August 5, 2010 • Article by Nettie Wells
For any given e-Commerce site worth its salt, there should be a clearly defined pathway which guides a user towards a sale. This process is recognisable to anyone who has bought a product online; it’s usually a variation of the following:
- You add a product to your basket
- You enter your delivery information
- You enter your credit card information
- You confirm the order
It’s all very straightforward really; the more reliable the pathway, the more confident your user will be in completing a purchase. The thing is, we’ve all visited e-Commerce sites where you get this niggly feeling that something isn’t quite right and so end up buying the product elsewhere. The truth of the matter is that there is probably nothing untrustworthy about the business at all. The issue is that people don’t trust the way they have set out the pathway and this suspicion is costing that business sales.
This is where Google Analytics comes in. With Google Analytics you can customise goals to observe where people enter and leave this pathway. This is what we call a funnel. By adding in all the URL headings for each required stage of the pathway it is possible to track where people enter the funnel, how many people leave (and where) as well as how many people convert through every stage.
By using Analytics to find where people leave the funnel you can identify potential issues with how your pathway is constructed (you might have credit card information before delivery options for example) or whether there is content on that particular page which is causing users to abort the purchase process (e.g. forcing both home and mobile telephone numbers). After rectifying any issues with these pages you should continue to measure how the funnel performs. As soon as you see that order completion metric shoot up you know you’ve done a good job.