Using a Web Analytics Tool to Make Changes to the Website

December 28, 2008

Now that we have set up Coremetrics, tagged the site, and de-bugged the Coremetrics tags, now what? The first thing that I did was run some reports and make sure the reports where showing up the way that I wanted them to and I ran a few Clickstream reports. Since I worked for an eCommerce company, after I got used to the interface and ran a few reports, I wanted to concentrate on the checkout process. Since we really never had a web analytics tool before, we never really knew how well our checkout process worked (or did not work). Our checkout process was five to seven pages, depending if you had one our catalogs (the longer checkout process if you had a catalog). I had a hypothesis that the longer checkout process was confusing and frustrating to our customers. Of course it was just a hypothesis and I wanted to have the numbers to back up my theory. After looking at all of these reports, I need to find a few reports that would best give me the information to determine how well the checkout process was working. When you go into a project like this, you really need to have a hypothesis of what you think is going to happen. My hypothesis in the case was that the longer checkout was confusing and frustrating and that we had a high shopping cart abandonment rate. To help me determine if my hypothesis was correct or not I first ran a funnel (or fall-out) report to see which step in the checkout process, if any, the visitors were abandoning the most.

After running the funnel report, I saw that a majority of our visitors did make it past step 3. Step 3 is where the visitor would enter the catalog number from the back page of the catalog so we could give credit to that catalog for driving the sale. So, for our previous customers who made a purchase through our call center were having a hard ordering on the site. Really!? That is not good. After I ran the funnel report, I then ran a clickstream report from Step 3, to see where the visitors were going who abandoned from Step 3. A majority of those who abandoned from Step 3 had left the site. They were not sure where to get the code from the catalog and the visitors thought they could not continue and so they just left the site.

There are two things we could have done here. First, we could left all of the steps as they were and put better documentation on the site on where to find the code or we could have eliminated step 2 and step 3 and the visitor enter the catalog code on the billing page. We decided to go with the second scenario. This allowed us to drop two of the checkout pages, streamline the checkout process, and put better documentation (pop-up with an example) on the billing page. By making this change, we reduced the registration process from three pages to one page and reduced the checkout process from five to seven pages down to four pages. By making this change, we saw an increase of 23% in the number of customers completing the checkout process, which drove a 10% increase in sales on the site.

Here is a link to the case study that was done on our effort.
Internet Retailer Article


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