Your "Must Know" Ecommerce Metrics

Web Analytics can be an amazing technology, but also a highly under-utilized one. Complex deployments and integrations frequently leave business users befuddled. Without dedicated staff to analyze, analytics packages more often than not collect dust.

This brief is focused on outlining the 7 most important web metrics to monitor within your eCommerce business and what to look for as it relates to your website’s performance.

Bounce rate

First on our list is the most important metric you will encounter: bounce rate. Think of bounce rate as a first impression. The definition of bounce rate is the percentage of users that leave your website after only viewing the initial page that was presented.

Bounce rate is so vital because it provides details into how you initially message your value proposition to the customer or prospect. It provides a cue to also help you identify performance issues with your site that may be causing the inflation the metric.

Bounce rates vary by industry, but eCommerce businesses should focus on getting the metric below 30%. Especially important within paid search campaigns, bounce rate will provide valuable cues into which product assortments and promotions at the category and sub-category levels of your taxonomy are doing well. This knowledge can be leveraged across the business in other categories and implemented via multi-variate testing deployments.

Email Capture Ratio

The next metric you want to track is your email capture ratio. As an online business, you probably sell some type of tangible product or service in which you monitor orders or completed information forms. Most businesses monitor their standard conversion rate, but few businesses frequently monitor their email capture rate and take a proactive approach to increasing.

With eCommerce conversion rates yet to eclipse an average of 3%, 97% of users who come to your store are leaving without buying something. Just because they are leaving however does not mean they are not interested in communicating on some level with your business. By gaining an initial step of trust through the capture of an email address, you are not only increasing the size of your house list for future marketing but you are also building a relationship with your customer and can win their business by providing them solutions to their lives.

Strive for a 7-10% email capture rate and place the sign up tool prominent in the header. Too many businesses bury their sign up tool and do not leverage rich applications that can use browser technologies such as ajax to expand a capture field over standard text in an overlay fashion.

Number of non-branded organic keywords

Make sure you look at number of monthly non-branded organic search keywords. When monitoring SEO performance, you need to first strip out the branded terms that correlate with your business. Thats traffic that you would have received without effective SEO. Then look to the number of remaining keywords that were utilized to make up the balance of the remaining natural search visits.

Why is this important? Because SEO is driven from the long tail. Sure, core SEO terms are nice but you need to capture the 4 and 5 word queries that make up the majority of Google queries each day. Long tail placements are achieved through proper site architecture and quality targeted content. Simply put, the more terms that people are using to find you, the better your site is doing in content development. Aim for a 5% to 10% increase each month within non-branded search keywords as you structure your SEO campaigns.

Shopping Cart to Checkout “Step 1″ Progression Rate

Our next metric directly correlates to the transactional process. Make sure you monitor your direct progression percentage from the shopping cart to checkout step 1. See how many of your users are bailing for price shopping and/or they see a promo code box on your site and they are going hunting for one. This type of behavior dramatically impacts your conversion rate and overall profits and steps should be taken to measure and reduce.

Consider adding the promo box at the end of the transaction for non-affiliate sessions in order to reduce leakage. Use a cookie from an affiliate or potentially a URL to trigger two versions of the cart page. By incorporating checkout abandonment tools that re-market via email, and aggressive banners both internally and externally to try and re-capture the lost transaction, eCommerce businesses can pull prospects back in the sales funnel.

Browser and Resolution Percentages

Dont forget about looking at Browser/Resolution percentages (types and sizes) when scaling your eCommerce business. Lace face it, when you sell online you are in the “looks professional…is professional” world and goo design can make even the smallest retailer seem large. If your build your site and it breaks in Safari (Mac’s browser), or the navigation breaks on Firefox 3.5 on a PC, you essentially shoot yourself in the foot.

Look at the varied browsers and resolutions that are being used to view your website. Conduct full cross-browser testing, on varied platforms, to fully notice any potential usability problems that arrive.

Average number of cross/up sells added per visit

If you are an eCommerce business, you already know that intelligent merchandising is a crucial key to success. A primary metric to help you understand performance within online merchandising is that of average cross/up sells added per visit.

This datapoint associates to your cross sell tools that integrate at the product and the cart level and measures the average number of cross-sells added to the cart per visit. The number will provide details into the effectiveness of your product recommendations and if the recommended products are actively engaging and persuading customers.

It is tough to provide a benchmark statistic for this metric since products can vary so greatly in terms of pricepoint. But look at your historical performance and consider automating this component through algorithmic third party solutions.

Experts Tips to Start An Internet Home Business

The start up costs for an internet home business are next to nothing compared to the offline world of business start ups.

