6 Website Metrics Every E-Commerce Business Owner Should Know
When a person owns a brick and mortar store, it’s essential that they keep track of certain things related to their store. Whether it’s utilities or tracking the number of visitors to the store, or tracking the number of sales, there are metrics that every store owner knows they must know to help their business stay profitable.
The same is true when you own an e-Commerce store. Metrics for your online store will help you keep track of where your business is coming from and what is helping make your store profitable. But there are a lot of statistics available to you. From Google Analytics to surveys, and even the number of visitors and the length of time they spend at your website, it’s easy to get lost in all the numbers. Your time is valuable, and you don’t have time chasing down everything. So to save you time and keep you focused on the big picture, here are the six website metrics every e-Commerce business owner should know.
Bounce and Exit Rate
Bounce and Exit Rate both tell you how your website’s visitors are leaving your store, but they track two entirely separate metrics. Each is extremely important for you to know so that you can increase all of your other metrics and increase your store’s profitability.
Bounce Rate is a metric that measures visitors that visit your site and immediately leave. This means that they don’t click on anything and they don’t spend a lot of time looking. You may also hear bounce rate called abandonment rate, but that’s a little different.
Bounce rate is important for you to know because it lets you know that something isn’t right. In some cases, your landing pages are driving people away. If you’re getting a lot of bounces on mobile, your pages might be loading slowly, or not optimized for mobile. There’s a general 3 second rule for mobile webpages where if your site doesn’t load in that time or less, people are more likely to bounce.
It could also be that you’re getting traffic from somewhere that isn’t very relevant. This is usually do to poor quality links. This can be either internal or external links. You want to be sure that when you have a link inbound, it connects to a page that is relevant and adds content to the source. That is, if you have a link inbound from a site about vacuum cleaners, it shouldn’t be linking to your amazing dehumidifier cleaning solution.
Your Exit metric will tell you how people who are browsing your site are leaving. This means you’ll see what pages they clicked out of and how long it took them to do so. Examining this metric will let you know if you have a multi-step process that you can perhaps streamline, or if your shopping cart checkout is turning them away somehow. An example of an exit metric that you should pay attention to is if people are abandoning shopping carts on later steps. That could mean that there’s a step there that people find onerous.
Browsing Time and Interactions
Tying in with your Bounce and Exit rates is another metric that you should be taking a closer look at. The Browsing Time lets you know how long people are spending on the various pages of your site. This can be considered a great indicator of how visitors rate the quality of your site. In most cases, the longer the time spent on your site, the better. There is a breaking point, however, where visitors are spending too long on your site. When you combine this metric with your exit page metric, you’ll be able to pinpoint trouble spots where visitors might be stalling and leaving your site out of frustration, rather than their business being completed.
Another important metric that you should pay attention to that ties in closely with the time spent on your site is the number of interactions they are taking. These interactions range from browsing your selection of products to reading your blog to everything in between. By tracking their behavior, you can pinpoint what people are spending time on your site doing, and from there, you can figure out how to turn those interactions into meaningful conversions.
This is an often-overlooked metric that can tell you a lot about where your traffic is coming from. People are going to land on nearly every page of your website at some point or another. When you examine this metric, you’re going to see what pages your customers are landing on.
Understanding this metric presents you with two unique opportunities. While every one of the pages on your site should be easy to navigate, if you have a set of pages that most of your customers are landing on, you should make sure that those pages are uniquely set up so that it’s easy to access the rest of your site. After all, while it’s only natural that your home page be the focus of your primary advertisements and sales, knowing that specific pages are likely to make your first impression means that you can place specific calls to action on those pages as well.
Unique and Return Visits
You definitely want to know who’s visiting your site. When you see this metric, you may be dazzled by the number of visits you get in a month. However, you don’t want to look at your overall number of visits. There are three specific type of visit that you should be focusing on instead.
First, look at the number of unique visitors. That means the number of individual people who visited your website at any time during your metric period. This means that if your mom visits your site once per day, your overall visit number may be 30, but your unique visit number is only 1. This gives you a more accurate view of how much business your site is attracting. This will help you judge the efficacy of any marketing that is done where it cannot be tracked by the referral metric.
The second and third numbers you want to look at are the number of new visitors and the number of return visitors. The number of return visitors tells you how good your site is. If you have a huge number of new visitors but only a small number of return visitors, you’re going to want to look and see why they aren’t returning.
Where are Your Visits Coming From?
This metric is usually called the Referral metric. It looks at how your e-Commerce store’s visitors arrive at your website. There are three primary ways that most visitors will get there.
The first group comes to you directly. They are the ones that type your website’s address into their browser and visit without any need for referral.
The second group are visitors that find out about your website through referral links. These find out about your products and website from other blogs or links that post to you. This will also track any links from social media sites as well.
The final group is going to be the largest. These referrals come from search engines, letting you know how well you’re ranking on certain search terms.
Once you know this information, you can begin to drill down into everything that is helping people find you. Narrowing down effective keywords is only the beginning. You can also gauge the effectiveness of your paid ad campaigns and see how well your social media manager is at driving traffic to you.
Another key part of this metric is the ability to see what blogs or websites you should be forging a stronger relationship with. If you’re already getting traffic from a specific website, partnering with them will only strengthen the quality and rate of referrals you’re getting. Guest blog posts are a great way to do this; write something that your staff is strong on for their site and they write one for you. You can seed quality links in the article directing traffic back to you, and vice-versa.
This is perhaps one of the most important metrics to know, mainly because you can use this information to attract more visitors and increase the number of conversions. This of course translates into sheer profitability.
Pretty much everyone agrees that the end goal of any e-Commerce website is to attract meaningful conversions. Conversions refer to whatever the end goal is for your particular website. This can be making a sale, creating an account, signing up for an e-mail list; whatever you want your visitor to do. Your site can have multiple conversion goals, of course, and this metric allows you to keep track of what those are and how successful you are at getting your visitors to convert.
Keeping track of your conversion metrics will also help you track how well your site is working. For example, if you are getting a great conversion rate for people signing up for your newsletter, and that drops precipitously one month, chances are that there’s something wrong with your sign-up widget. The same is true for any other conversion.
Additionally, you will be able to parse your conversion rate to find out what it is for both new customers and return visitors. This will help you find out what you did correctly the first time to bring a customer back. It will also help you streamline your conversion path so that you can guide new customers to your desired goal.
Website metrics are an important part of running your e-Commerce business. With careful attention and some good statistical analysis, you have the keys to your kingdom. It’s just up to you to decide how to make the best use of that knowledge.
This is a guest post by Andrew Maff, Director of Marketing and Operations for Seller’s Choice, a full-service digital marketing agency for e-commerce sellers. Seller’s Choice provides uniquely personalized marketing and managed services for digital marketplace sellers, e-commerce merchants, and brand builders worldwide. You can learn more by emailing email@example.com or visiting here.