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Top E-Commerce Metrics for the Holiday Season

November 13, 2020 By: Alex Torres

Why retailers need to adjust their top e-commerce metrics for the 2020 holiday season

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just a few weeks away, you’re probably thinking about how your organization can best prepare for the holiday shopping season. And with the spread of Covid-19 still going strong across the United States, it’s safe to say that most Americans will be foregoing early morning trips to the mall on Black Friday. Instead, they’ll probably be buying this year’s most sought out presents online, which means that monitoring your company’s top e-commerce metrics will be more important than ever before. 

Across the country, Americans who would normally spend the holiday season traveling, dining out, and attending festive parties will be stuck at home with more free time—and maybe even some extra cash to burn. 

A recent study out from Deloitte predicts that e-commerce sales in the US during the upcoming holiday season could grow up to 35% from November through January, with total e-commerce spending forecasted to reach upwards to $196 billion. 

Since Americans will be spending more time than ever before glued to their phones, tablets, and desktops, retailers have the opportunity to prepare for, and benefit from, the upcoming surge in e-commerce sales—that is, as long as they avoid costly outages from website problems and application crashes

Top e-commerce metrics to monitor this holiday season 

To help you better prepare for the upcoming (and unprecedented) holiday season, we have put together a list of top e-commerce metrics to monitor as your team embarks on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the holiday season. 

Keep in mind that Americans will be shopping online around-the-clock this holiday season. Your team should be prepared to monitor crucial key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics across the company’s digital portfolio, including websites (both desktop & mobile) and native mobile apps.

Identifying top user frustrations

If retailers have learned anything in the past few years, it’s that online shoppers are more likely to abandon their carts and leave a website if they encounter site elements that slow down their shopping experience. It’s no secret that more than half of mobile users will abandon a website that takes over 3 seconds to load. 

Other users might be inclined to leave a company’s website if they encounter bugs, slow page reloads, or other glitches, especially if the error or design flaw raises security concerns or leads to rage clicks. Privacy is a major anxiety for today’s e-commerce shoppers, so it makes sense that online shoppers are weary of forking over their credit card information when a website keeps freezing up.

And just about anything else that slows down the shopping process can lead to increased bounce rates, lower conversion rates, and revenue losses. 

When a retailer’s website forces customers to go through an arduous registration process before making a purchase (such as making an account profile), for instance, customers are more likely to abandon the cart and search elsewhere. After all, many customers are buying gifts for loved ones and have no intentions of returning to the website after the holiday shopping season.

So before the holiday season kicks into gear, spend some time identifying the top elements causing friction so that your customer’s won’t have to. 

Optimizing micro conversions

From clicking “Add to Cart,” to selecting your payment method, to double checking that your shipping address is correct, the checkout flow is full of micro conversions. In fact, some checkout flows contain more than 20 elements, meaning that there are ample opportunities for customers to encounter a UX error that prompts them to abandon their cart and shop elsewhere. 

Retailers hoping to drive e-commerce conversion rates should take a page out of Amazon’s playbook. The multinational technology company allows most customers to check out in just 1 or 2 clicks, depending on the situation. It’s no wonder that Amazon’s conversion rates are off the charts. 

In addition to reducing the number of elements in your checkout flow, companies should spend some time identifying where users are dropping off in the sales funnel—and why. Which page elements are driving conversion rates? And which ones are prompting customers to leave? 

It goes without saying that optimizing micro conversions is crucial for improving e-commerce metrics.

Reducing abandoned cart rates

Retailers and e-commerce companies are well aware that most users cart are just browsing or window shopping. Many window shoppers even add items to their carts or wishlists. 

But as soon as a potential customer pulls out their credit card or realizes they can make a purchase with their PayPal, Apple Pay, or Android accounts, the pressure is on to complete the transaction.

Unfortunately, many shoppers end up abandoning their carts because of engineering errors and performance issues. Because the checkout process requires people to make payments with sensitive information, there are more opportunities for critical errors, especially if your payment process API isn’t performing as expected. 

Engineering errors such as API Timeout, API Not Found, Slow API Call, and other JavaScript errors cause even the most eager shoppers to abandon their carts, especially if it’s nearly impossible to make a purchase.

Don’t let a glitchy checkout experience tarnish your brand’s reputation—carefully monitor your company’s checkout flow ahead of the holiday season. 

Reviewing native mobile application analytics

While it’s true that most online shoppers make their final purchases from desktops or laptops, many consumers spend at least some time browsing items on a brand’s mobile application or website. So even companies that make most of their revenue on desktop websites should ensure that they are offering mobile-first customers a frictionless experience, free of frozen UIs and low memory warnings. 

Retailers should also keep track of their customers preferred mobile payment methods. Apple Pay, Android Pay, PayPal, and other online payment methods have made it significantly easier for mobile shoppers to finalize their payments. Nowadays, they can simply enter their phone’s passcode or look at their camera, thanks to facial recognition.

Think about it. How many online shoppers are going to take the time to enter their credit card information, especially on a smaller device? 

On the flip side, What’s stopping customers from making a purchase, especially when their payment information is easily accessible on their mobile device?

Monitoring inventory and out-of-stock notifications

The pandemic has forced many retailers to shift their focus from in-store store experiences to fulfillments centers, with many stores themselves turning into de facto shipping centers, thanks to the rise of curbside pick up. As the shift to digital continues, inventory will remain one of the top e-commerce metrics to measure for years to come.

With shoppers sheltering-in-place this holiday season, shipping centers are going to be under immense pressure as warehouse workers race to process a record-breaking number of online orders. But by keeping track of key metrics, companies can be as transparent as possible about out-of-stock products and potential shipping delays. Last minute shoppers beware! 

And to make matters more confusing, global supply chains across the world have been upended due to global travel restrictions, economic instability, social unrest, and ongoing shelter-in-place orders. 

These seismic shifts have changed the game for retailers, who must now contend with a shortage of supplies just as they’re doubling down on e-commerce.

Consequently, monitoring how out-of-stock items impact user behavior and sales has never been more important. As supply chains remain in flux, retailers should be especially careful not to oversell this holiday season. 

Tracking conversion rates for shipping vs. BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup in Store)

Companies that choose to offer curbside or in-store pickup should also carefully monitor conversion rates for customers who select shipping vs. rates for customers who buy online and pickup in store. 

Keeping track of the number of curbside or in-store pickups can also help companies prepare themselves to ensure that strict social distancing protocols are in place as customers start to pick up packages. 

How Quantum Metric helps retailers monitor e-commerce business opportunities

Retailers can track all of these top e-commerce metrics—and much more—with Quantum Metric, a Continuous Product Design (CPD) platform that helps teams build digital products that customers actually want. 

Quantum Metric’s data-driven approach to design quantifies the customer’s experience so that your team can prioritize the opportunities that will have the most impact on your company’s bottom line. With Quantum Metric, teams can quickly surface sources of potential revenue loss, such as customer frustrations, UX errors, bugs, glitches, and API errors. 

The Quantum Metric platform collects and analyzes all of the data across a company’s digital portfolio, including all platforms, operating systems, and data centers. This cross channel approach looks at a company’s digital website, mobile app traffic, and any other relevant digital products. That way, retailers are better equipped to optimize the shopping experience for each device.

Using Quantum Metric, retailers have been able to monitor business opportunities after a product launch or version release, pinpoint value leaks on mobile apps, reduce customer returns and phone agent call time, detect and prevent e-commerce fraud, rescue customers after third-party payment tools failed, and much more. 

Is your company interested in taking the Quantum leap? 

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