Q&A with Darin Bartik of Quest Software
VSM: When it comes to e-commerce, what are the benefits of end-user monitoring?
DB: E-commerce websites exist to generate revenue, so their ability to “convert” visitors to buyers is a key criterion for measuring success. What has the most significant impact on that success measurement? A positive visitor experience! Therefore, it’s critical for a business to make sure visitors’ interactions with the site are the best they can possibly be.
VSM: How do you measure the end user experience?
DB: There are a variety of metrics organizations can monitor to better understand and improve the end-user or customer experience on their website. At minimum, organizations should proactively monitor the following three basic areas, which can be gathered for free using Google Analytics:
- Conversation Rate, which tells you whether or not customers are using your site for its intended purpose
- Bounce Rate, which measures the percentage of browser sessions that only viewed one page on the site, and
- Page Performance, which tells you how long a customer has to wait for a page to fully load
For those organizations ready to go beyond the basics, Visitor Scoring and Abandoned Transaction Values are two more advanced, but extremely valuable, “must-haves.”
VSM: What exactly are Abandoned Transaction Values?
DB: Abandoned Transaction Values represent the total value of abandoned transactions over a given timeframe (for example, $10,000 worth of abandoned carts over the last hour). The biggest positive about measuring Abandoned Transaction Values is that it’s probably the most general indicator of a problem occurring on a site, since it will catch content, performance and network issues, among other things. If a site that usually averages $5,000-$8,000 of abandoned transactions an hour suddenly jumps to $14,000, you know there’s a problem somewhere, regardless of what all other metrics tell you. While this metric requires an experience management system with site content analysis capabilities (and takes a little more time to set up than the other metrics listed), the insight it provides to the business, along with agility for responding to critical issues, is are significantly better.
VSM: Is there value from website visitors who don’t complete an online transaction?
DB: Yes, absolutely. Consider the visitor who creates an account on their initial visit, even though they didn’t purchase anything. With a good experience, they may become a premier repeat buyer, so, clearly, there is value in the fact that the site succeeded in bringing them along to the next level of interaction – creating an account. Other interactions that bring value to an online business include viewing a video or demo, conducting multiple searches, subscribing to a feed, posting a comment to a blog entry, or completing a survey form. All of these can positively impact the business to varying degrees. Social media activity generation – when a user is “converted” to tweet the site, or Digg or StumbleUpon an article on the site – is another way the website adds value to the online business.