20 Ways to Improve Shopping Cart Conversion and Abandonment

January 29th, 2015


Everyday, eCommerce websites lose out on sales when potential customers abandon their online shopping carts. In fact, the average shopping cart abandonment rate stands at ~68%. That’s roughly 7 out of every 10 shoppers that start the buying process, never finish the transaction. Yikes, that’s a big number! So how can we reduce that number and recoup some of that lost revenue? Well the good news is that many of those customer were either on the fence of pushing the buy button or where distracted in some fashion. Let’s look at some of the possible reasons a customer abandoned the process in the first place:

  • The buyer was surprised by the shipping charges.
  • The buyer was comparison shopping.
  • The buyer was in a hurry and ran out of time to finish the purchase.
  • The kids were screaming and fighting.
  • The internet connection failed.
  • The shopping cart expired.
  • The buyer found a better price.
  • Product availability changed.

Ok, so you get the point that there are many different scenarios for a customer to abandon the cart before purchasing their items.

Let’s start by looking at improvements that can be made prior to the cart abandonment which might help reduce the number of customers leaving the process before purchasing the items.

Pre Cart Abandonment

  • Don’t up sell or cross sell during the checkout process, users can get easily distracted.
  • Use your blog to highlight/review new products, educate visitors on product benefits/uses, announce special deals and sales.
  • Make sure to create a FAQ page which contains answers to the most common questions customers will have.
  • Have a return policy page and list the acceptable reasons and process for returns.
  • Offer a “Checkout as Guest” option on your website for those customers not wanting to register.
  • Run a promotion or sale every so often to entice new customers and reward current ones.
  • Offer free or discounted shipping to customers and add some of it to the price of the product to offset the cost.
  • Make sure to show stock inventory if there is a limited number of a particular type of product.
  • Try to show product images in real life situations if possible and use multiple images to show all angles of the product.
  • Don’t just list the features of the product being sold, also include any benefits the product may have to the customer.

No matter what you do or how amazing your shopping cart is, there will always be customer’s that abandon the buying process for one reason or another. This leads us to the post cart abandonment process. Obviously, we want to convert as many of those abandon carts or warm leads into paying customers as we can. So what can we do?

Post Cart Abandonment

Once the customer has abandoned the cart, there are couple of options depending on what information was collected during the signup process. Studies show that the best time to follow up with your customer is between 6 and 24 hours after they have abandoned the shopping process.

The first option, but probably not the most popular, would be to call the customer (assuming they provided their phone number during the buying process) and ask them to do a quick survey on why they didn’t purchase the items during checkout. It’s best to keep the survey simple and short. You could also entice the customer with a discount coupon, promo code or free shipping code for completing the survey. This might get the customer to reconsider the purchase.

The second option and a pretty simple solution, consists of emailing the customer through a personalized message or otherwise known as abandoned cart email marketing. This process should take into consideration of the reasons why the customer abandoned the buying process in the first place.

Below are few ways to create some of those emails. Keep in mind that you should vary these emails and try different combinations so customers don’t get use to or even expect a discount.

  • Send a Reminder: Send customers a gentle reminder (and a link to their cart) that there are still products sitting in their shopping cart.
  • Show Them More: Send customers product reviews or information on the items in their cart with similar items to compare.
  • Free Shipping: Send customers a coupon for free shipping along with a link to their shopping cart.
  • Promo Code/Discount: Send customers a promotion or discount code to sweeten the deal.
  • Create Some Urgency!: Add a time limit to the email offer. This can be applied to any of the emails above.
  • Low Inventory?: Send a warning to customers that the products in their shopping carts may sell out or have very limited quantities.
  • New Products: Send customers a follow up email after sending the initial cart reminder with new products that are similar to the ones the customer had in their cart.
  • Promote the Return Policy: Send the customer details of your return policy and special details or FAQs.


No matter what you decide, whether it’s a single follow up email or a multiple stage campaign, keep your emails simple and focused.

Crafting a Cart Recovery Email

Creating an effective cart recovery email can make all the difference in the customer’s decision to revisit the buying process. Each email can be broken down into three sections:

  •  Subject Line: Make sure this grabs the customer’s attention as it’s the first thing they will see.
  • Email Copy: Including the right tone (e.g. funny, serious, etc.) and  calls to action can make a difference in the click thru rate.
  • Images: Using images in the email can also boost the recovery rate.

