Analytics can be the difference between having a huge bounce rate, or having a high conversion. It’s no secret- a sub-par customer experience can make or break your E-commerce. We know that having a site that puts up too many obstacles between the customer and the “purchase confirmation” is a conversion killer, and we’ve written plenty of articles on how to stop doing that. Regardless, there are still tons of E-commerce sites that are having trouble converting their visitors, and not taking advantage of the tools at their disposition to understand where their customers are dropping off.
Why should I gather data?
Google released a video a few years ago on their youtube channel which is still a great example of customer experience flaws in E-commerce. Tongue-in-cheek humor, it explains several obstacles deemed acceptable in E-commerce that we’d never accept in a brick and mortar.
The video takes place in your average grocery store, where a man is trying to purchase a loaf of bread. His checkout experience is anything but smooth, starting off with a rough log-in phase where he can’t remember his account information. He then has to agree to a lengthy agreement which ends up in him “timing out” and you can feel the frustration that the actor expresses as he has to restart the log-in process from zero.
A particularly interesting moment is when the cashier holds up a card with CAPTCHA words written, asking the customer to confirm that he is a “real person.” While it seems absurd in real life, this is a security measure that can be a headache when inexistent characters pop up, or when the CAPTCHA doesn’t display correctly.
After a grueling authentication experience, he finally gets to the payment phase, where he’s charged nearly 9 times the original price of the item. This seems ridiculous in real life- but we know that surprise charges (including delivery charges) are the #1 reason that customers abandon their carts.
After declining the bizarre “Bread Insurance” fee, the cashier tells him that he can come back in five business days to pick up his loaf of bread. The customer expresses that he needs it now, and the cashier indicates that the “Immediate take-home price” is four times the original price of the bread. Finally, the customer walks away without purchasing anything at all.
While this video has a humorous tone, it highlights several problems concerning customer experience in E-commerce, while showing us at the end that the customer will walk away if confronted with too many obstacles when trying to purchase. While it might be harder to walk away in real life, it’s far easier to do online, and online customers are quicker to abandon their purchase at even the slightest obstacle.
How do I set up Analytics?
Google Analytics is a tool we’re not shy to sing praises for. It’s the best thing since sliced bread (get it?).
Implementation is fairly simple: you start by making an analytics account linked to a Gmail account. I suggest making a specific Gmail account for your E-commerce in order to link all of your Google tools to the same place (in lieu of connecting it to your personal Gmail account).
From that point, you need to link your “property” (your site) to your Google Analytics account. The site will walk you through the process completely. You will have to choose an industry category as well as your time zone information, and etc. It’s all more or less straight forward.
The next step is to link your Analytics account back to your website. In your Analytics account, you go to Admin >> Account >> Property >> Tracking Info >> Tracking Code.
You copy your tracking code and you paste it into the HTML of your landing page (before the closing </head> tag). You should paste this code in all sites that you want to track. If you have a dynamic website (a website where the HTML is generated using a programming language such as Python, PHP, etc.) you want to use the PHP short code (in the small red square at the bottom).
For sites hosted where you can’t manage the source code, there are usually plugins specific to that hosting site that will link your analytics and your site automatically. Unfortunately, as is often the case, there may be fewer options that you can customize for data tracking.
From there, you can configure your data on the Analytics dashboard. There are loads of little things you can do at this point, like defining the country you want to target, what data you want to appear on your dashboard, and you can even set goals for your analytics to report on. Setting goals is particularly important, as Google will then propose solutions to help reach those goals.
Regardless, this site contains a wealth of information concerning how to configure and set up analytics for your website. If you want to go even further, there is a free online course that Google offers to teach you everything you ever needed to know about Google Analytics and how to interpret your data.
Tracking the hits to your E-commerce site is the first step to shining a light on who your audience is and what they like/don’t like about your site. Data is invaluable, and knowing what makes your customers abandon their purchases is the best way to improve your customer experience.
Any tools you prefer to use? Let us know below or Tweet us!