It is important to keep a close eye on the statistics your e-commerce site provides to ensure that you are correctly targeting your content to your likely audience, and therefore making every sale that should be available to you. Not only that, but you need to be encouraging your potential and actual customers to engage with you, so that you can work on converting them to a customer for life, as well as utilising their network to promote your products more widely.

The big problem with traffic statistics is that invariably they do not easily indicate the different types of individuals who are arriving on your site. You cannot necessarily discover from your traffic stats whether that visitor came to buy, browse, bargain hunt, or research. There is no one size fits all for content on an e-commerce site, and it can be difficult to ensure that the information most likely to convert to a sale is easily discoverable by the right audience. After all, each type of user may come looking for slightly different things and act upon the information in different ways.

This is where metrics and measurements come in handy. By profiling the different shoppers and visitors to your website, you can begin to understand the different categories of users your promotional campaigns drive to your websites, and hence target information specifically to those visitors. By encouraging them to sign up to a newsletter, open an account, complete a feedback form or survey, or engage with a live contact person, you can begin to build up a picture of the types of people who visit your e-commerce site.

Why? You need to discover who is visiting your site, what their intentions are, and whether you are delivering precisely that they seek.

If you discover that a link on a particular site always leads to a sale of a discount item, or products that are on sale, or multi-buys, you can assume that the majority of those visitors are bargain hunters. Therefore, you can set up a landing page that specifically caters to those seeking a great price or a bargain, and push all of your lower priced deals to those customers immediately they follow the link from the originating site. There is no point pushing the highest spec products to those who are looking for bargain unless your price is highly competitive.

By looking at which type of visitor your backlinks and certain Pay Per Click campaigns or keywords drive to the site, you can adapt the content or landing pages to suit. Conversion rates can be measured and tweaks and changes made to landing pages to test those rates and increase them.

If you see that you have return visitors who regularly buy, then it is worth targetting those customers with a newsletter highlighting products they have shown an interest in or previously purchased, offer quarterly (or whatever timescale suits them) coupons, discounts and vouchers to repeat customers, and so on. By adding the option to open an account – this should not be compulsory for a first or one-off purchase – you can track our best customers and look after them.

Another way to motivate your customers is to offer an affiliate program that rewards them for their loyalty and promotion of your products and services. This does not necessarily mean purchasing expensive affiliate administration software, and may just mean assigning a single person within the business to communicate with your affiliates to ensure that the relationship is managed so as to be mutually beneficial.

You may discover that there are a number of customers who regularly put multiple items in their shopping basket before checking out, and then remove some of them. If this is the case, you need to check your pricing and shipping costs, and ensure that they are competitive, as well as clearly indicated at the point of purchase. Additionally, if you find a large number of shoppers dropping out before the sale, you must check the usability and functionality of your e-commerce software for ease of use and errors.

By examining the statistics, and applying a few techniques to gather information and then assess it for patterns, you can easily access the goldmine of information which your visitors leave behind. With carefully tailored calls to action, designed to meet your required results and tested regularly to ensure that you are hitting the right targets with your visitors, you can increase the number of responses and thereby achieve what you require from your ecommerce site.

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.