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10 Metrics Every eCommerce Site Should Monitor

by Justin Palmer - October 8th, 2007

We’ve all heard it said “you don’t lose wait by weighing yourself.” However, I beg to differ. Not in regards to weight loss, but rather in reference to monitoring web analytics. Everytime I check my site stats and see improvement, I’m motivated to create even better results.

Below I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be the most important metrics to monitor for eCommerce sites.

  1. New Visitor Conversion Rate: Most etailers rarely differentiate between their new and return visitor conversion rates. By isolating the new visitor conversion rate, you’ll be able to see a clearer picture of what’s happening when first time visitors land on your site from search engines or other ad campaigns.
  2. Return Visitor Conversion Rate: Unfortunately, not everyone buys on the first visit. The next best thing, however, is getting them back to your site. By analyzing your return visitor conversion rate, you’ll see how likely you are to convert your return traffic. Most likely, you’ll find that your return visitor conversion rate is the higher of the two.
  3. Pageviews / Visit: Pageviews per visit can reflect how well your site engages your audience. An increasing number of pageviews per visit can indicate that your content is interesting, therefore visitors are spending more time browsing it. However, a high pageviews per visit metric can also indicate unecessarily complication processes such as checkout or product browsing.
  4. Items / Order: If your site has a suggested product feature to encourage add-ons, you would benefit by tracking how many items you sell per order.
  5. Average Order Value: While your target average order value will vary greatly based on your industry, it would be wise to monitor this metric over time. Ideally, you’d like to see a year over year increase.
  6. Landing Page Bounce Rates: A bounce occurs when a visitor visits a page on your site, and immediately clicks away and goes no further. High bounce rates can be caused by a number of factors including excessive loading times, irrelevant content, unnactractive site design, etc. Be sure to monitor your bounce rates on all your important entry pages including your home page and any SEO or PPC landing pages.
  7. Landing Page Load Times: As mentioned above, excessive page load time can wreak havoc on your bounce rates. Monitor your page load times on different connection speeds with this free tool from WebSiteOptimization.com
  8. Traffic Sources: Google analytics breaks visit sources into 3 categories: Direct visits (from typing your URL directly), Search engines visits (both SEO and PPC), and refferring sites (any other sites linking to yours). Obviously, the percentage of visits from each of these sources will vary for every site. However, as your brand grows, you’d like to see more visits coming from direct URL entry. These tend to convert better.
  9. Orders Per Customer Per Year: Come up with a calculation of how many times a customer order per given time period. This serves as a good tool for determining how much you can afford to spend on marketing or re-marketing.
  10. Shopping Cart/Checkout Abandonment Rate: Measure what percentage of visitors abandon the shopping process at each step in your checkout. For example, how many abandon after adding an item to the cart? After entering shipping & billing info? After entering credit card info? Too high of an abandonment rate could signal a serious checkout problem.

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Palmer Web Marketing blog offers web usability advice and SEO Tips for e-Commerce sites.  Palmer Web Marketing also offers ethical SEO services and expert e-commerce consulting.


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