The days of wondering what your customers are thinking are long gone, thanks to the mass adoption of analytics and tracking software. Now, you can sort through seemingly endless rows of data to keep tabs on exactly how your customers are browsing, interacting and converting (or not).
It can understandably be a bit overwhelming when you first dive into your analytics. Without added context, data is nothing more than a set of numbers. But if your team is spending a lot of time brainstorming ideas, creating pieces of content and laying out extensive marketing strategies, don’t you want to know if you’re actually getting a return on that investment?
The most successful online retailers know how to take data and turn it into actionable insights that can guide their entire marketing strategy. To get started, focus on these five key areas of your website so you can begin collecting and analyzing your data to make smart business decisions.
Your homepage is where many shoppers begin their journey and interact with your brand for the first time. It’s important to make a good impression, and by analyzing your data, you can find out where things may be going astray.
First, use your analytics tool to view homepage load time. Online shoppers are faced with innumerable options and won’t wait around long for your site to load before losing interest and moving on to a different site with similar offerings. In fact, just one second of additional page load time can drop your conversion rate by seven percent and page view rate by 11 percent.
If your homepage is loading too slowly (strive for three seconds or less), consider using JPEGs instead of PNGs, reduce the size of images and use a content delivery network (CDN) to load files from the closest data center near your visitors.
You can also optimize your homepage layout by analyzing your data to learn what product pages earn the most traffic and conversions, as well as what terms or keywords are most commonly searched for in your site’s search bar. This will guide you to the best method of categorizing your products for easy visibility. You should also consider placing the highest-converting products in a prominent location on your homepage.
Setting up landing pages for special promotions and other premium content can help you target specialized audiences and also learn what marketing tactics are working best for your brand. Look at which channels (social media, ads, email or other channels) are pushing the most traffic to your landing page, as well as which visitors from those channels are converting.
You can test the landing page to optimize layout and content using A/B testing. Create two similar landing pages but with one variant, such as color, photo size or copy and see which converts more visitors to sales.
One important attribute to A/B test is your call-to-action (CTA). Placement of your CTA, the suggested action or promotion and the colors and language used can all positively or negatively affect your landing page’s conversion rate.
As you earn data from visitors, you will learn which variant is performing better and can continue tweaking your landing page until each element is optimized.
Your product pages are often a visitor’s last stop before converting — or leaving your site.
This is another area where A/B testing can help you pinpoint exactly which elements of your page are effective. It is important to think through and test every element of your product pages to ensure they are optimized, including product copy, photos/videos, reviews, upselling sections and even hyperlinks, which show up in Google search results.
Use a keyword planner to figure out which longtail keywords you can compete for, then use these throughout your product page to boost your organic SEO and receive more highly targeted, motivated visitors. Longtail keywords are more specialized descriptors that fewer merchants will be competing for (e.g. “red leather high-arch pumps” or “camouflage tent for woods camping”). You can also view the keywords visitors are searching for most on your website’s search bar within your analytics software to make sure your product page language mirrors this language.
Adding additional product insights through a customer review or FAQ section can also help build brand trust and reduce future customer support queries, as visitors are more informed and confident in their purchases.
Optimizing your email campaigns is crucial because email marketing is one of the lowest-cost and highest-yield strategies for retailers.
Analyzing your email data over time can increase the quality of your subscriber list and help you better define your customer journey by learning what types of content or offers are most effective for customers at various points in the sales funnel. You can leverage email marketing to not only identify who your best customers are, but to win more sales through cart abandonment and loyalty campaigns.
Many email automation programs allow you to A/B test individual emails by testing two versions within a small portion of your list (usually about 10 percent), then automatically sending the rest of your list the higher-performing email. One of the most important metrics to analyze is your email click-through rate (CTR).
By A/B testing, you can home in on what calls-to-action, imagery, layout and messaging are more effective for driving clicks. As your CTR rises, you know you are providing the content people are interested in.
After you get your CTR to a good place (average CTRs are in the 3.5 percent range), you should also analyze your email conversion rates. This metric points to how many customers not only clicked on your email content, but also followed through all the way to the checkout process. If you have a high email CTR rate but low conversion rate, you may infer that your landing, product or checkout pages may not be optimized to their fullest potential.
As with page load times, online shoppers have little patience for lengthy or overly complex checkout processes. To figure out how your checkout page is performing, look to your cart abandonment rate. On average, nearly 70 percent of shoppers fill their carts without converting, meaning there is plenty of opportunity for you to capitalize if you can figure out how to re-engage these shoppers.
A study by Baymard Institute found 41.6 percent of visitors who abandon their carts do so after already commencing the checkout process. Shoppers stated their top reasons for doing so include complex or lengthy checkout processes, hidden fees that weren’t seen before entering the checkout process (i.e. shipping and taxes) and frustrations due to being forced to create an account before checking out.
To decrease your cart abandonment rate, consider how you can make the checkout process more transparent and pain-free for your visitors. One way to boost your conversion rate for both desktop and mobile shoppers is to make your checkout process one page. You can also integrate one-click payment options, like Amazon Pay or Apple Pay, that automatically fill in the customer’s shipping and payment info, which can be particularly tedious for them to manually input on small mobile device screens.
You can also save visitors time and reduce cart abandonment by allowing them to check out without creating an account on your site. You can always capture their personal information through pop-ups offering cart discounts. Finally, increase transparency and brand trust by showing customers the total price of their cart before they reach the checkout page.
Brands that aren’t fully relying on data to make both internal and external decisions face a growing risk of falling behind.
Implementing a comprehensive analytics dashboard like Springbot’s makes it easy for you to both execute marketing strategies and analyze the accompanying data in one place. The power to make insightful business decisions comes from a harmonious combination of the right analytics and the persistence and creativity to turn insights into action.
Tracey Wallace is the Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she covers all things eCommerce: marketing, design, development, strategy, plus emerging trends, including omnichannel and cloud replatforming. She is often featured in publications, such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Mashable and ELLE, along with leading BigCommerce partners like HubSpot and Square. She launched her career in eCommerce with Y-Combinator backed Shoptiques.