For e-commerce sites, it is very important to track and improve conversion ratios. And, in Turning Visits Into Action, many conversion ratio improvement tactics and techniques are explained in detail. But for some e-commerce sites, conversion rates need to be tracked one page at a time.
“You may have 500 visitors reaching your shopping cart page while at the same time you are generating 10 orders.”
An overall site conversion ratio may not provide the level of detail needed to make the greatest possible improvements. An overall conversion ratio would be calculated by taking the number of orders generated and dividing it by the total number of visitors to arrive at a percentage. But some sites may have traffic coming to many different areas for reasons other than purchasing – content areas of general interest, financial information, job seekers, etc. To really expose specific areas of improvement, it might be necessary to break the stats down to further level of detail.
For example, you may want to calculate a conversion ratio based on the number of visitors reaching your “shopping cart” page. This way, you can make improvements to your shopping cart page and know that your results aren’t being skewed by traffic to other areas of your site. You may have 500 visitors reaching your shopping cart page while at the same time you are generating 10 orders. Your conversion ratio is 2% for this comparison. By making improvements to your shopping cart page, you may see this ratio improve to 5% – generating 25 orders for every 500 visitors to this page.
Similarly, you may want calculate a conversion ratio for sales of a specific product based on the number of visitors coming to that specific product’s information page. You may have 10 Widget orders for every 250 visitors to the Widget overview page. This works out to be a conversion ratio of 4% for this comparison. Improvements to the Widget overview page may yield 25 Widget orders for every 250 visitors – increasing the conversion ratio to 10%.
If your sales process requires multiple steps, you might want to track conversions from one page to the next. The first page of your sales process might get 1000 visitors, while the second page shows 500 visitors – you have a 50% conversion rate from the first page to the next. You can make improvements to the first page and try to get the ratio up to 60%, or 75%. In this manner, you can improve the conversion ratio of a multi-step sales process one page at a time to finally increase your sales ratio overall.
“Some sites may have traffic coming to many different areas for reasons other than purchasing…”
You can track these multiple comparisons in a spreadsheet by pulling visitor information from your site traffic reporting tools and combining it with order information. Of course, visitor information is rarely exact, but it is intended to provide a relative data point – if the data is off, at least it will be off consistently. A spreadsheet like this, developed over time, can provide you the detailed type of analysis necessary to improve the critical “cogs” of your online sales machine.
Kim Wingate of AvidSurfer, is the publisher of “Big Time Banner Advertising” and “Turning Visits Into Action.” Both of these informative Web business manuals, as well as a FREE conversion ratio case study, can be found online at: http://www.avidsurfer.com/