In fact it is a lot more simple to start and grow a business on the internet.

Of course you need some knowledge to begin your internet home business enterprise. But you do not need a “Bacc” to do business on the web.

All you need is some computer knowledge and some internet marketing basis and a good dose of determination.

Here is some basic tips on how to start an Internet home business.

== 1.Write Your Business Goals ==

It is important to set goals and objectives and then take action to accomplish them. This will be your Business Plan.

Here Are Some questions you should ask yourself:

- Why do I want to start up an Internet Home Business?

- What product or service can I provide?

- Do I have the knowledge and expertise to provide this service?

- Do I know enough about the competition?

- Where will my customers come from?

Take the time to write down your questions and answers and thoroughly research your chosen market.

== 2. Choose A Product or Service To Sell ==

On the internet you can find houndreds of product or services to sell.

You can sell your own product by creating your own, or purchasing resale rights or being an affiliate with a good internet company.

Do not put your personal gains first. Make sure that the product will deliver what it promises. When you promote a product that leaves the buyer dissatisfied, you’ll only be ruining your business. So sell solutions and the money will come.

== 3. Business Domain Name ==

One important first step is to choose the best domain name you can. Keep it as short and simple as possible.

Think of domain name like “Google” or “Yahoo”. They are short and easy to remember.

I know that some people say to use keyword in youre domain name. But if you choose “Internet Business” there is a million of site with this term.

So are you going to use for example “AprofitableInternethomebusiness.com” it might be a nice name but it is too long and not simple.

== 4. Web Site ==

Having A good business website is essential to succeed with an internet home business.

Here is the thing you have to plan to build your website

A) Decide on the website design (color schemes, buttons, special effects etc). However, you may have a preference for a certain color or look. To help you choose a design, you may wish to check out other people’s websites or work with your web designer’s pre-set templates.

(B) The content. There are many items you may wish to include on your website. The most common ones include:

1 Products And Services

2. Contact Information

3. Pricing

4. Testimonials

5. Frequently Asked Questions

6. Resources & Articles

7. Refund Policy

8. Privacy Policy

9. About Us

10. Site Map

11. Useful Links

12. On-line store

== 5. Choose a Web Hosting Company ==

What is a Web hosting Company?

A Web host is a company that provides server space for your website. You can think of a web host as a commercial building. The web host provides space for your website just as a commercial building provides space for your shop or office.

What are some of the things you should look for when choosing a web host? The criteria for choosing a free web host and a commercial web hosting solution are slightly different though they do overlap.

A) Web Space

Does it have enough space for your needs? If you envisage that you will expand your site eventually, you might want to cater for future expansion. Most sites use less than 5MB of web space. Indeed, at one time, one of my other web sites, thefreecountry.com, used less than 5MB of space although it had about 150 pages on the site. Your needs will vary, depending on how many pictures your pages use, whenever you need sound files, video clips, etc.

B) Bandwidth allotment

Nowadays, many free web hosts pose a limit on the amount of traffic your website can use per day and per month. This means that if the pages (and graphic images) on your site is loaded by visitors beyond a certain number of times per day (or per month), the web host will disable your web site (or sometimes send you a bill).

It is difficult to recommend a specific minimum amount of bandwidth, since it depends on how you design your site, your target audience, and the number of visitors you’re able to attract to your site. In general, 100MB traffic per month is too little for anything other than your personal home page and 1-3GB traffic per month is usually adequate for a simple site just starting out. Your mileage, however, will vary.

C) Reliability and speed of access

This is extremely important. A site that is frequently down will lose a lot of visitors. If someone finds your site on the search engine, and he tries to access it but find that it is down, he’ll simply go down the list to find another site. Slow access is also very frustrating for visitors (and for you too, when you upload your site).

How do you know if a host is reliable or fast? If you can not get feedback from anyone, one way is to try it out yourself over a period of time, both during peak as well as non-peak hours. After all, it is free, so you can always experiment with it.

== 6. Shopping Cart ==

No e-commerce website is complete without a secure shopping cart. There are many shopping cart options. Many e-commerce business owners make the mistake of using Pay Pal to accept payments, which immediately tells visitors that their company is very small and not professional.

A good alternative to Pay Pal is a remotely rented shopping cart. Remote shopping carts take the burden of maintaining security and credit card numbers off your shoulder and places the responsibility on another company. Remote shopping carts can usually be configured to look similar to your website.

In fact, your customers may not realize that they have left your website to place an order. The remote shopping cart provider will give you the HTML to add to your website. When your potential customer clicks on the Buy button, he or she is taken to the remote shopping cart to enter the personal information and payment details.

