Boosting conversion rates for your e-commerce store

Maciej Zawadziński, co-founder of Piwik PRO, discusses how e-commerce store owners can use analytics data to boost their shop’s online performance and conversion rates.

Analytics data is a gold mine of information that e-commerce store owners can use to boost conversion rates. Making tweaks to websites, based on analytics data, on an ongoing basis should be a primary concern for any retailer, especially in the run up to the festive period as online spending starts to ramp up. Online spending in the UK is expected to exceed £13bn this Christmas, an 18% increase from last year.

eCommerce store owners don’t need to be fluent expert coders to make sense of analytics data. A bit of business acumen and the patience to read into the analytics data on platforms like Piwik is all you need to figure out which changes need to be made. The trick is to identify which metrics to look out for, and to segment your traffic in the right way.

One way to reduce website abandonment is by pinpointing the cause of bounce rates. For a small or medium-sized e-commerce store, anything higher than a 33% bounce rate should be a cause for concern. It may mean that your site is too cluttered for the visitor to find the product they’re looking for, or that the calls to action on the site aren’t clear enough. Alternatively, it could mean that your SEO is poorly calibrated, meaning people are clicking through to products they’re not expecting, and leaving instantly. Making your page easier to navigate, and working on your SEO, will bring the bounce rate down, leading to higher conversion.

Data on abandoned carts is another key metric to keep a keen eye on. If this starts to creep up, then it’s time to start making some changes. Reduce the shipping prices, minimise the data required on sign-up forms, improve the UX on the check-out experience and introduce more local payment options to increase the metric and boost your conversion rate.

A slow loading time has the potential to kill your e-commerce website, so it’s important to keep this under control. According to a study, 57% of online shoppers only have the patience to wait three seconds or less before abandoning the site. To fix the loading time, you might need to look into using GZIP compression or your backend infrastructure. This can be technical, so it’s worth getting an experienced developer to look into it.

Once you’ve reviewed the key metrics, the next step should be to consider segmenting your website traffic to spot trends specific to certain types of traffic. For example, segment the data into mobile traffic and look at the metrics within this. You may find that the bounce rate for mobile traffic is exceptionally high, which will probably mean that your site isn’t optimised well for mobile. If this is the case, retailers would be wise to implement responsive web design so shoppers can navigate shops on their mobile devices.

You can also filter the data by visitors who have processed the most payments historically. Evaluate their navigation trends to understand what they like most and where they come from. They may all be coming from a certain referral source, in which case it’s worth focussing marketing efforts on this to increase conversion.

Generally, it’s also worth filtering out the ‘noise’, or, put simply, traffic from countries that you do not ship to so that you can focus on customers who can actually buy things.

Store owners should also consider building multiple dashboards on their analytics platform. Different dashboards should separately show commerce data, marketing channel data, traffic source data and real time data. This will provide a comprehensive overview of your site’s performance on various fronts.

Monitoring e-commerce analytics should be an ongoing priority for any retailer looking to improve their online shop, and not dismissed as a one-off job. Keeping an eye on key metrics and adopting the right approach to segmentation will help you find holes in your online performance and ultimately boost conversion rates.

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