E-commerce: How to Use Analytics to Plug Holes in the Conversion Funnel
A good Web analytics platform can tell you a lot about how consumers act while they’re on your site, but how can you leverage that data to improve sales? The key is to view customer conversion not as a single numerical result at the end of the purchase cycle, but as an elongated process with many smaller conversions along the way, said Pinny Gniwisch, vice president of marketing at online jewelry merchant Ice.com during a session at the recent Mid Market eTail conference in San Francisco.
“We look at each section of the site as a number, or percent of the monetary value that the site generates,” he said. For instance, if you look at all of the visitors to Ice.com’s main site, 60 percent get to the product search page, 30 percent make it to the product details page and 3 percent actually place an order. Gniwisch noted that Ice.com looks at each piece of that conversion funnel, conducts A/B testing on each section and tries to convert more consumers at each stage. “If you increase each part of that funnel by one percent,” he said, “you see a 40 percent increase in sales conversion.”
Following are Gniwisch’s steps for effective analytics and testing:
1. To test each part of the site separately, Gniwisch noted that you may need more money in your testing budget. He recommended determining how much each portion of the site is worth to you, then showing your CEO how much you hope to gain by making changes.
2. Create a road map for testing. Once a budget is in place, determine which individual pieces of the conversion process you want to affect and in what order you want to change them, Gniwisch said. “You can change things on your home page and shopping cart at the same time, but be careful about changing more than one thing at a time on the same page,” he pointed out.