Competition is fierce within the online eCommerce marketplace. With the number of purchases made online set to rise by 18% to £131.2 billion in 2014, you’ll want to ensure that your site is performing at its best if you want to capitalise on this growth.

As an online retailer, there are a number of tasks and tools that you can use to help you optimise every aspect of your online store to help you drive sales. I’ve highlighted the six essential tasks for you to focus on.

1. Monitor mobile traffic

Sales via mobile devices doubled to £3bn in 2013 suggesting that more people will be making purchases via their mobile device in the coming years. So, it’s crucial that your site works effectively for mobile customers.

To ensure you provide the best possible mobile shopping experience, first take a look at your mobile traffic in Google Analytics. Analysing traffic and interactions here will give you a better idea about how many users are visiting your site via a mobile device.

Go ahead and sign into your Google Analytics account and click on Audience > Mobile> Overview tab.

mobile google analytics

If your mobile traffic is at least 10% of overall traffic, it’s a good indicator that you need to be optimising and monitoring mobile search.

The next step is to check whether you’re providing a good user experience for mobile devices. A good indicator of user satisfaction is conversions via mobile device. Are mobile visits converting? What’s the percentage? How does it compare with your desktop conversion rate? If visitors are not buying, there may be obstacles in the mobile conversion path or maybe they feel uneasy about purchasing from you.  Here are a few ideas to help you discover what the cause might be:

Complicated design and architecture

The mobile version of your website design needs to be stripped down to the basics. Include breadcrumb links at the top of pages as well as category results to help people navigate. As space is limited, you may not want to have more than four categories on each page.

Also, ensure that your shopping cart is accessible from each page.

Click-to-call phone number

Studies have shown that if a shopper can’t call you during a checkout process, they simply will not buy from you. Ensure that you have a click-to-call phone number readily available and visible across the site.

Use more imagery

On desktop devices we know that good quality images help sell product. However with mobile users, space is limited, so pictures are even more important. They will sell your products better than lengthy pieces of text which require users to scroll.

Text fields

Once a shopper has added an item to a cart, it’s inevitable that they’ll need to enter their delivery and payment details. Make this as easy as possible. If your form is fiddly and long-winded, visitors will either switch back to the desktop, or worse, give up.

2. Install Call Tracking

Despite the growing advances in digital technology and communications, consumers would still like the option to call a business. Not to mention the fact that a telephone number makes your online business look more credible.

Recently a group of online retailers realised the importance the telephone has in hastening the path to conversion. According to a research case study released by call tracking software company, Mediahawk, customers who called a group of online retailers “converted much more quickly after a phone call”. You can read the study here.

So don’t unplug your landline just yet. The telephone and its call data analytics are important to understanding your sales cycle.

Once you’ve installed the call tracking software on your website you’ll start collecting valuable data.

Firstly, the visitor level tracking will show you the entire users’ journey up until they call you, plus the subsequent pages they viewed after the phone call.

visitor call tracking

This data is particularly useful in helping online retailers to identify any issues within the conversion path. For example, out of those who called your online store but didn’t go on to make a purchase, marketers can look at the web pages they viewed post-call to see if any of the content or checkout process might have caused them to abandon their carts.

Secondly, call tracking collects phone call data from all sources. Take a look at this table below; here you’ll see phone call data from both online and offline sources:

telephone call channels

Advertisers can drill down through the data to find out which advertising is driving the most calls, so you might decide to apportion more of your budget in your top lead generating channel  or cut your budget in areas that aren’t providing a return on investment.

3. Use Heatmaps

Heatmaps give you visual data that shows how your website is performing. They save you from having to analyse rows of data.

Heatmaps provide a useful insight into what people are engaging with (clicking on) on-site as well as revealing which pieces of your content are being overlooked.

Heatmaps work on the premise that people place their mouse’s cursor over content that they’re interested in. The map then records the amount of visitors who placed their cursor in a particular spot on a landing page. On the heatmap below, orange shows the most popular areas of the page. The cooler coloured areas (green and blue) show less popular areas.

heatmap

To get a better understanding of how visitors interact with your content, I suggest that you run heat maps on your most important pages. These are likely to be your home page, check-out pages and product pages. This will give you quick, useful data about what information is important to visitors. .

