If you run an ecommerce site, your analytics are the secret to finding out what your customers are up to, what they like and dislike, and why they are buying or not buying your products.
In a physical store, if someone does not like something, they will just tell you. You can pick up clues from how customers interact with you and your staff, and if there are any problems, you can resolve them immediately before the customers walk out.
Ecommerce is not so easy. If a visitor is unhappy, they’ll leave and click on the next website — and you’ll lose a customer, possibly forever.
Your analytics, therefore, are essential. They tell you how your customers are interacting with your store and show you where you can improve. As such, if you’re looking to redesign your site to increase sales and grow your business, understanding your analytics is key.
Data analysis is a deep and complex topic, but we’re going to keep things relatively simple in this piece. Let’s go through the metrics you should focus on during your site redesign to ensure you make the right decisions and take your business to the next level.
Quick Intro to Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce
Before we jump in, this guide assumes you are using Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce. This analytics platform collects a huge amount of data regarding store visitors that you can use to inform your redesign.
While setting up Enhanced Ecommerce for Google Analytics isn’t all that complex a task, it can be a little tricky if you’re not very familiar with technical matters, so talk to a web developer if you need some assistance.
1. Most Used Devices
The first thing you should find out is which devices your visitors are using to browse your website. It goes without saying that your site should be mobile-optimized, but which screen sizes are the most commonly used? You need to get that information because it can help you to prioritize your optimization efforts with the redesign.
In addition, find out which browsers are being used to generate the most conversions. If you find out that 90% of your conversions come from smartphones running Chrome, you can optimize the experience for that particular combination.
2. Traffic Sources
Where do your customers come from? This is one of the simplest things to find out in your analytics. Once you know how visitors are reaching your site, you can optimize for the most important channels in your redesign (taking into account which ones drive the most traffic and which ones drive the most conversions).
If lots of visitors are coming from social media but they don’t convert, try to find out why. If you only get a few visitors from search engines but they show high conversion rates, this might be an area you want to prioritize.
3. UX Metrics
This is a large area, and one you will want to look at closely. You might even need a specialist to help you. If you are using Google Analytics, you can use the Shopping Behavior Analysis Report (SBAR) — this will provide you with a wealth of information on how your customers are interacting with your website, including their shopping behavior, how they progress through your site, and the steps they take throughout their journeys.
Through identifying which pages have high abandonment rates and low average visit times, you can see which pages need significant improvements. The SBAR will show you the proportion of visitors moving on from any given step in the sales funnel to the next — if there is a noticeable drop-off at one stage, you’ll know that part needs to be given further thought.
You can also use heatmap tools to gather more information on individual pages. Tools like Crazy Egg can show you exactly what your visitors are doing on each page, providing you with data you can use to redesign them.
4. Checkout Funnel Metrics
The checkout process is a critical part of the sales journey, and the Checkout Behavior Report goes into some detail to show you what isn’t working. You can use it to determine exactly where prospective shoppers are leaving your checkout. It might be:
- When you present an unexpected shipping fee
- When you require credit card details to be entered
- When you require the creation of a user account
If you can see that most of your checkout is performing fairly well but one specific element is losing a lot of traffic, then you’ll have a clear route towards cost-effective improvement.
5. Slowly-Loading Pages
Pages that load slowly will almost certainly hurt your conversions. This is for two reasons: firstly, potential customers will get frustrated and leave if asked to wait, and secondly, slow pages are less likely to be visible in search.
Find out which pages are loading slowly, and why they’re not performing well. Is there an issue with your hosting? Have you failed to compress your images sufficiently? When your redesigned site launches, you’ll want all the important pages to load very quickly — compare the performance to that of some established ecommerce businesses to confirm that you achieve a competitive standard.
6. Internal Search Terms
If you have a search bar on your website, you should use data from this to find out exactly what people are searching for. People who use internal search functions are often looking for specific items, and thus more likely to convert if they find them.
The longer your search bar has been in operation, the more valuable its data will be. Take the time to cater to your redesigned site to meet user needs — if lots of visitors are searching for a particular category or product, for instance, make it a prominent option on the homepage to save them time.
7. Most Popular Content
Find out which pieces of content on your current site are performing well, considering factors like the numbers of visits received and the numbers of newsletter signups driven. Even if you think you already know which pieces are being effective, don’t make any assumptions. It’s perfectly possible for a popular post to prove very ineffective at driving conversions.
Using this information, create a content plan you can follow once you’ve launched your redesigned site. Though creating more of the content that’s doing well, and getting rid of the content that isn’t, you can get a fresh content start to compliment your fresh design start.
Keep on Testing
Once you’ve redesigned your site using your analytics data to guide you, don’t stop there. Make sure you continue looking closely at your analytics to see how everything is working. Keep testing new things and trying new approaches, and you’ll achieve strong incremental improvement that will keep you maximizing sales with your ecommerce site.
Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer who likes to take in-depth looks at sales funnels. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.