Depending on your choice of a shopping cart, you may or may not need a merchant account to process transactions. Some shopping cart services allow you to use their merchant accounts for a slightly higher fee.

== 7. How To Promote Your Business Website ==

Write An Article: Write an article promoting your site or product. Write an article on a hot topic many people would like more information on and submit it to various e-zines. How do you find out what’s hot? Visit a few of the message boards and see what questions are raised often.
Search Engines: Thousand of search engines exist on the Internet. But, you should only be concerned with the top eight or ten. You should manually submit to the top eight: Alta Vista, Excite, Yahoo, Hotbot, Lycos, Northern Light, Infoseek, Webcrawler, and use one of the FREE automatic submission services like * SubmitPlus * to handle the smaller search engines.

Directories: List your site here too. Directories organize sites into categories. Good examples of Directories: Yahoo, Magellan.

Ezine Listings: If you have an e-zine to promote along with your site. Why not list it with one of the many e-zine services on the Internet. E-zine Library is a good one to start with.

Free Classifieds: You will have to submit to a ton of FREE classifieds to get any significant traffic. Why? You are competing with thousands of other Ads. Remember to work on your Ad copy and make it attention grabbing. Go to one of the popular search engines, type in Free Classifieds, and surf to the top 20 classified sites for beginners.

Often, these sites will lead you to several other Free Classified Sites. In response you’ll get a stack of e-mail thanking you for listing your site while barking their promo. Best to get one of those free email accounts. Hot mail is a good one. So is Yahoo mail.

FFA Pages. Free For All’s are worth a try. Be prepared for a avalanche of e-mails from FFA web site owners. If your title is attention grabbing you will get a few clicks. Good Attention grabbing headlines, FREE, Limited Time, Limited Offer, Proven, Secrets, and many more if you brainstorm. Check out the sales literature delivered to you by regular mail. Check and see what headlines grab your attention. And why? Incorporate them into your Online Ads.

Tell Friends And Family: If your friends, family, acquaintances, have an Internet Connection, e-mail them telling them about your new website, and ask them to visit often. Offer a FREE incentive if they tell a few friends to surf over. Perhaps, a FREE Ad in your e-zine.

Leave Business Cards or Flyers: Leave these promo pieces with small businesses in your community. All relevant contact information; Email address, URL, telephone number, should be included. Offer a freebie to anyone who visits your site. A free e-book, report.

== 8. IN CONCLUSION ==

Think of your first six months primarily as a training period. Do not expect large earnings until after you’ve educated yourself.

Even the most dynamic, highest-earning entrepreneurs in the industry took MONTHS to begin seeing an income of any real significance with their internet home business.

Do not be a negative thinker and do not let the negative attitudes of others (even if they’re family members, friends, or peers) influence you.

All the great men and women in history had to welcome the naysayers who said it could not be done – and then went out and did it. Think for yourself!

As long as you think positive and focused on your internet home business target you’re on the right way to a rich life, which is directed by you and it will lead you to tremendous success and personnal satisfaction.

Copyright © Michel Richer, The Internet Home Business Specialist

————————————————– ——————————

PERMISSIONS TO REPUBLISH: This business article may be republished in its own free of charge, electronically or in print, provided it appears with the included copyright and author’s resource box with live website link.

Courtesy of: http://hombyz.com : For All Your Internet Home Business Needs

Marketing Chocolate

Throughout history, chocolate has been marketed differently to different consumer types. Some companies like to show their customers that their chocolate has the most weight, by using digital scales and then showing what the price computing scales read on the actual package label. Yet, other companies prefer to create an upscale image, by making their products seem rich and indulgent. This article discusses the different ways to market chocolate.

1. Make a product that is meant for the everyday consumer. This type of chocolate is made for those who want an average chocolate bar. The packaging is usually very simple and the prices are the same or lower than the rest of the competition.

2. Create a rich and luxurious image for the product. This type of chocolate is set above the rest in price. It usually has gold packaging and has a look that is different from all of the competitors.

3. Organic products are becoming more and more popular, so making chocolate to appease this type of consumer is a newer marketing technique. In order for a chocolate to be organic, it must be approved by the USDA and some companies then go on to get certified organic by other more strict organizations.

4. Companies also want to reach out to the adventurous chocolate eater by using exotic ingredients in the chocolate. These types of chocolates usually have bold colors on the package label, to emphasize the exotic ingredients that are in the chocolate. Exotic ingredients may include, spices like cayenne pepper, or different fruits like passion fruit or mango.

