Your Web site offers products for sale directly through the site, handles shopping carts, payments, order tracking, fulfillment, customer service, and all that. At the basic level, your site could be an online catalog, organizing products and descriptions in a database and giving customers a way to buy them. At the top end, you offer personalized pages, wish lists, shopping agents, and product recommendations.
How do you know whether your site incites shoppers to buy more or turns them off? You can get a Web analytics program that offers the basic features for tracking users through your site. For a more specialized analysis, you can also get an analytics package with features tailored to analyzing and fixing e-commerce sites. Look for these features when shopping for one:
- Campaign Analysis: You’ll need a solid grasp of the return on investment provided by each individual element of your marketing plan, with the initial buy tied to ultimate sales to give you the most granular information.
- Market Segmentation: Even better than general campaign analysis, this lets you view your marketing results by user profile. Finding the most desirable behaviors or demographics helps you fine-tune your marketing message.
- Conversion Funnel: The checkout process illustrates the classic conversion funnel. You’ll put this tool to good use by minimizing drop-out.
- Form Abandonment: Much of your conversion drop-out occurs when you begin to gather personal info about users, a sort of “put up or shut up” stage that requires a huge increase in commitment level from your customers. Encourage them through this stage by eliminating unnecessary fields.
- Predictive Marketing and Systems Integration: To propel your site into the highest level of personalization, look for analytics software with a predictive component or integration between pattern analysis tools and your content management system. If you’re unclear on the process of connecting your systems, talk to potential vendors about the options available. In the end, you may be investing a bit more for the feature, but for sites with high volume and inventory, your return should more than justify the cost.