Fix Your Funnel with IBM Digital Analytics (Part One)
Smarter Commerce Blog
You take your car in to the shop for a tune-up. You go to the doctors for checkups. So, doesn’t it make sense to spend a little time doing the same for your checkout process? After all, unknown problems with your checkout could be costing you a lot of money.
Successful companies continually test, tweak and evolve their websites, because they know that by not doing so, they’re really leaving money on the table. They know that the most dangerous assumption to make is that, if no one is complaining and they are making sales, things must be fine.
In the U.S., $83 billion is lost each year because of poor customer experiences.
Now that we agree that we agree that a checkout checkup is probably a good idea, what do you do? Where do you start?
Begin at the Beginning – Benchmark
You can’t know how to improve something, if you don’t know the current performance. You need to benchmark to understand the current performance. You’ll probably want a little history, as well. Going too far back, looking at several years’ year-over-year performance may result in disappointment. It’s not uncommon for an unattended funnel’s performance to see a steady decline. There are lots of reasons for this, but probably a topic for another day.
IBM Benchmark – Top Line Trends
Reports like the Top Line Metrics report provide not only a great executive summary of your site’s performance, but switching the view to a Trend can provide even more insight, charting historic performance.
You’ll certainly want to focus on your Conversion Rate. But there are other metrics, too. Check out the Cart Abandonment Rate, Average Order Value, Items per Order, New and Repeat Buyers.
Now that you know how you’re doing, take a look at how your performance stacks up to your competition. Retailers are lucky to be able to use the Benchmark module to not only see their performance compared to others in the retail industry, but they also can compare to their specific category – like Apparel or Specialty, just to name a few.
And it is not just performance of the site in terms of conversion rate, stickiness and conversion rate by sources. There are many performance metrics to compare. There are even social and mobile (by device type) reports.
Now That You Have a Baseline, What’s Next?
Take a Closer Look
It’s time to take a deeper dive. There are several reports you’ll want to examine. First, let’s look at the funnel reports. You probably noticed there are two standard funnel reports in the Path reports section. Standard means that you did not have to do anything to create those reports – they just showed up.
Why Two Funnel Reports?
The two different funnel reports focus on two different views – Sessions and Visitors. Sessions show the conversion rates for each step of the funnel in relation to all Visitors. The Visitors Funnel focuses only on Unique Visitors. Depending on your site, one may show a higher conversion rate than the other. For example, if you have very few repeat customers, the Visitor Funnel may show a higher conversion percentage.
It may be that your checkout process has multiple steps that are not accounted for in the standard funnel reports. If that is the case, you can use the browser-plugin to create a True Path Funnel report that tracks all of the steps in your process. Simply download and install the plugin. To create the funnel report, just navigate through your checkout process and drag and drop the pages into the funnel.
The great thing about the True Path Funnel is that you can apply metrics like ‘Departing Session Revenue ‘to literally see how much ‘money is being left on the table’ by abandoners.
Analyzing the Bottom of the Funnel – The Checkout Pages
You see the pages where visitors abandon the funnel. But where are they going? The Clickstream reports can answer this question. It is a good idea to set up a Clickstream report for each page in your checkout process.
The Clickstream reports shows where visitors go from that page (although they also can be created to see how a visitor got to a certain page).
An extremely useful report, that you may not even know exists, can be found in the Content reports section – the Forms report. The Forms report is another standard report. Use this report to understand where (i.e. from which field) are visitors abandoning the form. You may be surprised to find you have an unusual or usually not required field required, which could be driving a higher than expected form abandonment rate.
One final report to turn to is the LIVEview You access this report using the same browser plugin described above.
The LIVEview superimposes the percentage of visitors who clicked on links on your actual website. What you may find is pages that have blatant usability issues, like product pages where there are no ‘Add to Cart’ buttons.
In sum, this is just a small sample of the optimization reports and features available in the IBM Digital Analytics bundle. Whether you’re a seasoned user or just beginning, I hope this short tutorial was useful for helping you make your conversion funnel a little less “leaky.”
Stay tuned! Next week, we’ll be doing a deep-dive on improving cart abandonment rates. Until then, let us know – what are your greatest challenges in optimizing your conversion funnel?