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Web Site Measurement Hacks by Eric T. Peterson

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Hack #83. Measure the Checkout Process

Improvements in the online checkout processes have yielded more incremental revenue than almost any other aspect of web site measurement.

The checkout process is the most important process for any retail site to optimize. Luckily, it is also the easiest to analyze, and the improvement opportunities uncovered through analysis are extremely tangible. Following this simple framework will allow you to identify changes that have allowed retailers to make up their investment in these enhancements during the first day post implementation!

Step One: Establish a Baseline

The first step is establishing a baseline, as well as a method for monitoring the checkout process performance efficiently and on a periodic basis. There are two high-level metrics that should be trended and provide an excellent baseline:

  • Same-session checkout completion over a given analysis period (for example, the fiscal month), defined as the number of visits (including receipt page) divided by the number of visits (including first step in checkout process)

  • Cross-session checkout completion over a period representative of the average amount of time it takes a shopper to purchase, defined as the number of visitors reaching receipt page divided by the number of visitors starting the checkout process

In terms of monitoring the checkout process itself, you should go one level deeper and look at what is happening at each step. The metrics you need to pay attention to at each step in the checkout ...

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