Customer Behavior – What and How to Track on Your Online Store (1/2)

How can you tapping into customer’s pain and help them find the answer they have been looking for?

You can do that only when you understand your customers.

And to understand customers, you need to LEARN about them. Learn from where people land on your website, what activities they engage with while browsing through your pages, what triggers them to their purchase decision, etc.

To be able to proceed those activities, you have to track and measure customer behavior on your website. In this series, I’ll give the answers for what you should track and what tools will assist you to do that job efficiently.

Make sure to take note when you find something useful.

Why do you need to track customer behavior?

customer behavior optimization

Tracking customer behavior helps you understand what your customers want, and from this, you can optimize their experience better on your website. With better user experience, doesn’t it mean your brand will gain more advocates as well as customers?

That’s a general explanation of the benefits from customer behaviors metrics.

In details, customer behavior tracking helps you improve your website content, create better specific customer segments as well as personas so you can create more effective campaign for your online store, save the marketing effort, etc.

Covering customer behavior analysis is not easy. The task itself already involves many subtasks to do. You might be questioning: How can you figure out customer behaviors on your eCommerce website?

I’ll talk about it right in the next part, but in general the big picture is, you need to understand the buying process (by theory).  It’s a common sense that what people is looking for depends on the stages they’re at in their life with the unfulfilled needs at that moment (you’re welcome to learn more about this theory here).

Tracking customer behaviors helps you identify the buying process from customers much more clearly – which steps take customers to their purchase and helps you figure out the better way to take them there.

Enough said for the reasons, right? Let’s move on to the next part.

What kind of customer behaviors should you track?

customer behavior optimization

Or in other words, what metrics in customer behaviors should you invest in?

There will be MANY metrics you need to keep an eye on when talking about customer behaviors. However, the following metrics should be always at your sight and you must be sure that you closely keep a record for them.

1. Your website’s traffic sources

Wanna know where your customers come from to hit them from there? Find from where people come to you.

There are many kinds of traffic sources:

  • Direct: people who visit your website by typing directly your site’s address in their browsers
  • Search: people come to your website from search engine result pages
  • Referral: if you are running referral program or ads, things like that, then that is called referral traffic.
  • Social media: if you’re running social media profiles or get mentioned on these channels, then you have traffic from this source.
  • External: this source is from other websites which place your website’s link on their website.

You do need to understand the traffic sources to learn which source drives you more traffic, where your most loyal fans come from. Even more importantly, you need to diversify these sources. This not only helps your site to hit higher rank on search engine result page but also have better brand recognition. To learn more about traffic sources, you can take a look at this helpful series.

2. Your visitor conversions

customer behavior optimization

There are new (unique) and returning visitors. So there are two types of conversions from these types of visitors.

You must acknowledge that first time visitor conversion is different from returning one. Knowing the difference helps you optimize effectively your website for first time visitors to convert them better. For returning fans, you have to find out the answers for why they come back for you and how to make them stay, or buy from you (if they haven’t hit the purchase button at their first visit).

There is a fact that most first time visitors don’t buy at their first visit, and returning visitors always convert better. Learn your statistics to check if this fact applies to you.

3. Bounce rate and exit points

The ugly beast – bounce rate – yes you have to learn how to tame it. I’m pretty sure that I gave you things you need to do so in my previous series about bounce rate here:

A to Z About Bounce Rate and How to Reduce It On Your E-Commerce Website (Part I)

A to Z About Bounce Rate and How to Reduce It On Your E-Commerce Website (Part II)

Another important thing to place beside bounce rate is exit points. Exist points are where people leave you. They can land on your website, click here and there to navigate around several pages. They even proceed to checkout page. But then they just leave.

Your job is to find out at which points people leave your site, the reasons why they leave and optimize this metric.

4. Customer’s on-site activities

customer behavior optimization

What do people do when on your website?

Don’t know? Get up and go find it. It’s important to know customer’s activities when they browsing on your sites. You can never set the right conversion plan if you don’t know this metric right.

Find out what pages they visit next after landing on the landing page. Find out what CTAs get the most clicks. What people like to do on your website. What activities keep them engaged. What you can do to encourage them to do more. Etc.

On-site interactions are important. But don’t just focus on increasing interactions on your eCommerce website. The best thing to do is to increase interactions that drive conversions.

5. Value and cost

Firstly, to record the value you get from your website, you need to define what they are. Is new traffic the value you want to get? Or is it a new sales? Be clear ad precise about this.

Only then, you’ll know how much it costs you to gain that value. If the cost is higher than the benefits you gain from the conversion, it’s time to do something about it.

That’s a warm up

This is quite a big (because it is important) topic to cover. This time we’ve walked thru the important metrics you should take care of regarding customer behavior. Next time, we’ll dig into the best tools to help you nail this task. Stay tuned for the next tips!

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November 17, 2015 - Tips to Increase Online Sales