Grab Their Attention

Writing a great subject line can be a make or break statement that will determine the amount of interaction you get from your customers. You might only have a few seconds to capture their attention and convince them to click on your email. There are many different combinations that can be used to do this such as personalizing the subject line, adding product names, including numbers and so on. Below are a few examples using these techniques:

  • You wouldn’t throw $20 away…would you?
  • Did you forget something? We can help!
  • Jay, there’s still time get those items!
  • Last chance to get 15% off those shoes you liked!
  • One of the items in your cart is almost sold out. Don’t miss out!

The email content is just as important once the customer opens the email. Sending a plain text email is probably better than nothing (if you do make sure to at least include some type of image) but to get the best results you should send the email in HTML and include images of either the products or something to grab their attention. A rule of thumb is maintaining a ratio of 30% images and 70% text.

Example Emails

Here are few sample cart recovery emails (followed by a link to a collection of other examples) to get a better idea of what they can consist of.





Click Here to See More

Don’t be scared to test with different techniques and subject lines to determine what works best for you and your customers. Responding to those warm leads in a timely manner can lead to 10-20% boost to your online revenue.

Category: Featured, Marketing

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eCommerce Website Building: Where Do I Start?

February 10th, 2014

Building an eCommerce website isn’t something that is really cut and dry. There’s a huge variety of products and services that can either help you get your website where you want it or simply confuse you. It’s also important that you make the right choices upfront so that you don’t end up having to restructure your whole website because of some problem in your design layout. The level of time investment necessary for mastery in many software packages can range from little to a VERY significant amount.

Where you should start greatly depends on what you plan on attempting to do and how deep you’re going to dive in. For a moderately professional, clean looking website without a lot of automation or intensive graphics you can probably get by with some basic knowledge of HTML, ability with a good WYSIWYG editor and an image editing program. On the other hand, if you’re someone that’s looking to build something that will really wow your audience then you might consider spending some major time learning HTML, CSS and PHP or similar languages.

What is a “WYSIWYG” editor?
A WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor is what allows you to get by with minimal knowledge of HTML. Yes, that means you don’t have to know EVERYTHING about HTML to have a decent looking website. When you use a WYSIWYG editor it interprets what you’re doing (inserting an image for example) as being a certain series of HTML tags with attributes and does it for you… Thus, what you see on your screen is what you get. Instead of seeing a bunch of HTML code in text format, you’ll mostly see what will actually show up in your browser once your website is live.

Image editing? What do I need that for?
Okay, let’s be realistic here: If you’re going to make a professional *appearing* website it’s important that you can make some basic, decent looking graphics. There’s a lot of graphics programs that can truly get the job done, but as far as power and flexibility goes I recommend Adobe Photoshop or GIMP (which is free). Both programs are great and if you’re going to learn ANY image editing software I recommend you start with GIMP because of it’s ease of use plus it’s FREE! You can also have your images created by low cost sites such as 99Designs or Fiverr.

There are some SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions for eCommerce out there as well. Some have WYSIWYG editors but most require some programming knowledge. Depending on your needs and skills, a TurnkeyShop eCommerce store can be a great way to easily get started.

Category: Advice, Ecommerce 101, Featured
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Article Writing: Can It Help My Online Store?

May 10th, 2012

Online businesses take time to grow, especially in the first year. If your online store is quiet and you’re waiting for visitors to come and buy, it’s easy to get discouraged. The moment the advertising ends, so does your traffic.

What if you could get visitors to your online store for free? And, not just that, the visitors keep coming for years to come. How does that sound? One of the best methods of generating traffic to your website is by writing and sharing articles. This is not a  ‘get rich quick’ or some other type of scam. It’s just plain old fashioned article marketing.

Now, even if you aren’t a writer, you can use this method of getting traffic. It doesn’t take a degree in Literature to succeed in article marketing. All it takes is a little time and energy. If you have that – you can get traffic to your website.

It’s actually quite simple and it is underused, especially in ecommerce businesses.

