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!
- Posted by Melanie
- 04 February 2013
- E-Commerce Design, Ecommerce Marketing, Ecommerce SEO, Small Business, So you want to be a Shop Owner Series
With all the Panda, Penguin and buzz surrounding them it's very easy to get caught "putting out fires" all the time. It's very tiring and not so successful overall... so let's get going!
Below is a punch list of the things "I" think ecommerce shop owners should be concentrating on in 2013.... In order of priority. Call it a plan of attack, new year's resolution... Call it whatever you like, but get out in front of that monster and stop "putting out fires".
1. Content is still king if it's not crap. What are Google and the other search engines looking for in content?
- Make sure each page has a couple of good paragraphs.
- Avoid lists and comma separated values.
- Keep to that page's topic when writing content.
- Use common words that people might use to find your content in your content.
- Write for the masses, not everyone is a college grad.
- Structure your content properly with heading tags and organized paragraphs... Make it easy to scan.
- SPELL CHECK
- Your content should be written for your shoppers! If it's pushed down to the bottom of the page Google weighs it less and your shoppers likely never see it! #WasteOfTime
2. Usability is a never ending process. Making shopping easier gets more sales out of the visits you have already.
- At least once a week shop on your website and go all the way through checkout.
- Do you have pages that are really good but hidden from navigation?
- Do you have the trust signals you need such as highly visible phone number, SSL, security seals, guarantees and such? These really do increase sales and Google is looking for them!
- Do your pages load quickly? Start here
- Are your product descriptions and images adequate for me to throw money at you?
- Are you using colors in buttons and navigation to create a proper call to action and funnel people along?
- It is REALLY clear what payment methods you accept? Here is a cool payment image generator.
- Can I get a shipping quote before providing you my personal information?
- Have privacy, conditions, shipping and returns in place and easy to understand?
3. Social Media is not going to go away just because you think it doesn't apply to you... Instead you will go away =0
- Minimum you should have a Facebook page. People have begun using Facebook to search for products, services and businesses instead of a search engine!
- Very likely you should also have Twitter and Google+ (make sure to link your Google+ page and your website properly).
- Having a Facebook page is not enough.... engage these people and find sales in return.
- Your product pages should have at least Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest buttons for sharing. The benefit from even 1 pin is really huge!
- Get on board with Rich Snippets to help the search engines and social media platforms understand your products and give you the credit you deserve.
- People love product videos.... if they're short, helpful and perhaps funny.
- The Internet is very much a popularity contest.
4. Link Building is "the job that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends". Links are still important it they're not faked, from junk sites or spammy.
- Build links by creating business profiles on business directories. Google Local, Yahoo local, Manta, Yelp etc.
- Find niche blogs, forums, Facebook groups and such related to your products and get involved. Note this is not a spamming venture... be helpful and be loved.
- NEVER, EVER pay for links or trade links..... Google will get you.
- Create a community page of your own on Facebook or similar.
- Join the Chamber of Commerce in your area and get in to their website directory.
- Post coupons on websites like BlueMountain and ReatilMeNot
- Make donations to local organizations and ask only for a thank you link from their website.
- Make use of Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Google Places & Google maps if you have a brick & mortar location.
- Have you tried free press releases?
5. Google Analytics is a wealth of knowledge! If you're not using it, shame on you.... If you are, make a commitment to spend 15 minutes a week in there "poking around". You will find that you will accidentally stumble upon things you didn't know to help you understand and grow your business.
6. Mobile technology is developing faster than we had ever expected. Devices have come down in cost and urban WiFi hub spots have put millions of users online who would not be otherwise.
- Tablet traffic accounted for 8-19% of total shopping traffic from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.
- Total sales from tablet type devices ranged from 7-17%, with iPads representing a disproportionate 94 percent majority of the tablets.
- Tablet shoppers on average converted as much as 38% higher and average order values were up to 15% larger.
- Look in to creating a mobile version of your website. Delia has a great mod for this purpose.
- Perhaps a Facebook catalog page?
These items here are pretty Google Proof. I mean they have been the right thing for a long time and are going to continue to be right. Stop thinking so much about "how to rank" and start thinking about how to "wow" your shoppers instead. You will earn the trust and love of your shoppers and Google at the same time. Toooofer!