Posted by Laura Hills, VP of Marketing
If you operate a brick and mortar retail store, it is easy to ask customers how they found you. And, you can see firsthand which products are selling and which may require further explanations to help the shopper understand either how to use the product or how it would fit them, if, for example, they’re looking at apparel.
Running an online retail business is a different story. Do you know who is visiting your website? Where are they coming from? What do they like or dislike? Getting these answers is not so easy to do with customers who visit you online but the information is available to you. The information can be found through online analytics. Analytics are a valuable asset when it comes to your website and your online marketing efforts. The more informed you are about customer interactions with your eCommerce store and the products you sell online, the more effective your marketing efforts and your site will be to drive sales.
It’s so important to understand where your visitors are coming from and how they found you– whether they reached you directly, via a search engine, through social networks or other referring sites. An analysis of website visitors helps you keep track of new and returning visitors.
Through tools like Google Analytics, you can capture and analyze how much time people are spending on your site and which pages on your site are attracting the most attention. Monitoring website analytics on a fairly frequent basis can make all the difference to growing your online business. We have found that there are two critical areas where even simple analytics can help to hone your web marketing strategy effectiveness.
The first centers around Internet search keywords. Keywords drive traffic, messaging and sales. Analytics can help you determine which keywords are working and which keywords are not. Words or phrases that you thought described your product may not be what online visitors use to search for your product and find your site. You may have the right keyword, but the wrong content surrounding it.
You don’t have to manage hundreds of keywords. In fact, most PayPerClick (PPC) and SEO experts will agree that you should keep your primary keyword list under 25 or even under 15. These are the words that shoppers would use to find the products you offer and/or to find you, in particular. They can be common terms for the market(s) you serve coupled with your differentiators. For example, in the fashion apparel market, popular keywords may include ‘women fashion shoes’, ‘fashion accessories’, ‘vintage handbags’ … to name a few. You can actually search for ‘common retail search keywords’ and then check out those listed for your specific audience.
The second centers around your landing pages. If you don’t have the time to analyze your site’s keyword performance in depth every day, we recommend, at a minimum, understanding your landing page content relative to your most important keywords. Understanding key website performance indicators like the ones listed below will help to maximize its overall effectiveness.
It is important to know how many people landed on a page that may have been designed to support a specific promotion, how many people exited the page quickly, where they came from, what keyword they searched to get there, how long they spent on a page? You can also track results by seeing if they converted.
Your home page is often the top landing page and it typically can have the highest bounce rate if visitors don’t find what they’re looking for right away or if the messaging doesn’t match what they searched for in the first place. Test a few different designs and messages to find which ones offer the lowest bounce rate and drive the most conversions overall.
Secondary pages or internal landing pages are often the most valuable parts of your site. These pages often contain the specific information your customers are looking for. Designed properly, internal pages answer your customers’ questions and drive them to convert.
Break down the top landing pages and evaluate what makes them successful. Analytics can tell you what keywords your site visitors used to get there to help you refine your content. Define the type of content on that page and the calls to action (CTAs) you are using. See if this can this be replicated on other pages. This type of analysis gives you key information on how customers interact with your site and how you can provide them with a great experience by having the right design and content.
Many of our retail customers are finding the effective use of videos to support product descriptions. A short video can not only showcase a product and drive sales, they can also cut down on the common ‘how to’ customer support calls.
Consider the following in analyzing your site:
- What are the top landing pages?
- Which pages have the highest bounce rate?
- What pages do people spend the most time on?
- Which pages lead to the most conversions?
- Which campaigns led to the best sales performance?
Effective website analytics can help you to find out which of your marketing strategies and tactics are bringing the most customers to your site – whether it is a newsletter, social media posts, email promotions, club memberships or other marketing programs you are using. The more informed you are relative to customer interactions with your site, the more effective (and more efficient) your marketing efforts will be.
Online marketing methods need to be supported by web analytics so that you know what is working, where your shoppers are coming from and what you can do to attract customers. If you don’t already have good analytics in place, make this the year that you add this function so that you can run your site more efficiently.
If you haven’t heard about omnichannel retailing, it’s the latest buzz around giving customers a 360 degree experience with your business. If you’re interesting in learning more about omnichannel retailing and the latest trends in people finding you and experiencing your brand, check out this on demand webinar: Demystifying Omnichannel Retailing: Finding Value in a Multichannel Sales Landscape.