e-Commerce site performance is relative, and it depends chiefly on which metrics matter most to you. When it comes to evaluating your site’s performance, you may wonder which factors will impact your bottom line the most. In this post, we’ll briefly define some of the factors that contribute most to high-performance e-Commerce sites.
- eRPM technology provides an advantage to gain actionable insight and consistent results
- Revenue based analytics generates faster growth and more profit over your competitors
- Content and site load time are important elements that should be optimized on a consistent basis
First, what is eRPM all about?
e-Commerce Revenue Performance Management (eRPM for short), is an emerging software category that was created with the aim of helping e-Commerce brands, retailers, and other online merchants to understand the factors that contribute to sustainable online revenue growth.
Enterprise-level e-Commerce brands use eRPM technologies, like HiConversion’s e-Optimizer®, to realize the implications of manipulating various web elements (i.e., images, offers, copy, layout, and functionality) on revenue. With eRPM technology, companies can extract more dollars from their existing traffic – meaning, they won’t have to invest in demand generation or advertising as a sole means of improving revenue. Better still, they use the insights that they commonly glean from their optimization campaigns to drive business strategy.
Business leaders who recognize the value of eRPM commonly consider it the natural evolution of online testing and content personalization.
Answering the question: How’s my site performing?
Revenue-based metrics are your best performance indicators.
The most common two types of metrics used in e-Commerce today are revenue-based metrics and vanity metrics. We’ve covered revenue based metrics in a previous post, so I’ll be brief: revenue-based metrics allow you to glean a clearer picture of how different elements, promotions, functionality options, et al., impact your bottom-line. When measuring site performance, revenue-based metrics are more useful than vanity metrics (e.g., standalone metrics like conversion rate) since they are less susceptible to confounded outcomes. For example, a 50% lift in conversions with a corresponding drop in average order value of 50% would not result in much profit. The clear connection to bottom-line dollars also helps communicate your performance with the C-level.
Here are two revenue based metrics you should monitor regularly:
- Revenue Per Visit: A combination of conversion rate and average order value. Measures the money a website generates each time a customer enters your online storefront.
- Average Order Value: The average value (in your currency of choice) of an order (total checkout amount) in a given period of time.
Presentation and user experience matter, too.
There’s no doubting it, in e-Commerce, presentation matters. If your product or category pages are presented in a way that confuses visitors, this will become immediately apparent in metrics such as time spent on page, bounce rate, and exit pages. Examine these metrics carefully for clues as to which element(s) your visitors might get hung up on. Sometimes, the e-Commerce optimization and brand management teams can feel at-odds – we recommend that you employ these metrics to find ways to improve the experience without damaging the ‘image’. For example, a white, transparent call-to-action or add-to-cart button may be improved with a tasteful border or fill.
Site load times can also affect performance.
According to Strangeloop, the average load time of a Top 2000 website is about 10 seconds in IE7. In the days of broadband (and even fiber optic!) internet, a slow-loading website is considered the fast train to nowhere – every three seconds can yield double-digit loss rates in visitor retention.
To help you diagnose and remedy site loading issues, check out Google PageSpeed Insights and determine which areas, elements, and scripts on your site are affected by slow load times.
Onsite navigation is one of the most widely-used (and therefore most important) elements on your e-Commerce site. Navigation menus can have a significant impact on your visitors’ experiences, and poor performance can have a direct impact on revenue.
Since primary navigation provides links to all of the important areas on your site (i.e., category pages), it should be user-friendly and highly optimized. Experiment with different options to determine what works best for your e-Commerce site.
Site load times, user experience, and navigation options are just a few of the many aspects to explore when gauging the performance of your e-Commerce site. In order to ensure that your site is optimized effectively, start by selecting the right metrics. Then, carefully examine each aspect of your e-Commerce site to determine the status quo and create an action plan for improving key aspects of your website’s performance.
Be sure to keep up with today’s e-Commerce trends and continually monitor how your site compares to others in the industry. To maintain a competitive advantage, we recommend that you consider implementing an eRPM solution.