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How Measuring Key Performance Indicators Can Improve E-Commerce Strategy - Part Two
Why time spent on your site is important
All websites regardless of type should measure this KPI, simply because all websites can use it as a gauge to see how compelling their offers are as well as check web site performance. It doesn't matter whether you're running a content portal or an e-commerce sales operation, time spent on your pages is an important metric to measure. If you have for instance a commerce site you need to know how long your offers hold your audience.
Time spent on site is also another KPI that warns you when things aren't going well.
Why you need warning signals
Life is full of warnings. Your body warns you with pain when there is something you shouldn't be doing. If you don't exercise enough and sit in front of a computer screen for too long you get muscle aches and pains, or a repetitive strain injury. That's your body telling you to do more physical stuff or else!
Similarly if you twist or turn too quickly and strain a muscle, it's your body giving you a not so gentle reminder that you should either stop overextending yourself or feel pain.
You begin to naturally learn that doing something you shouldn't equates to pain, therefore you do your best to steer clear from the discomfort. Notice how the body gives you a taster? If you have been sitting too long in one position you get tired and achy? It's your bodies natural "kick up the backside" to suggest that you get up and move around for a bit or you'll really get yours later on!
Look at web site KPI's as a potential taster of some real pain, the signals that you use to guide your thinking about getting out of your chair and doing something.
What is the real pain?
The real pain is when you spend thousands on advertising to drive website traffic and convert very few of them to your goal. Or you spend countless hours modifying pages and don't have a clue whether any of the changes you're making have any effect. When all you do is look at the bottom line improvement this is quite often what happens.
In all business websites you should want to identify advertising, products, and areas of your site that generate the highest value visitors or interest over the long term. If the time spent on your is too short, your copy, graphics, or usability likely needs to be re-written or re-designed to be more compelling.
When is the time spent on the site too short?
Initially you need to figure this out before setting a base KPI. What we have done in some cases is time how long it takes to complete an action.
If you want someone to subscribe to your site how long does it take to do that in seconds? This then becomes your base KPI. If the majority of people stay on your site for longer than that period, then you're happy and your KPI is telling you that you're doing a good job. If the majority of people aren't sticking around long enough to actually subscribe then it's a warning signal that something is wrong and you could be headed for pain.
Your KPI will depend on the main action you wanted them to take. You could use these guidelines for each kind of website;
Lead Generation/Subscription, how long it takes in seconds to complete the sign up form.
E-commerce/Sales, how long it takes in seconds to purchase the product.
Content/B2B advertising, how long it takes in seconds to find and read an article.
Customer Service, how long it takes to satisfy the customer query.
We typically advise getting someone not connected to the website to do a short usability test and the average time taken be set as a KPI if the result was good.
What if the average time taken is too long?
When you have determined the minimum time spent on the site you should also pay attention to whether people are taking too long reading your pages. It could be that your users are becoming frustrated and can't find what they need on your site. Time spent on site in combination with page views per session gives you a more complete picture of whether people are finding what they need.
Summary - The Complete Picture
Putting the KPI's together and understanding why you're doing it is the key to defining metrics which you can use to help you make decisions. If you start to think about what a good visit is, what a bad visit is and determine which metrics define a good and bad visitor you're half way to getting the KPI's you need. By defining the KPI's before you start you can begin to get a more complete understanding of what works and armed with this information can improve your website based on what your visitors are telling you.
Author: Steve Jackson, Editor - Conversion Chronicles
Steve Jackson is CEO of Aboavista, editor of The Conversion Chronicles and a published writer. You can get a free copy of his e-book sent to you upon subscription to the Chronicles web site (http://www.conversionchronicles.com).
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Summer must be when many work at home Mom start to think that their business is a flop and begin to look for a new opportunity. This is fine if your business is truly a flop - but chances are, you just need to take a look at it from a fresh perspective.
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Implications Of E-Commerce For Tax Legislation
As e-commerce develops ambiguities in the current tax code in which it may be exposed. It would not be regarded as too early to take premature steps for undertaking such a review at a time when detailed international legislation are going on to promulgate acceptable standards laws for imposition taxation in this regard. The Central Board of Revenue should take active part in promulgation of conducting research on this subject in hand and should propose any changes to tax law in the light of what emerges in development in e-business. In the meantime, Central board of Revenue will do two things:
Do You Need A Merchant Account?
