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December 4, 2014

eCommerce: Metrics That Matter

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There is no denying that eCommerce sites are here to stay and are making a huge impact on the business environment the world over. According to research published by Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), a U.K. online retail trade organization, global eCommerce sales will top $1.5 trillion in this year. If this statistic is to be believed, we are only heading to a future where eCommerce business models will replace brick and mortar stores. So far, eCommerce stores haven’t been able to do so completely. It is true that they have impacted the global economy, but to say that every user visiting an eCommerce site buys something from the site would be wrong.

If you are planning to set up an eCommerce site or you are already running one, understanding consumer behavior is very important. Consumer behavior can be understood only by studying site metrics. For any eCommerce vendor, the first six months are crucial and metrics must be tracked to determine how the website is doing. Metrics are the numbers or the figures that indicate user behavior. There are several things that can be determined by studying metrics such as:

  • If users are just visiting your site to check products, or
  • They are actually buying directly from the site,
  • Are they checking out products on your site and going to the nearest dealer selling your brand (this still serves the utility of the sites), or
  • Are they are simply one-time visitors who do not come back or contribute to the sales or traffic of your site in any way.

Before we understand the different metrics to be considered for eCommerce sites, it is important to realize that each site will have a different metric. There cannot be a standard metric for all kinds of sites. If you have a Web as well as a physical presence and have customers who browse on the site and buy from your physical store, you should be happy. On the other hand, if you have huge traffic coming into your site but your traffic isn’t converting into sales, then you need to concentrate on checking on the conversion rate.

Traffic – A Check on Returning and New Traffic

Huge traffic may not always mean good news. Why? You may find several people are visiting your site but are not adding to your percentage of sales. But that doesn’t mean you do not encourage more traffic to your site. Even if 10 percent of the traffic gets converted into sales, you have something to be happy about. Paid search, affiliate programs and online ads are no doubt helpful in generating traffic. Your first objective should be to obtain a customer profile and then continuously keep track of it.

For an eCommercesite to be successful, you will need to attract new visitors among other things. You can do so using Google Analytics. Google Analytics will help you check the total number of new visitors, returning visitors, unique visitors, page views bounce rate, average visit duration, pages per visit etc.

Rate of Conversion – Is the Traffic Converting Into Sales

Another metric to be considered is the rate of conversion. As already mentioned, huge traffic isn’t everything. Positive conversion rate is equally important. The conversion metrics should be able to show how many visitors are converting into buyers. You have to keep in mind that conversion rate will be largely vertical for different kinds of items and sites. If you sell luxury products, the conversion rate would be minimal while on the other hand if you are selling FMCG products, the conversion rate should increase.

Reading this, if you are asking yourself “how do I calculate conversion rate,” you should already there is not any fixed figure. However, on principle, the conversion rate is measured by dividing the number of successful actions on the site by the total traffic to the site. But even this theoretical principle cannot give you a specific number every time. There are definitely certain things that will help increase the conversion rate. Some of them are – quality of the product, strategic pricing of products, promotion undertaken by your site, secure features that assure buyers etc. You can check http://index.fireclick.com/ to understand how conversion rates are studied.

Some Other Metrics Worth Paying Attention To

  • On-Site Search – An area that often gets neglected is on-site search. On-site search can be a good place to study how users attempt to improve their experience on the site and how well they are using the search button on the site.
  • Exit Pages – If you have designed an attractive and informative website only to fall short on the exit page, your conversion rate will drastically fall. The reason is simple – if buyers do not find product information, company details or security assurance on payment gateways, they will not buy from your site.
  • Content – It can be said without doubt that content is of utmost importance for an eCommerce site. Good content increases the page value and, thus, the conversion rate while unprofessional content does just the opposite.

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This guest post contributed by Kristin Wilston, a content developer and online marketing specialist with years of experience in content development and marketing. She works with SoftwareCoupons.co, a company that offers the best software deals, software discount coupons and much more.

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