Numbers are a pretty big deal. Maybe not the number of times you’ve been to Europe or your Pac-Man high-score record – though, those are a big deal in other aspects of life – but rather, the stuff that businesses need to know and check daily. From annual gross sales to the cost of customer acquisition, businesses have a lot to track. But what are really important for your e-commerce business are your website’s stats and analytics.
Did I lose you at analytics? That’s OK; we’re going to break down the basic things every online store owner should track. But first, let’s talk about website analytics.
Web analytics is a tool used to measure and track the success of your website. It gives you insights about your website and valuable information about site visitors to help you improve your business. For non-techy business owners or e-commerce entrepreneurs just getting started, this wealth of information about your site might seem too difficult to understand, but it’s actually not. You can easily integrate tools like Google Analytics with your online store to make the installation simple – no coding required!
Why you need website analytics
Let’s say you own a brick-and-mortar business, a physical storefront. You can count how many customers walk through your doors, what products they’re instantly attracted to, their demographic, how many of your visitors actually purchased merchandise – you get the point. If you conduct all of your business online, you need website analytics to track this type of information. Without it, you’re essentially blind -- you’ll have no idea which marketing methods work and which ones don’t.
With website analytics tracking all of the things (and more) that you could track in a physical storefront, you can better understand the effectiveness of your marketing methods, get to know your visitors and their behaviors, and optimize your online store for increased sales.
In the end, it’s all about conversions – driving more traffic to your website and turning visitors into customers. And with a good understanding of your site’s metrics, you can grow and scale your business quickly.
What you need to start tracking today
Let me warn you – when you open your preferred analytics program, you’re going to see a bunch of graphs and charts. The world of Web metrics is full of data, but don’t get intimidated! You don’t need to understand all the measurements or track all of the data right off the bat. (That would be a form of torture, if you ask me.) Let’s start with the basics: who your visitors are, where they came from, and what they’re doing on your site.
Get to know your visitors
If you’ve never tracked your website’s analytics, then you likely don’t know much about your audience. Through analytics you can track their interests, demographics, language, location, behavior, whether they’re new or returning visitors, etc. And after you’ve determined who your customers are, you’ll know who your business attracts.
How is this helpful? Well, let’s just say your analytics show that the majority of visitors to your site are between the ages of 55 and 75. But the messaging on your modern and edgy online store is written in a style more appealing to a 25-year-old visitor. If you discover, through a deeper dive into your site’s analytics, that your visitors aren’t hanging around for long enough to buy, that could be one reason why.
Another example: Maybe you sell college sports memorabilia via your online store, and your analytics show you that you’re getting a lot of visitors from Georgia. Adding more Bulldogs memorabilia to your site could lead to a bump in sales. Awesome, right?!
Understand their path
Understanding how your customers found you is key to knowing if your marketing/outreach methods are working and which outlets are achieving the best results. Through analytics, for example, you can track visits to your online store from your Facebook page or a blog post you wrote for another website. You can see if and when traffic comes from myriad sources — enabling you to hone your marketing strategy to ultimately boost sales.
Glean insight into their habits
With analytics, you can begin to understand how visitors to your online store interact with your website. You can gain insight into their navigation habits, which pages they visit first, how much time they spend on each page, etc. This valuable information enables you to customize your site for an improved user experience — and more sales.
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