All you need to do is write a short, simple, helpful article about something related to your online store. If you sell makeup, then write an article about how to choose a foundation color, or how to care for your skin during the winter. Or write a review about a particular product you sell. Once you’ve written your article, you submit it to the article directories.

Article directories are libraries of free articles. They are collections of articles that website and blog owners can use on their sites for free. The only stipulation is that everyone who publishes your article must include your author bio at the end which is where you include your website URL and some intriguing information about your online store.

Having articles in various article directories is a great way of providing links back to your online store, thus building your site’s popularity. When a page has many links back to it it helps to attain a good placement in the search engine results. An article directory which has a high page rank is the best place to submit articles, as this helps to boost your page’s rank as well.

During the process of article marketing, don’t submit an article that is already on your own website without modifying or spinning it to give it at least 25% uniqueness. It could be considered duplicate content if you just submit copies to all the article directories and you don’t want that!

Use keywords in your article’s title and in the beginning of the first paragraph. Spread your chosen keyword/phrase throughout the article as well.

Most article directories allow you to use hyperlinks. For superior article marketing, use anchor text that relates to the keywords you are targeting. This will help you attain a better position in the SERP’s (search engine result pages). If you are targeting “makeup tips” make sure to hyperlink those keywords/phrases in your article or bio box. This will help your online store get higher in the search results for the term “makeup tips”.

Here are a few article directories to submit your articles to: EzineArticles.com, GoArticles.com, Amazines.com, ArticleDashboard.com, Buzzle.com, iSnare.com

In summary, article marketing should be an important element of ecommerce marketing. Now that you see how simple this free method of generating traffic is, give it a try. You have nothing to lose and much to gain.

Category: Advice, Featured, Marketing, Traffic Building
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How To Build Repeat Business Using Autoresponders

October 23rd, 2018

The aim of a sales page on a website is to give your customers only two options; buy your product or leave your website. Why let them leave without giving yourself another chance to sell to them? You don’t have to… You can set up a system which will give you many opportunities to sell your product or service to each single visitor to your sales page.

The secret is to use what is known as an autoresponder which is an email service you can use to save the contact details of your visitors and then to send them emails at set intervals.

To make use of an autoresponder you can either use the services of a third party supplier or you can purchase and install a script onto your website. To begin with it’s a lot easier to use a third party autoresponder.

Irrespective of whether you use a third party service or your own script, you will have to use a form to capture your visitors contact details. This form can be built into any HTML web page be it your sales page, or a page designed specifically for use as a popup.

The underlying concept behind the use of autoresponders is that people rarely buy on their first visit to a website. Research has shown that most people need repeated contact with an advertising message before they respond to it and purchase the product or service.

Autoresponders were designed for just this. You can load a series of advertising messages into your autoresponder and adjust it to send the messages at set intervals. That said, people react badly to advertising; in fact most people just plain ignore advertisements.

To get round this, you have to design your email series so that it is not perceived to be advertising. A good way to do this is to design your email series to include plenty of useful information; give your subscribers some good quality free information in each email and weave your advertisement into it.

For example, let’s assume you are selling an e-book titled “101 Dieting Tips”. You could create a series of 7 emails, each containing a single dieting tip. At the end of each email you could inform the reader of your e-book containing 101 tips and include a link to your sales page.

The bottom line is the content you include in your email series must be of very high quality; after all you are going to ask for somebody’s contact details in exchange for it.

Bear in mind nobody is going to sign up for your email series just you write it, or you include good content. In truth visitors to your website aren’t interested in you, they are interested in themselves. They have a problem they are trying to solve, and that’s why they ended up on your website; they thought they could find a solution there.

Another point worth considering is you are a relative unknown to the person visiting your website; they don’t know you or trust you. It’s because of this distrust that many people won’t buy your product or service on their first visit. If you can get them to subscribe, your email series should build up their trust to the point where they will buy your product or service.

First you have to get them to subscribe, and you do this by advertising you are giving away “free” tips which will help solve their problem. Your opt-in form must be prominently displayed on your sales page, build it into the content. You should also design a popup form that displays your opt-in form either when people first get to your site, or when they leave.

