Ecommerce is a tough business. It moves fast, changes frequently and relies on outside factors, which are often beyond our control. Such as Google screw ups.
I have often told clients, and I believe fully that the best time and money are spent on getting the most from the shoppers you already have. Think about it, maybe you are getting 50 unique visits a day, sure that's not a lot, but how many sales? 1 a day maybe?
What difference would it make to your business is you could increase that to 3 or more sales a day?
Do you check and watch your checkout abandonment rate? Do you even know how?
Diagnosing the barriers that shoppers have with your website is hands down the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to increase your sales. Then you can use the additional revenue to work on increasing your daily traffic.
Number 1: Google Analytics Checkout Abandonment
We have yet to find a client who uses this awesome tool to even half of it's potential. As a shop owner you should have dedicated and be spending at LEAST 30 minutes a week poking around in Google Analytics. If you're not, you have failed yourself.
Want to learn how to calculate your checkout abandonment?
- Login in to Google Analytics and select the account you want to diagnose
- From the left menu select Content >> Overview >>All Pages
- In this list on the top right use the search to locate your first page of checkout by searching for it's url, such as login.php. There may be several in the list, total the Unique Pageviews Column and write it down.
- Next use the filter/search box to search for your second page such as checkout_shipping and write down the unique pageviews.
- Do this for all of your checkout pages including the last checkout_success.
- Do the math....
So I used a customer's account to give you an example. They are running a short, no-login and super easy checkout experience that we built for them. See the results below.
Checkout Page 1: 1776
Checkout Page 2: 1509
Checkout Page 3: 1360
Total Abandonment: 23.42%
Checkout Conversion Rate: 75.58%
Loss of Abandonment Revenue: Page 1 (1776) - Page 3 (1360) = 416 X Average Sale $111.58 = $46,417.28 Lost Revenue!
How does your store compare? What do you do if it sucks?
- Reduce the number of pages in checkout
- Remove barriers and distractions from checkout
- Increase trust:
- Security Seals
- Phone Number has High Visibility
- Live Chat
- Good Direction Words in Text and Buttons. Go to, Buy Now etc (tell them what you want!)
- Fast Website Performance.... Nobody Waits Anymore!
- SSL Certificate, If You Don't Have $10 a Year for an SSL You are in the Wrong Business!
- Payment Options. People are (in our own internal study) are about 34% Less Likely to Checkout if you ONLY offer Offsite Payment Options such as Paypal. In talking with folks it seems that they are concerned that if you only offer Paypal then you are not a "real" business.
- Clear, First Person Helpful Product Descriptions. I Tell Clients to Describe their Products Just as they Would if I was on the Phone with them.
- Nice, Big and Awesome Product Images.
- Good, Competitive Pricing.
- Easy to Follow Design, Menus and Navigation.
Number 2 Google Analytics Poor Performers
No matter how hard you have worked, you have losers in your website. These losers, as I prefer to call them, are pages that get some traffic but simply fail to convert anything.... In a nutshell for some reason they suck! However, it's really easy to locate these pages and get to work on identifying the problem. Want to learn? See below.
- Login in to Google Analytics and select the account you want to use.
- From the left side menu select Content >> Overview >> Site Content >> Landing Pages
- On the top left, right above the graph hit the "Ecommerce" tab
- Bottom right hand corner use the dropdown to make the number of results bigger
- You are looking for pages with high visits, but very small number of transactions.
- Find one you want to diagnose
The Diagnosis and Treatment of a Loser
I picked one has 377 visits and only 1 transaction.... This .27% conversion rate is well below the site's 3.1% average conversion rate. Now we want to open that page up on our website and try to determine why it sucks so bad.
Top Ten Reasons Page's Suck
- Too confusing, busy or completely "pathless". When people open this page they are intimidated, lost or just plain too lazy to try to navigate the mess. This is very common for your product index pages. Try to provide some easy to read and scan-able text above the products.... some direction.
- Product pages with little or no descriptions.
- Crappy images on product pages or product index pages with rows of products that in a quick scan all appear to be the same.
- Too slow.... Face it, they will just hit the back button and try again.
- Recognition. You provided no way for the searcher to immediately realize that their search provided them the correct product/page. Since we need every damn thing right this second, we leave for an easier experience for our lazy fingers.
- No authority. Your page looks like you know nothing, do nothing and are simply a bulk seller with no real connection to the products or experience. This troubles me because I might have a question or need some support... But since you obviously know nothing, you won't be able to help.
