We are all familiar with the adage: retail is both an art and a science. For many retailers, the science means examining and translating large amounts of data, both transactional and non-transactional, with the goal of creating betters ways to connect to customers. We recently launched a study regarding Big Data to examine how retailers are dealing with overwhelming amounts of data from multiple channels and sources, combined with the urgency to create competitive strategies. Undoubtedly, eCommerce is a major channel that can provide valuable clues to refining your customers’ paths-to-purchase. But, where to start? Glad you asked. Here are the top seven metrics that should be included in every eCommerce monitoring strategy:

1. New Visitor Conversion Rate vs. Return Visitor Conversion Rate
Break out conversion rate by your new visitors and return visitors to see how many are converting on their first visit to your site. Review this number over time to see if there is any seasonality associated with the purchase decision. If this number trends low, then identify those aspects of your product that are prompting visitors to take time to make the purchase and use this insight to make the purchase experience easier. For example, adding more information about the product, more detail about your company, and secure site logos can motivate your visitor to purchase quicker.

2. Days and Visits to Purchase
For the returning visitors, how many days or visits to your site does it take to make the purchase? You risk forever losing the customer forever who leaves your site during the purchase decision. Try to decrease this number by offering incentives to purchase or, if you capture emails in the process, reach out to the visitor directly with an incentive or offer to help.

3. Average Order Value and Items Per Order
Determine what each order means to you. If accounting for inflation only, this number should be increasing year over year. Try to grow these numbers by offering add-ons or similar products during the shopping and checkout process. For example, Amazon shows items “Frequently Bought Together” and “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” to encourage additional purchases.

4. Cost Per Acquisition
How much did you pay to acquire that customer? When comparing this to the average order, you should be able to outline the marketing activities that are not giving you a positive return on your investment. This costs include your pay-per-clicks and other digital advertising campaigns, as well as direct marketing programs.

5. Traffic Source
Which channel is bringing you the most traffic? Take it step further and compare against the conversion rate for each source. Often, the visitors that directly input your URL convert the best, but watch these numbers to see how you can optimize each.

6. Bounce Rate by Page
A “bounce” is when a visitor exits your site on the first page. Looking to the bounce rate on your main landing pages will help you to identify which page needs your attention the most. Determine why visitors are leaving your site when on this page – are there broken links, irrelevant information, excessive load times?

7. Shopping Cart Abandon Rate by Page
There are so many variables operating in your shopping cart. You should be in the habit of using a dummy account to periodically review the checkout process to make sure it is easy. Review the number of visitors leaving the shopping cart at each step in the process – this will help you to identify the most pressing page for concern. Are there unnecessary form fields?  Does the site not appear secure? Are there too many steps or pages required to check out? You have done the hard work to get your visitor to want to purchase your product – do not make it difficult to actually complete the purchase

Of course, there are many more insights and measures you can (and should) use as part of your eCommerce monitoring strategy, but these are just the ones to get you started. Also, as you have probably already guessed, this month’s blog focuses on eCommerce – one of my favorite topics. Hope to see you next week, when we take a look at the art

– Courtney

Published On: June 6, 2013Categories: Big Data, eCommerce, The Parker Avery Group