Finally, a properly designed opt-in form which causes many of your website visitors to subscribe to your information series will incorporate these three design tips:

1) Use a heading, in a larger font and of a different color to the rest of the form, which includes a major benefit. In other words, in as few words as possible, explain the biggest benefit your visitor will receive from subscribing to your information series.

2) In as few words as possible explain two or three additional benefits your reader will receive from subscribing to your opt-in list. A list of bullet points is the best way to do this.

3) Your primary objective is to get your visitor to join your opt-in list, so ask them to subscribe. Get into the conversation going on inside their mind, use words like “Yes! Send Me the Tips Now!” on the submit button of your form.

Category: Advice, Marketing, Traffic Building

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Five Ways To Get Visitors To Bookmark Your Website

June 5th, 2018

There are many factors to keeping someone’s interest on your website. It is not an easy task. Your ultimate goal is to get them to come back repeatedly. There is one precious commodity that most of us do not have much of – time. Naturally, you bookmark a website because it was impressionable enough for you to want to put it in your favorites. Now read about what will keep the customers coming back for more!

Before you consider setting up a website, you will need to have your goals in mind. Answering a few targeted questions will help you decide how to best approach setting up the site. Targeting your customer is very important. Their age, economic status and gender will play a part in deciding how you will need to market your site. For example, you would not sell jeans in larger sizes and higher waist styles to a junior teen sized woman. Good market research is the foundation for setting the goals of your site and marketing your site with your customer in mind. This is only the beginning and a mere part of the story of getting customers and keeping them.

You will need to look at how your customer interacts with the graphics and total site layout. Ask yourself is there any design flaws that stop them from going to the next page? Is there too many banners, buttons and graphics that confuse them? Is the text on the site clear and easy to understand? Is it confusing on directions about information on ordering?

Next, consider if your site leaves the customer with a feeling of confidence in your product and service. If the writing is timid, sparse or overtly braggadocio, it is more than likely, your customer will click away without so much as a thought of returning. Take some stock of others review of your site and work to improve on the writing. Remember though you will not be able to please everyone. Keep tweaking it until it is in line with the image you want to portray and the product it represents.

The third step is looking at the content of information on the site. Is the information relative to what you are selling? Is it up-to-date and does it helps the customer decide what they want to buy? Do you offer other content that will give your customer a sense that you care more about them than your wallet, such as information on a subject they might be interested in? This is where your market research will come in handy. A person that is in the age bracket of 30 – 35 will be much more interested in a retirement fund than a 20 – 25 year old. It is, of course, not a standard to cling to, but it is a market idea theory that you will need to tweak and refine for your site.

Communicating with your customer is a nice way to get them to come back and visit too. That is a real shot of personalization that will set your site apart from the others. Without trust and pleasant user experience, most customers will not return. Trust is a key value to happy customers and returning customers too.

It does seem like a lot of work to get your website up and running. The Internet is an impersonal arena with many busy people with limited time. To break through that barrier and capture their attention takes a lot of hard work and dedication on your part. As time goes by though you will be able to capture a loyal customer base that will want to return and buy again. It will not be because of tricks or just slick words. It will be because you care about your customer, and are determined to give them the very best website you can. You will love it when it happens.

Category: Advice, Traffic Building

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Four Online Marketing Techniques To Drive More Traffic

January 10th, 2018

The most popular question asked by many online marketers is how to drive more traffic to their websites. The answer to this question is easy: “Have your website exposure to as many internet surfers as possible, once people can find your website, there will be traffic flow into your website”. But to make your website successfully expose to internet users is not an easy task. Efforts, strategies and techniques need to put in place in order to make it as success. Below are 8 common online marketing techniques used by most online marketers to drive internet traffic to their websites:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Successful search engine optimization will greatly increase the number of visitors that come to your website since over 60% of people who are looking for products and services use search engines to locate them. If your website is ranked high in the related keyword search by the search engines, you will get tons of free internet traffic to your website.

One of the ways to optimize your website to be search engines friendly is by generating back links from other websites to your website. When websites provide a link to your site, the search engines deem your site as valuable and this affects your position in the listings.

