How to drive more sales by tuning the performance of your online channel
Do you ever wonder if your eCommerce site is living up to its revenue potential? The average industry conversion rate from new visitors to customers is about 2%, with best-in-class performance conversion rates of 5% or more. But what performance level should you expect from your site?
Chances are that you have lots of performance data at your fingertips – from web analytics, to campaign metrics, to shopping cart statistics – but little actual insight on the biggest gaps and opportunities. And this makes it tough to manage your site for improved revenue and ROI.
If you are a manager of an eCommerce website and have these issues, you’re not alone. In our experience, most eCommerce managers see their website as a big “Black Box”.
Here’s a two-step process we use to help our clients gain insight and control of their eCommerce engine:
Diagnosing the Customer Journey
Before we dig deep into the data, we need to take a qualitative look at your customer’s journey. How easy is it for your customers to successfully complete the entire buying journey – from end to end?
This includes ensuring that your eCommerce website is:
- Easy to Find: Is it easy for prospects to find your website through SEO, Advertising, and Social Media Referrals?
- Easy to Engage: Is it easy for prospects/customers to find and become engaged with relevant, value-added content.
- Easy to Trust: Does you site display the trust factors to help him/her overcome this substantial online hurdle? Keep in mind that Canadians are generally untrusting, especially when dealing with unknown brands and pure clicks businesses.
- Easy to Buy (& re-Buy): How easy is it for prospects to go through the transaction process, and for customers to complete repeat purchases?
- Easy to Evangelize: Do you pro-actively help your customers evangelize your company, products, and services?
The best way to analyze the customer journey is by creating a Customer Experience Map, detailing the steps of the typical buying journey, and qualitatively rating the positive or negative experience associated with each step. This will quickly identify some big gaps and opportunities, and create a powerful visual tool to focus and rally the internal team.
Words of caution: to make sure the results are objective, get a heuristic expert from outside the organization to map the user journey. If possible, support those findings with actual user testing.
Measuring the Opportunity and tuning the Conversions
Now comes the quantitative part. To quantify the opportunities and gaps in the Customer Experience Map above, you need to measure and map the conversion ratios along the entire buying cycle. At every step along this conversion path there is the possibility that your prospective customer will abandon the sales process. Every distraction or roadblock that you clear from the path increases the probability that your prospect will complete the sales process.
By measuring conversion performance at each step along the way, you can focus your energies on addressing the issues that have the greatest impact on your overall throughput.
To capture the conversion path you can use a variety of tools, such as Google Analytics with eCommerce tracking enabled and with Goals and Funnels set up. There are some great diagnostic tools available to allow you to look “under the hood”, and we’ll summarize some of the best in an upcoming post.
Why are the numbers important?
With numbers in place, it should be easy to calculate the revenue and ROI impact of fixing a major problem in the customer experience. For example, improving conversions along the customer journey, by 8% here and 14% there, will have a corresponding direct impact on your bottom line. Doubling or even tripling your eCommerce sales are not unrealistic.
These internal conversions also double as excellent KPI (Key Performance Indicators) to rally and manage your team, and continue to drive bottom line improvement.
How to find the right eCommerce “mechanic”
If this process sounds a little intimidating for your internal team, consider hiring an experienced outside eCommerce advisor with deep analytical skills. A “T-shaped” individual who can take an end-to-end view of your website, and work effectively with your specialists in SEO, SMM, Clicks Advertising, Analytics, and your Content Management System/ Shopping cart software.
Ideally someone that can not only map and quantify gaps and opportunities, but help guide your team to implement innovative best-in-class eCommerce solutions.
Until next time – Axel