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Bigcommerce Gives Merchants Insight into Shoppers’ Behavior

Though free options for analytics for ecommerce pros and others have been available for a while, those choices may be less feature-rich than what a potential customer needs. With a newly released Analytics service the company is promoting as “enterprise-grade technology at a price point designed for SMBs,” Bigcommercebelieves they have a compelling option in play, as Tim Schulz, SVP of Product at Bigcommerce, explains.

Bigcommerce Analytics provides merchants with information about their best-selling products, popular categories, average order value (AOV), purchase funnel analysis, abandoned carts, category-level merchandising, and customer acquisition insights.

Some key features of Analytics include customer-level metrics on orders, conversions, and merchandising, as well as better understanding of returning customer behavior.

EcommerceBytes also learned from Bigcommerce that they plan to announce new partnerships with shipping solution firm Endicia and sales tax software company Avalara, “designed to reduce two of the biggest pain points for online merchants – shipping and sales tax.”

Schulz took some time to provide additional context about the new Analytics offering and how a couple of its features can benefit online sellers.

EcommerceBytes: What kind of information will a purchase funnel analysis reveal?

Tim Schulz: Physical retailers have the benefit of being able to see exactly what products customers look at or pick up off the shelf, which ones they put back, and ultimately, whether they make it to the checkout aisle or not. Online it is harder for merchants to get a sense of whether visitors to their site are actually engaged shoppers or not.

We built the purchase funnel report to focus on the different stages of a shopping experience – from “walking in the door” to “picking products off the shelf” (i.e., looked at a product page) to putting something in their basket to ultimately making a purchase or not. Our merchants can also understand their overall conversion rate, which helps to inform how they can optimize their website and how much they should allocate to inbound marketing campaigns.

EcommerceBytes: How would a seller make best use of details revealed in a purchase funnel analysis?

Tim Schulz: We want our merchant partners to know whether their visitors are highly engaged in the shopping experience. To enable this, we track what number and percentage of visitors actually look at product pages or not. From there, we help them understand things like 1) how engaging the merchandising and promotions are, 2) which products and promotions are encouraging shoppers to add something to their shopping cart and 3) whether it is seamless and easy for customers to take the final step and make the purchase.

We want our merchants to look at these stages of the funnel religiously and then determine if their challenge is getting folks to the site, getting site visitors engaged in a shopping experience or if it’s ultimately getting them to make the purchase. This level of tracking is now fully automated and easily discoverable from within the Bigcommerce control panel.

EcommerceBytes: What is the most common revelation Bigcommerce sees with regards to abandoned carts?

Tim Schulz: We see this as a big opportunity for many of our merchants. We think of it kind of like dropping the ball at the goal line. Once you have done all the hard work of bringing someone to the site, helping them find a great product, encouraging them to really want that product and put it in the basket, you don’t want to stop working right when they have to pull out their credit card and buy. For many of our merchants, we see initial shopping cart abandonment rates north of 70%.

Our goal is to equip clients with the tools to reduce this, both through reporting so that they can understand what the customer intended to buy and how they engaged on the site, as well as through tools like our Abandoned Cart Saver, which enables them to use customized emails to bring shoppers back and offer coupon codes to encourage check-out. Our Abandoned Cart Saver recovers an average of 15% of lost sales. For clients selling more than $1,000 per month, this functionality literally pays for itself.

EcommerceBytes: How can sellers address typical causes of cart abandonment?

Tim Schulz: Great question. Merchants really need to understand if the issue is around a product or set of products, around a category of products and/or the checkout process. This is why we put the funnel analysis and abandoned cart views right next to each other.

The easiest way for merchants to test whether certain products are creating high abandon rates is to alternate product images to see if that works or change the product description to see if that causes uplift. Only after testing those different things, in addition to other merchandising techniques, should you start to play with the price of the product as a last resort.

Another beneficial step is to streamline the checkout process as much as possible. Simple tweaks like showing customers which credit cards you accept upfront can improve the checkout experience tremendously, which in turn reduces cart abandonment rates.

When you sell online there is a limitless amount of competition for your customers’ attention, so it’s critical for merchants to have tools that help keep their brands and products in front of customers, even after they’ve left the website.

Currently in beta, Bigcommerce expects Analytics to have general availability in October.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.