2. Article Writing & Publishing

Articles are the greatest tool for online marketing. It helps in SEO by generating back links to your website and it also helps in getting exposure for your website through your articles’ hyperlinks.

By writing short articles on the topic related to your website, products or services, you can offer these articles for other website owners or newsletter publishers to use by submitting them to article directories, forums or blogs. When the publishers use your articles in their ezines or websites, they will remain your bio information which contains links to your website at the bottom of your articles, which means that the publishers will contribute their link from their websites to yours. These back links are counted in SEO. When their visitors who read your articles and if they want to know more about your products or services may click the hyperlinks at the bottom of your articles to reach to your website.

3. Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay Per Click is advertising provided by the search engine providers (Google, Yahoo! and others) where you pay for top placement. Most search engines give top positions to the highest bidder. It is a quick way to have your ad on the first page of the keyword search as listed in the search engines. There is a catch: you have to pay for every click to your web site. Make a budget and stick to it and make sure to monitor your account, those clicks add up fast.

4. Affiliate Marketing

An affiliate program is another way to drive traffic to your web site. Your affiliates are your commissions-based sales people who make money when they sell your products. They drive traffic to your web site in exchange for commissions on sales. If you don’t want to manage your affiliates yourself, you could subscribe to affiliate network such as ClickBank if your products are digital items. ClickBank marketplace is able to exposure your products to thousands of affiliates who are looking for products to sell online.

In Summary

Any internet business will die without traffic stream into their website. If you already get started your website for online business, it’s time for you to work out a marketing plan to flood it with traffic. The above four online marketing techniques are time tested & proven methods to drive more traffic to a website.

Category: Marketing, Traffic Building

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Improve Conversion Rates With Content

March 24th, 2017

Your site is getting traffic, but conversion rates are disappointing. You may have problems with the tone of your content

Do You Believe?

You must have passion for the product or service you are providing. If you don’t believe in it, why should visitors to your site? A lack of belief will result in weak content and poor conversion rates. If you are selling quality, you are doing the prospect a favor. The tone of your site should reflect this in the content.

To effectively convert prospects, every entry page of your site must tell visitors:

  1. What you offer,
  2. How they will benefit, and
  3. Demand they take action.

Entry Pages

Many sites have conversion problems related to entry pages. Most people automatically envision the home page as the sole entry path to the site. Sweat, blood and tears are spent making the home page just write. Conversely, a fraction of the same effort is applied to internal pages. This is a fundamental mistake.

If server statistics are checked, you may be surprised to find significant amounts of traffic entering your site through internal pages of your site. Yes, a large percentage of visitors are entering the site without seeing the home page. If your “hook” is only on the home page, your conversions will suffer. Make sure you have a concise summary of your service and the benefits on every entry page to the site and conversions will improve.

What You Offer

Tell visitors exactly what you do with the first sentence. Don’t be subtle. You only have a few seconds to get their attention. Don’t waste it. The opening sentence should read something like, “At XYZ, we offer quality tools at wholesale prices.” Bam! The prospect knows exactly what you are offering and if it fills their need.


Tell your prospect how they will benefit from doing business with you. Don’t assume they understand it. Again, be blunt with something like, “You save money when you buy from us because we have a low overhead and free shipping.” Bam! Now the visitor knows you sell tools at a low price. This combination should result in shopping activity if they have any need for the tool products.

Demand Action

What do you want prospects to do when they visit your site? At the end of your content, make sure you tell them. “Click here to order” is a perfectly fine statement, but adding a benefit is optimal. “Click here to order with free shipping” is a superior demand. Regardless, make sure you tell them what to do and make it is easy as possible to take the requested action.

If you are offering quality, you are doing clients a favor. Make sure the tone of your site reflects that fact.

Category: Advice, Marketing, Traffic Building

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E-Commerce Fundamentals and Fulfillment

October 18th, 2016

E-commerce or electronic commerce can be defined as the buying and selling of goods and services on the Internet. E-Commerce can be VERY complex. To offer a world class customer experience, retailers must incorporate technologies and functionality that exceeds rising customer expectations.

On the flip side however, site fundamentals still play a very large role in converting visitors into customers. Many retailers surprisingly lose sight of these site basics and leave significant sales on the table.

