E-commerce Link: Taming Web Analytics
Drilling down to find out what prompts visitors to open a cart is key. Site search, for example, prompts a high percentage of open carts (23 percent for online stores and 47 percent for catalogers, according to our Index), but many shoppers drop out before buying.
• Search-to-Cart. Studying search-to-cart statistics for specific search terms will show you where to focus merchandising.
• Product Page Visits to Carts. The ratio of product page visits to carts also shows if your pages have the “oomph” to drive conversions, or whether you need to revise the graphics or text, or give more prominence to your “add-to-cart” button.
• Checkout Abandonment. Cart open rate is an indicator of customer engagement, but to understand why shoppers complete a transaction, focus on the checkout abandonment rate—those customers who start the checkout process but never complete the order. Our study shows that, on average, about half of visitors abandon during checkout. If you start to see a high checkout abandonment rate, look for problems with your checkout process, such as forced registration, surprise shipping costs or just too many steps to complete the purchase.
As you can see, using analytics effectively doesn’t have to be overwhelming. All you have to do is distill your data and consider how to apply the findings in a practical way. Consider how analytic measurements reflect the level of visitor engagement.
So keep monitoring, testing and assessing, but always with an eye toward how you measure customer engagement. If you can use analytics to better understand the journey your customers make from when they enter the site to when they buy your products, you’ll be better able to remove any obstacles you see in their path.
Ken Burke is founder and CEO of MarketLive, an e-commerce technology services provider based in Petaluma, Calif. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.