- Trust. I see no reason I should trust you with my personal details and credit card information. Where is the phone number? How can I get in touch with these people? Are they real, or are they some washed up eBayer? How do I know?
- Price! The price is too high or even too low. Ideally you want to be pricing your products somewhere in the middle. Prices too high are an obvious problem, but did you know that prices too low are also a problem. Think about it, if you have the lowest prices you might be a knockoff, you might suck at customer service, not a real business etc.
- Your website looks/feels old and not up to date. I don't think you need to have every bell and whistle available, but if your website still looks like 90's HTML, then your sales will suffer.
- Too forward. Have you ever walked in to a furniture store and that guy meets you at the door with a flyer? Then proceeds to follow you around the store even after you told him you were just looking? Well, believe me your website can also come off like that. While we need to create a path and direction to better convert shoppers... we do not have to look like a furniture salesman in a plaid jacket!
So what is a deal breaker? Simple, these are the things in your cart that shoppers fret about, thus causing them not to make a purchase. So while every shopping cart, product and website is different, there are some very common factors which cause your shoppers to leave. Let's address them and some of the solutions you can use to set your shopper's minds at ease.
We are going to address these issues in a common navigational flow, so that you get a feel for the entire process.
Step 1 Landing Page:
Certainly many people do land on your main page, but usually not as many as your other pages combined. So treating only your main page with some TLC will certainly do nothing for the majority of your customers.
Landing Page Factors:
- Trust: Is your phone number (preferably toll free) highly visible and easy to find?
- Navigation: Can your shoppers easily navigate your shop to other interests and products?
- Text: Does each page have enough text near the top of the page for shoppers to scan and determine that this is where they should be?
- Images: Are your images, descriptive, fresh and professional?
- Load: Do your shoppers have to wait and wait for your pages to load?
- Presentation: Does your site work and display properly in all browsers?
Step 1/2 Product Page Marketing:
Many brick and mortar stores spend high dollars to hire the best salesmen they can, they do this to improve sales and be successful. But what about your ecommerce website? You are not going to have the individualized opportunity to make the sale. So let's eliminate some of the common stresses and frustrations your shoppers experience.
- Is your price clearly marked?
- Are options easy to use and find?
- Are your description and images detailed enough for shoppers to make a decision?
- Is your return policy and payment methods posted clearly and easy to understand?
- Can they contact you easily from the product page to ask a question?
- Do you have live help of some sort?
- Is your add to cart button clear and noticeable?
- Is your product information above the fold on your pages, or do your shoppers have to continuously scroll?
- Is your price fair and competitive?
Step 2 Shopping Cart Summary Page:
This is a very difficult page to measure the genuine abandonment because so many people will check shipping prices here or return many times with additional items. However, I suspect that this is likely the most crucial deal breaker of all.
- Can I clearly get the shipping cost without giving you my information or creating an account?
- Do you display a secured seal, phone number and other trust factors here?
- Do you have a "Checkout Now" button above the fold as well as below?
- Do you use pictures of the products within your cart summary?
- Can I change my quantities and remove products easily and logically?
- Is this page fast enough to deliver the data, such as a shipping quote, before I become impatient and leave?
Step 3 Checkout:
If you have been thinking about abandonment and conversions at all, this is likely where you spent most of your time. While I agree this is a very large factor, I would also say that most of you are probably losing them well before checkout.
- Is the text and information sorted properly and easy to read?
- Are your payment, shipping and other options clearly noted?
- Do you force shoppers to reconsider by making them create an account?
- Do you tell your shoppers how long the shipment will take in your checkout?
- If your checkout is several steps, do you control the flow and keep shoppers on track by removing distractions and highlighting the necessary action areas?
- Is your checkout secured with SSL? Do you have a broken lock?
- Do you bother your shoppers in checkout with pop up offers and other things to get them off track?
Step 4 Checkout Success:
- While this may seem obvious, you would really be surprised... But do you thank your shoppers after checking out?
- Do they get an order summary, shipping and customer service information on your checkout success page?
- Do they receive a TEXT email (for maximum deliver-ability) with their receipt and order information following checkout?
- Do you welcome your shoppers back with a coupon or loyalty program?
While this is certainly not meant to be a bible for your usability, it is rather intended to make you think and consider the fears, stresses and reasons shoppers leave your site. I find that many shop owners have never checked out on their own site.... and many more stumble to describe the navigation needed to direct me to a certain product. Certainly, you and your staff should know your website inside and out. Just think, if it's hard for you can you imagine your shopper's frustration?