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Accepting Credit Card Payments Online
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What would you do if you were sent an email from your online credit card processor telling you that your account has been suspended or frozen? How are you going to pay the bills in the meantime? It is extremely important for you to familiarize yourself with the terms of your contract with your credit card processor. As long as you comply with their set regulation and guidelines to maintain your account in good standing you should have no problems.
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7 Key Steps To Reduce Refunds and Chargebacks
One sure-fire way to loosing out big time on your business profits is from incidences of excessive refunds and chargeback requests. If the number is high in any period you could risk loosing your third party merchant account altogether. So what do you do when there are some who will request a refund within 15 minutes of purchasing your product? Or even more pettier are those who will wait until the last possible moment to request a refund. Well not all is lost because merchant account providers are very well informed as to the credit card numbers of persistent refund and chargeback claimants. Just like their list of fraudulent credit card users, stolen credit cards etc they have a database of what I call "Refund Junkies". There appears to be no end to the unethical tactics some people will use to get your product for free.Use the following tips to further safeguard against refunds and expensive chargeback costs. The good news is that refunds are easy to process and do not carry any additional fees. However as a merchant you want to ensure that refunds are kept to a minimum.1. Clearly State the Billing NameFirst and foremost state the name of your third party credit card processor on your sales pages and include them in your terms and follow up email receipts so that customers are fully aware of what company name will appear on their billing statements. This will reduce the number of customers who do not recognize the billing name on their statements from contacting their credit card issuers for a chargeback. This one factor can lead to an unprecedented number of chargebacks claims.2. Provide Your Customer Support DetailsProvide your email address so that customers can contact you regarding any queries about their order. Make sure that you answer them in a timely manner to avoid unnecessary delays. If a customer is not responded to promptly they are very likely to make a refund request.3. Offer Lifetime UpdatesOffering your customers lifetime updates to your product and services to add value and will encourage them to remain customers in the knowledge that they will always receive your most current edition of your goods.4. Reward Loyal Customers With Exclusive PrivilegesOffer your customers a product that can be used freely as long as they are fully paid members, as part of a membership site. Or use a tool which is only available to customers and cannot be accessed after a refund request is made. As long as your offer is valuable to your customers and members you are will substantially reduce the number of refund requests.5. Provide The Best GuaranteeYour guarantee could become a thorn in your side if you have a very short time span before customers can test out and use your product. But studies show that the longer the guarantee period the less refund requests are made because customers are more comfortable with their rights to cancel if the product or service does not meet their needs.This is at your discretion as a merchant so testing is important to work out what is best for you. Remember to take into account that some third party processors have a limit on the maximum refund time their merchants can issue to customers.6. Accurate Product DescriptionsAvoid making bold claims that are "too good to be true" if you cannot deliver the results. You could be setting yourself up for a big fall and your customers will request refunds if your product description does not fulfill their needs. You could also be breaking the law and be liable to charges if a law suit is brought against your company. Make sure your sale letter accurately reflects your goods for sale and highlight the TRUE benefits of owning the goods.7. Surprise BonusesIt is a great surprise when you buy something and receive additional unadvertised bonuses. This can warm your customers to your company and can only please them. It also demonstrates that you do not need to publicize your bonuses because you believe in your product so much that it will sell on its own merit.Dispelling MythsAll too often I have read articles and statements claiming that with third party merchant accounts there are no chargeback fees and that you never have your company name display on customer statements. These claims are inaccurate. The facts are that some do not have chargeback fees. I have personally researched 90+ third party processing companies and have contacted them to verify certain key points in their terms of contract and fee schedule. There are some third party processors that do not issue chargeback fees or refunds, such as can be found with some digital gold currencies. In this case the merchant must initiate a refund directly to the customer.There are some third party processors who do not levy chargeback fees but you will find that these are very few in number and they will typically have a higher processing fee to cover their costs. Don't be mistaken in thinking that third party processors do not pass on chargeback fees to their merchants. You only have to read their terms in full to find out exactly what you can expect to be charged for per chargeback incident. I highlight these important facts in my book The A-Z of No Merchant Accounts for your convenience.
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