5. Sugar free chocolate appeals to those who have diabetes or anyone who wants to reduce their sugar intake. The diet industry has really taken off in the past ten years and as such, so has the diet chocolate industry. People with diabetes or consumers who are watching their weight are able to eat chocolate that is made without sugar. This chocolate is usually made with artificial sweeteners and the packaging reflects this change. The wrapping and labeling on this kind of chocolate bar is usually lighter, to indicate that it is lighter in calories and sugar, therefore, making it a light chocolate bar.

6. Finally, there is marketing towards children, in which companies make a product that is fun with packaging that has bright colors. There are many chocolate producing companies whose target market is children. In order to attract children anywhere from two to sixteen, they make their labels appear bright and cheerful. These companies also make their companies seem fun and sometimes quirky to attract children to other products they may offer.

Chocolate has been a part of the everyday consumers’ lives for hundreds of years. It is only in the recent past that the consumer market for chocolate has been segmented into so many different components. The consumer market is also constantly changing, so it will be interesting to see what new markets come about in the next few decades and how the chocolate industry will deal with these future changes in the chocolate market.

Traditional Marketing – An Introduction to Offline Marketing – Part 1

The Art of Marketing as a whole

Marketing is the process of establishing which products or services that might attract certain customers, and then determining what strategy to use to promote them. This mutual procedure is intended to create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to obtain trust and recognition within a business. The main purpose of marketing is “to attract” a target audience or specific individuals who are interested and want your product or service that you offer. That then leads to the primary goal of any business which is to ultimately make sales, or in other words, “to sell”.

While referencing to customers, it can be said that they are the main focus of marketing activities. It is pertinent to ALWAYS do these three key things:

  1. Identify the customer
  2. Maintain the customer
  3. Satisfy the customer

With these key factors in mind and the impact that advertising has on the potential success or failure of a business, it is correct to say that marketing in general is one of the most vital pieces of the business world.

Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is also referred to as “offline marketing”. The term traditional simply means the “passing on” of something, such as beliefs, customs, or practices. So when you think of traditional marketing, you should comprehend that it consists of techniques and strategies that have been used for a very long time. In addition, you can think of its relative term, “offline marketing”, as any method or means of promotion that does NOT include the internet.

Traditional marketing mainly focuses on the company and the product, as where online marketing centers on the customer and their interests. So basically, you would use traditional marketing to expand your business and strive to distribute your product through the three main geographical levels (local, regional, national) and ultimately worldwide. There would apparently be less focus on the actual customer and their needs although some might disagree with this logic.

The Four Ps

The four Ps, also known as the “marketing mix”, was developed by Jerome McCarthy after the term became widespread in the early 1960s. The four Ps are the four essential ingredients of marketing. They incorporate the following:

1. Product – All businesses revolve around a product or service. You must first develop a unique and quality product or service that you intend to sell. Here are other aspects:

  • Brand name
  • Purpose
  • Style
  • Safety
  • Packaging
  • Support
  • Warranty

2. Price – Second, you should investigate the price value of your competition (if any), and then determine the cost of your own product or service that’s both affordable and will earn you revenue. Other things to consider are:

  • Discounts
  • Types of payments
  • Seasonal pricing

3. Place – Third, you have to decide how you will distribute your product to the customers or where you will offer your service. More decisions to be made include:

  • Market coverage
  • Inventory management
  • Warehousing
  • Distribution centers
  • Order processing
  • Transportation

4. Promotion – Lastly, the marketing and campaign portion comes into play. You must determine who you will market to and what advertising methods and strategies you will use to acquire potential prospects. This is the most important piece of the marketing mix and can make or beak a business. Additional things to take into account are: 

  • Workforce
  • Publicity
  • Marketing budget

All four elements of the marketing mix must be completed and well thought out before you can think about starting any campaign for your product or service.

Is traditional marketing beginning to slowly disappear?

Traditional marketing is becoming a lost element in the business world. Many people are now marketing their businesses online as the number of internet users grow substantially every year. To give you a quick insight, there are currently over 1 billion people who use the internet today. I mean how can the offline market even compete with that? But just because a new revolution has arisen doesn’t mean the old ways are no longer effective. Traditional marketing can still produce plenty of customers and lead to major profits if it is used correctly. So don’t think that you should just market your business only on the internet. The idea is to incorporate both online and traditional methods to see maximum results.

Things to remember

The crucial points to keep in mind is that in order to achieve success in the business world, you must always do the key three factors of identifying, maintaining, and satisfying the customer and you have to constantly fulfill the four Ps of the marketing mix. The more often and the more effective you complete these two tasks, the higher amount of profits you will see yourself earning in your business.

About the Author