Key questions to ask when analysing your heatmap’s results are:

  • Are people clicking on the most important content?
  • Is an important part of my navigation being ignored?
  • Are page elements taking up space that no one is noticing?

For example, you might find that more visitors are engaging with content at the bottom of your page, so you might decide to move this content further up the page to provide a better user experience. Conversely, you might find that your most important content is being totally overlooked, so you might consider moving it to a more prominent location on the page.

4. Run A/B Testing

A/B testing involves testing two versions of a web page. The A version is the control and the B version is the variation. Each page receives live traffic so that you can measure the effect each version has on your conversion rates.

Testing is particularly important for eCommerce and online retailers.  Increasing your conversion rate is one of the easiest ways of improving your profitability.

Your tests might include simple changes to your site, including:

  • Layout
  • Headlines
  • Copywriting
  • Pricing
  • Promotions
  • Images

Then, when you’ve completed the test period, you can choose which version produced the best conversion rate, sales, or even click-through rate.

For example, we recently created a series of A/B conversion rate optimisation tests to help a luxury retailer optimise their conversion rates. We created a testing variation with a product zoom-in window enlarged by up to four times more than the control version.

ab testing

After the testing period, we found that the click rate of “add to cart” has increased by an astonishing 221%!

This goes to show how seemingly minor layout changes can have a massive impact upon sales.

5. Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking

Google’s Ecommerce tracking enables ecommerce sites to carry across revenue numbers into their analytics account. It’s a nifty feature because it allows you to see how much revenue is generated from each of your traffic sources.

ecommerce tracking analytics

For example, you can compare how much revenue is generated by an email campaign versus your SEO efforts. This type of data can help you to pinpoint whether you’re investing too much in under-performing channels or whether you need to ramp up your budget in an area that is performing well for you.

You can find Google’s very own instructional guide here

Or get in touch if you require some technical guidance.

6. Set up Google Goal Conversions and Funnel Visualisation

Goal completions and conversions are some of the most important commercial statistics within your Google Analytics dashboard. It gives us a better understanding of any obstacles that are preventing users from completing a goal. To do this we set up a goal funnel.

The goal funnel visualization within analytics helps you to visualize, the path to conversion.  You can include each of the important pages that lead to a sale and see where customers are dropping out of the funnel.

Simply go to Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization:

funnel visualisation analytics

In order for you to see data, you will have first had to set up a series of goals leading up to the final goal page. Here’s an instructional guide on how to set up Goal Funnel Visualization

If you have set up “add to cart” as a goal funnel (and I strongly recommend that as an eCommerce store you do), you’ll be able to see how many people went through the conversion funnel from that initial step right up until they completed the purchase. This is useful because you’ll be able to see how many total conversions from a certain period went through the full funnel and how many dropped out and went elsewhere or clicked off the website.

Below, you’ll see the funnel visualization for a client who wants to track the flow of customers from the basket phase through to confirmation of purchase:

goal funnel

You can see from the graphic how many visitors continued onto the next step of the checkout process, how many went to another page on the site, as well as how many simply left the store. We can see this data for each of the steps in the process up to the completion of the order.

As an online store, we want to know if there are any holes in the funnel that shouldn’t be there. Ideally you want to optimise your checkout process so that everyone that enters makes a purchase. Obviously, not everyone will buy from you, but you can certainly aim for it.

The funnel visualisation will give you a better idea of why prospects are leaving your store after getting to the shopping cart. In this case, maybe you need to give your customers a bit of reassurance. Perhaps on the cart page you could explain any guarantee you offer, your returns policy, how quickly customers receive their goods or ensure that you have a telephone number or online support.

But having resolved those doubts, you may need to consider whether customers are getting confused by the checkout process. Are you asking for irrelevant information? Are there too many steps in the checkout process? These are the type of questions that this report raises.

In summary

With the busiest retail period of the year approaching, it’s crucial that you continue to monitor consumer behaviour on site and use the data available to you to optimise the user experience and checkout process.

If you’re an eCommerce store owner and would like to start collecting data about your audience and put it to good use, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.