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Thursday 27th January 2011 Understand Your Customers With Google Analytics

To understand your web traffic is to understand your customers. The information you can glean from your web traffic allows you to improve your conversion rate, your marketing efforts, and your search engine optimisation.
While many e-commerce systems will tell you about the level of web traffic coming to your website, there are often additional benefits to using a web analytics service like Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free service, so there is no excuse not to be tracking your web visitors, and much more.
Here is a selection of the things the Google Analytics will tell you about your website visitors.
Visitor Sources
Google Analytics provides detailed information about the source of your visitors. For example, if a visitor arrived at your website through a link from another site, it will tell you what site they came from. Using the knowledge of sites that are providing you with free traffic, you can build a relationship with those sites, allowing you to get more visitors and (most importantly) more sales!
If they found your website by using a search engine, Google Analytics will also tell you what they searched for to find your website. This pretty much tells you what main keywords you should optimise your site for, along with some long-tail keywords to target for even more free traffic.
Analytics can even tell you what country your visitors are from. If you found that most of your visitors were from Norway, for example, then you might decide to change your marketing strategy to target people from that region.
Conversion Goals
Another highly useful thing you can do with analytics is created conversion goals. This means you can identify, for example, what percentage of your visitors go on to sign up to your newsletter. 
You can also track the path of a visitor, as they move from your main page, to a product page, to your checkout page, and then to your thank-you page. You can see what visitors did at every stage, and therefore identify opportunities to increase your conversion rate. If lots of people are reaching your checkout page but not completing their purchase, then you'll know your checkout page needs improvement.
And that's not all. You can also track conversion goals for specific traffic sources. So if you are running a Google AdWords campaign with several different keywords, you can track the traffic from each keyword. This allows you to separate the keywords that are effective from those that are losing your money. By trimming the keywords that lose money from your campaign, your ROI receives an instantaneous boost.
Bounce Rate and Page Views per Visit
The bounce rate tells you the number of visitors that left your website from the same page they entered. Obviously, the lower the bounce rate the better. It is a great measure of how accommodating your store is to new visitors.
The number of page views per visit can help you determine the effectiveness of your store's navigation. Easier navigation will translate to more pages viewed per visitor.
Analytics Is a Must-Have
If you aren't already using an analytics product or service with your store, then you really should start tracking your visitors as soon as possible. 
Google analytics is a good choice, if only because it's free. It provides all the functionality that you need from an analytics service, and helps you spot improvements that you may have otherwise missed.

Posted on January 27th 2011 at 04:58pm
Labels: analytics

Thursday 20th January 2011 Improving Ecommerce Conversion Rates

Selling to 2% of the people who visit your site instead of 1% might seem negligible, but in the world of conversion rates that means a doubling of your number of sales. And when you consider that making that jump to 2% might mean making one small tweak to your store, you will realise how worthwhile improving your conversion rate could be.
Conversion is something that every ecommerce store owner must take notice of and work on over time. Below are a number of suggestions on how you can improve your e-commerce store's conversion rate.
Make Customers Feel Secure 
Nobody wants to be ripped off. Anyone visiting your store for the first time, in order to make a purchase, must be satisfied that you aren't going to run off with their money. They want to know that you are a real company with ordinary and friendly people behind it.
Anything you can do to overcome that nagging doubt will improve your conversion rate. And if you make them feel comfortable enough to purchase from you once, then you will also have more repeat customers.
This could mean using an SSL certificate to improve store security when processing transactions, subscribing to VeriSign or a similar service, having an About Us page, having an 0800 contact number, and having a professional-looking website generally.
Easy And Efficient Navigation
Making it easy to navigate your store is deceptively difficult. This is because your site must cater to several different types of visitor: there are those looking for a particular product; there are those that wish to browse through a particular category of product; and there are those who simply wish to browse randomly.
Amazon typifies great e-commerce navigation. Realizing the your store must help visitors with different objectives is key to creating more sales. 
Improve Product Copy 
People don't want to buy something they will later regret. When reading copy, the customer may fear that the product is being exaggerated in order to create more sales. You want your description to be authoritative, and your customers to trust rather than doubt. 
Customers want to make an informed decision, based on what they want. By telling the customer the features and the benefits of a product in a compelling yet understated way, they will be much more likely to buy.
People are more likely to be able to make a decision in your favour if they are offered all of the necessary information. Give your customers everything that they need in order to make that purchase.
Product Images
As well as good copy, people need to be able to see what they're buying. The better the quality of your images, the more trustworthy and professional your site will appear and the more likely people are going to be enticed into buying the product. 
Beware of any attempts at home photography, unless you've got a professional set up. Take a look at some of the leading ecommerce sites out there. You want to mimic their quality as much as possible.
Taking Customers to the Checkout 
After customers have made the decision to buy, it is critical that you put them on a greased slide towards purchasing, not giving any doubts the opportunity to surface. This means that pages should load fast, customers should only have to type in their details once, and the process should be easy. 
A small stumbling block between the time the customer decides to buy and when they actually make their purchase can lower the conversion rate of your e-commerce store considerably. But on the bright side, identifying and removing such a stumbling block will instantaneously increase your income.
There are many things you can do to improve your conversion rate. For many, the amount of things that could be done is daunting. When you already have the day-to-day running of the store to contend with, such things get put on a to-do list and then never get done.
Implementing changes like those I've mentioned above can significantly increase your revenue. Even if you already have a busy schedule, it is worth finding time to make these changes. Your bank balance will thank you for it.

Posted on January 20th 2011 at 04:52pm
Labels: conversion