Using analytics to exceed your ecommerce goals
Analytics can be a very powerful addition to your tool kit. It is far more than just numbers and data, analytics tell the story of how users are interacting with your store. This is invaluable and gives you a level of insight that is not seen in traditional brick and mortar storefronts. Here is how you can get the most out of analytics.
Monitor valuable KPIs
Make sure that when you begin to use analytics on your website, you are paying attention to important and meaningful data. Since modern web analytics tools give you such a wide range of data, it is very easy to get lost in the noise. You can get around this is through selecting relevant key performance indicators (KPIs).
Here are a few KPIs that every ecommerce site should be monitoring:
- Site traffic — Knowing how many visitors your site is getting is key. In addition, it can also be valuable to track how many return visitors you are getting vs. the number of first time visitors.
- Conversion rate — This can mean different things depending on the type of website that you run, but for ecommerce storefronts, this is typically the number of people who make a purchase over the total number of visitors you have to your store.
- Shopping cart abandonment rate — This is the number of users who add a product to their shopping cart but do not complete the checkout process. Having a high shopping cart abandonment rate can mean there are problems with your checkout process.
- Bounce rate — This metric shows the percentage of people who leave your site after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate means that your homepage might not be relevant to what visitors are searching.
- Traffic sources — It is important to know how many visitors you are getting to your store, but it is equally important to understand where those visitors are coming from. Tracking this will help you make decisions regarding where you should focus advertising and promotional efforts.
I would personally recommend using google analytics to track this data. It is free and, in my opinion, the best analytics solution for small to medium ecommerce sites.
Use data collected from relevant KPIs to improve your website
Being able to collect all of this data and gain insight on your users is great, but it isn’t worth much if you can’t implement solutions. For example, let’s say you want to improve your conversion rate and you notice that you have a high shopping cart abandonment rate. This probably means that you need to improve the flow of your checkout process. There are multiple ways to do this, but I would recommend A|B testing different solutions to find what works best for your specific situation.
As an ending note, I would recommend exploring the field of user experience (UX). Understanding the principles of how users are interacting with your website is key and will help you implement solutions using the data you collect through analytics. For an awesome and very comprehensive guide on UX for ecommerce, check out this blog post.
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