So, you have an ecommerce site. That’s good. But do you know how effective it is? Any idea of what your customers think of your online shopping experience? By considering some key areas of your ecommerce site, you could easily take the site from good to great. Here are five areas to audit as you consider ecommerce site performance:
Review your on-page search engine optimization (SEO). Every one of your public-facing pages should be optimized to ensure the best possible placement within the search engines. Truthfully, even your secure pages should be treated to the same optimization steps because what is good for a search engine crawler is also good for your customers. (Need more information? Check out this article on how to improve your site’s SEO or this article that looks at whether SEO matters for your B2B ecommerce site. Hint: It does.)
Count conversions, not clicks. Everyone loves to see traffic pouring into their website but lots of traffic doesn’t mean a thing if those visitors aren’t buying. What is your conversion rate when you consider unique visitors versus total completed transactions?
Scrutinize calls to action. Is it clear what you want your site visitors to do? If your ecommerce conversion rate (a.k.a. sales number) isn’t as high as you might like, the first thing you should consider is how your site utilizes calls to action. A call to action is just that—asking your visitor to take the next step with you. Most often in ecommerce that means adding an item to the cart and then, hopefully, buying that item (also known as a “conversion”), but sometimes a call to action might encourage a non-sales related sort of behavior. For example, in the Frequently Asked Questions section of your ecommerce site, the call to action may be the invitation to download a user guide or to view a product video. Whatever the desired outcome, a call to action should begin with an active verb (e.g. “Add to cart”, “Continue shopping”, “Watch the video”) and should lead the visitor to the next step in the sales process.
Check Google Analytics. You can learn a ton by spending some time with your Google Analytics dashboard. How are site visitors getting to your site? How long does the average visitor spend checking out your pages? Which pages are the most popular? Is there a page where most visitors bail out? If so, make sure that you review those pages and determine what is causing it. (You’re using Google Analytics, aren’t you? If not, check out this free analytics service from the company that sets the search engine results standards.)
Consider cart abandonment. Do your visitors bail out during the checkout process? If your Google Analytics reports show that visitors head to another site somewhere during your check out process or that they put items in their cart and then disappear, it’s time to seriously reconsider your checkout process. Are you showing your shipping costs too late in the buying process on big items, hitting visitors with sticker shock at the end of checkout? Are there too many pages in the checkout process, effectively overwhelming your shopper? Is the checkout process getting hung up somewhere, forcing visitors to leave the site in order to regain control of their browser? High cart abandonment rates can be clear indicators of where your ecommerce site can improve. Learn more about why shoppers abandon carts and what you can do about it.
To learn more about how to set up your ecommerce site for success, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.