Being able to segment your customers into different demographic groups can give you the insights to decide who to focus your marketing efforts on. Knowing the top product being viewed means you know which product should be featured on your ads.

If you are a pro at Google Analytics then ensure the your dashboard widgets are set up to track all these key metrics. If you are looking for an out-of-the-box solution though, that provides not only aggregate metrics but also customer level data then check us out at Semantics3 Analytics.

Semantics3 Analytics is built to surface out key insights on ecommerce stores (we only support Shopify, for now). Install Semantics3 Analytics and check out the “invisible gorillas” on your store.

EDIT: Looking for Hits Analytics? That’s us! We are now Semantics3 Analytics — read the official announcement here.

Download our app or book a demo with me (Anjali).

Semantics3 Analytics is an ecommerce specific analytics tool developed by Semantics3, the company that operates the world’s largest eCommerce product database.

Built in Bangalore, Singapore and San Francisco by Anjali and the Semantics3 team