For proper implementation of e-commerce it is of immense importance to have an e-commerce site where one can get involved with the buying and selling of goods and services. To be successful, E-commerce site should contain a shopping cart system and a payment processing system.

Once your website has secured an order, you have to fulfill it. While the fulfillment of digital goods is usually handled online, the delivery of physical goods is handled in a “brick-and-mortar” world. When choosing a fulfillment company for your e-commerce operation, you need to evaluate both fulfillment services and e-commerce services for order processing.

Evaluating Fulfillment Services

Fulfillment services includes receiving, inventorying, warehousing, delivery, record-keeping and customer inquiries. You have options to outsource part of or all of fulfillment services to a third party.

Receiving – This is the process that fulfillment vendors acquire goods from suppliers and the accuracy of services starts at the receiving.

Inventorying – The skills of inventory management directly impact the quality and cost of fulfillment. If inventory is out of stock, you may lose customers. If inventory level is too high, it may increase the cost of inventory.

Warehousing – Physical goods are stored in a warehouse and valuable items are usually stored in secure storage. While fulfillment companies have their warehouses and distribution centers, small businesses can store goods in their garages or basements.

Shipping – For order fulfillment, goods are delivered to customers in various shipping methods – ground, overnight, etc. at fulfillment centers. Customers specify shipping methods when they place their orders and the fulfillment companies may adjust the shipping methods of the delivery.

Return and Order Inquiry – Customer Service Reps at fulfillment companies can handle return and refund for their clients. Most ecommerce sites allow customers to view their orders and status of fulfillment online.

Timely delivery is one aspect that requires careful attention. In fact, timely delivery is one of the three main dimensions of competitiveness, the others being quality and cost. Timely delivery is also dependent, like quality and cost, on productivity, managerial effectiveness and infrastructural support.
For e-commerce fulfillment, the use of high-class communication technologies is vital.

Category: Advice, Ecommerce 101

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3 Tips To Build A Profitable Opt-In List Quickly and Easily

May 13th, 2016

You finally realize that you need a good opt-in list. After reading countless articles and sought expert advice and have read many success stories of people being successful with opt-in lists you decide to have one of your own. For those who are just starting or struggling, here are three quick and easy tips to build a profitable opt-in list.

1) Get your customers to trust you and your products first. Just launching your opt-in list does not make you an expert and a trusted seller. Write several articles first before you start an opt-in list. Write about the topic or product(s) you know and have used. Try posting to forums first to gain knowledge about your customers wants and needs so that you can target those wants and needs.

Provide expert advice and recommendations around the area you are familiar with. When you feel that people trust you, you will be able to start your own opt-in list. You can build a base as well with other forum users. You can ask them to join your list. Put up a link to your site in your forum profile and signature, so that they can see what you’re business is all about.

The certain truth is, the money will only come in when the consumers and subscribers believe and trust in you. They want a product or service that could be a good exchange for their money. People are not going to buy something out of your recommendation if they don’t feel comfortable.

2) Find a product or service that people want and need. Although it may not be your forte, if you provide a service and product that you have researched and learned about well, you can still be successful in building your list.

While it is true that it is best to sell something that you have interest in, if you do your research well, you can still become an expert in that area. It may take more work, but if the area is a popular one, it could pay off in the long run.

3) Make friends with other opt-in list users. This is basically beneficial especially if it is someone who has already launched a successful opt-in list. These are people that have the experience in lists and you can learn a lot in a shorter amount of time using their experience. While there are many articles available on the internet to use to learn, there is nothing like getting a first hand account from someone you trust.

Experienced opt-in list creators will be able to give you first hand experience on what to do and what not to do because they have gone through it. While different situations occur for different people, the general concept can still be very helpful.

Building a profitable opt-in list don’t just happen overnight. Opt-in lists are built from scratch, as your list grows, you should also maintain the quality of your list. Keep it organized and manageable. Get or hire help if need be, just make sure that your subscribers are happy and satisfied and they will be willing to buy from you far into the future.

