In the first part of this post on eCommerce Diagnostics we covered the power of using Web Analytics software to diagnose and manage the performance of your eCommerce site. Now let’s look at my other 4 favorite eCommerce diagnostic tools.
Individual Prospect Tracking software
Why would you want to do this?
Chances are that you have designed your site for specific personas, and you want to make sure that your site works seamlessly for these target demographic segments. Outside of those target segments, do you really care?
Let’s use an example. Say you’re a B2B company, targeting Operations Managers or Industrial Engineers at large manufacturing companies. What if this high-value targeted group only represents 2% of your total site traffic? How do “filter out” the other less important other 98%?
That’s where prospect tracking and grading comes in. Often integrated with Marketing Automation software, prospect-tracking software matches a user’s profile (Name, Title, Company size, etc. — usually captured through online forms) with the individual user’s clickstream data. When combined, you get incredible insight into your website’s gaps and opportunities for a particular target persona.
Most marketing automation software – including Eloqua, Marketo, and Pardot – include this individual prospect tracking and segmentation capability. Some enterprise-class Web Analytics packages – including Adobe SiteCatalyst, Webtrends, and IBM’s Coremetrics – have this capability built in.
An interesting alternative to the above options, especially for B2C applications, is comScore’s Digital Analytix (DA). Digital Analytix combines comScore’s vast demographic data with each individual’s behavioural data. An excellent solution if you put your trust in the veracity of comScore’s demographic data.
Usability Testing Software
Once you’ve identified a possible website usability problem (too many page abandons, goal exits, low conversion rates, etc.), usability software allows you to dig deeper.
Traditional lab-based usability testing was slow and expensive. Today, online software solutions exist that allow you to cost-effectively create a usability test, invite remote participants via email, capture user test data including clickstream videos, and analyze the data using rich, interactive graphic interfaces.
Loop11 is one such remote usability testing tool. You can test your own website, and even your competitor’s website to compare usability.
If you just want to analyze the effectiveness of a single page (versus a multi-page user journey), you may want to try mouse or cursor tracking software such as Crazy Egg, ClickDensity, ClickTale, or MouseFlow. Run them on your most important pages and find out whether your prospects are glossing over vital information or ignoring key functionality.
Web-page Optimization Software
Many eCommerce sites have achieved huge conversion increases by using automation software (A/B testing or Multivariate testing) to test various versions of landing pages or key internal website pages, logging the differential conversions, and then automatically switching to the more effective version(s).
According to Rich Page – a Conversion Solution Specialist at Adobe and author of “Website Optimization: An Hour a Day” – differences between free and paid tools for website testing are much greater than between free and paid web analytics tools. And although Google offers some excellent tools in the free category – Google Website Optimizer and the new Google Content Experiments – I agree with Rich that this is one area where you’ll want to pay for performance.
Check out this excellent post on smashingmagazine.com: “The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing”.
Quick Tip: As in Web Analytics, keep things simple, and avoid over-complication. Focus on key elements such as the headline, the primary visual, and the location of the call-to-action button.
Don’t forget Customer Journey Mapping
This is clearly my favorite tool for understanding the gaps and opportunities in your current customer journey. In many ways, it is the most strategic, holistic view of how your eCommerce site is performing. For details, check out “Lifting the Hood on your eCommerce engine”.
“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
In the end, a tool is only as good as the professional using it. If you find yourself overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by data, consider bringing in an expert. For an active eCommerce site, it’s a surefire ROI.
Until next time – Axel