Here are a few list building services that can be used to create opt-in mail list:




Category: Advice, Marketing, Traffic Building

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Abandonment – Why Visitors Don’t Turn Into Customers

November 22nd, 2015

Every good eCommerce business should understand the value of conversions versus hits received. Far too often, businesses become fixated on the hits they are receiving instead of monitoring their hit to sale conversion rate. This misguided focus is the road to ruin because it fails to take in the issue of abandonment.


“Abandonment” is one of those terms that has a unique meaning when applied to the Internet. The term refers to reasons why a user abandons a site before taking the action the site owner desires, typically purchasing a product or making an inquiry.

There are a number of beautiful sites on the Internet with unique innovations. Unfortunately, these sites rarely turn a profit or unnecessarily limit their profit potential. Website owners should focus on only one thing when building a site – converting visitors to customers. To avoid abandonment issues, you should focus on the following:

  1. The site should always load as quickly as possible to accommodate visitors that are using slower internet connections.
  2. The site should be designed for ease of use, not just “what looks good.”
  3. All advertisements should click through directly to the items that are being searched, not the home page of the site.
  4. Site pages should be kept short to improve load times.
  5. Either offer a mobile version or make sure the site loads properly on a mobile device.
  6. Signing up for a newsletter or other info should be made as easy as possible.
  7. Customers should be required to fill out the minimum of information to make a purchase.
  8. All images should be compressed for quick loading.
  9. If the customer has left the shopping cart with items in it, think about sending them a discount code to complete the order.
  10. Offer free shipping on all items if possible.

The list is fairly endless, but you should always view site designs and advertising from the perspective of the customer. The universal question for each project is, “How could we make this easier for customers?” By emphasizing this approach, you will bypass many of the problems you see on the net and avoid wasting your advertising dollars.

Category: Advice, Ecommerce 101, Marketing

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Analyzing Traffic – Visitors V. Hits

April 22nd, 2015

A key component to every web site is traffic analysis. When analyzing traffic, it is important to understand the difference between hits and visitors…and why both are important.

Be One With The Log

To analyze traffic on a website, you should be looking at your server logs or Google Analytics (recommended). Server logs come in very raw data, but most hosting companies have interpreting programs that summarize the information into readable form. From these programs, you should be able to analyze who is sending you traffic, the number of hits and visitors among other information.

Hits v. Visitors – The Game Is On…

Many people are lazy when it comes to discussing traffic results. We tend to use “hits” as a catch phrase for traffic hitting a web site. This isn’t entirely true. Traffic should always be analyzed in two categories, hits and visitors.

A “visitor” is a click from someplace on the net to your site. In your analytics, a visitor will be credited with visiting the site one time regardless of the number of pages the visitor views. For example, a person entering a brick n’ mortar bookstore is only one potential customer regardless of the number of books the person looks at.

A “hit” is a click on any page of the site and represents a multiple of the visitors. When you review the data, the hits represent how many times visitors clicked site pages. Going back to our bookstore example, every book viewed by the person in the bookstore would be a hit. So, which information is more important?

Hits v. Visitors – An The Winner Is…

The simple fact is both visitors and hits are important statistics to analyze in your logs. Obviously, the information on the number of visitors is important because you want to know how many potential customers are coming to your site. That being said, you should never focus on visitors without contemplating hits as well.

Hits are important because the number of hits tells you very important information about your site. Since hits represent the total number of pages viewed by all visitors, you can use the information to determine the effectiveness of your site. I call this by the very original and sophisticated name “hits to visitors ratio.” Let’s go back to our bookstore example.

Assume a person walks into a bookstore and only looks at one book. This may mean the person knew what they wanted, found it and bought it. Obviously, this is an ideal result. But what if a thousand people walk into the bookstore and only look at one book each? The bookstore would have a problem and start trying to figure out what it is. The hits statistics in your data tell you the same thing.

If your site has multiple pages, you need to find out if visitors are clicking into the internal pages. This is generally known as determining the depth of your site. The simplest way to do this is to divide the number of hits by the number of visitors for a particular time period. This figure will tell you if people are seeing one “book” or taking a look around.

Analyzing your website stats can be a real eye-opening experience. The information can be good or bad, but at minimum you will know if any corrective steps need to be taken.

Category: Advice, Ecommerce 101

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