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E-Commerce Website Trends

You show me yours, and I'll show you mine :-))

11:55 am on May 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've been operating an online shop for about 3 years,
and struggling to improve its effectiveness.

I wonder if anyone is collecting metrics for E-Commerce site performance. If these were available, any of us could place our own site performance within a broader context, and in that way learn if we're doing OK or not.

Conversion ration - the ratio of visits to sales is an obvious metric. Mine has dropped from 2.3% to 1.1% and I have no idea why.

The % of people using our shopping basket has taken a year to drop from 8% to 4% - again - no idea why.

Is there a place where people exchange numbers or look in detail about useability issues in E-Commerce? I already know about useit.com.


(edited by: TallTroll at 2:18 pm (utc) on May 10, 2002)

12:44 pm on May 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hi ChrisXenon,

Has your traffic profile changed?

For example, are you getting a higher percentage of Google visitors compared to MSN/AOL?

Some people have observed that web-savvy searchers (eg using Google) are more cautious with their money than the less experienced userbase typical of MSN and AOL?

1:05 pm on May 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi 4eyes & thanks for making time to respond to my post.
Interesting question!

Google has accounted for about 50% of our traffic for a long time, so I don't think this can be a factor.

Hovever, the % of Yahoo traffic HAS steadily declined.

We're ranked #1 for our key phrase on Yahoo.com.
It's annoying that we get virtually NO traffic from Yahoo.co.uk, but loads of unwanted traffic from Yahoo.com (actually we now sell that traffic to a USA website).
I've emailed Yahoo about this,of course they don't answer.

So maybe Yahoo is a factor; I'll try again to get help from them (any tips on that, anyone?!).

In the meantime - I'm still generally interested in metrics for E-Commerce, if anyone has any.


2:39 pm on May 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You mention that the sales/visits ratio has dropped, but you don't mention what has happened to your overall traffic.

If traffic has risen, but sales have not risen proportionately, that may indicate no more than the fact that you reach pretty much your whole target market currently, and any extra traffic now is basically just time-wasters.

The fact that the sales/visits ratio, and the %age of visitors going to the shopping basket have both declined by half seems to bear that out.

Also, the web, and particularly the e-commerce market has developed enormously over the last year. People are graually getting used to the idea of e-commerce. What you are seeing may be no more than a reaction from a more sophisticated user finding your site. I have not seen your site, and I'm certainly not suggesting that there is anything wrong with its usability, but when was the last time you conducted a usability study? Buyers expect more these days, the successful site has to be faster, slicker, and inspire more end-user confidence than ever before. Consumers get bored real easy.

2:41 pm on May 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

North Carolina State University has a great e-commerce resource center at


2:56 pm on May 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

TallTroll has some excellent points about market demographics.

A few more points:

Make shipping free (2 -5 days) and add overnight at whatever rate you can get.

Make sure these are actively display to the visitors well before going to shopping cart.
80% of all abandoned cart are due to shipping charges as well as only seeing these after the filling ou the process forms.

Chris sticky me your web site and email.

I'd like to take a look.

6:46 pm on May 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the further responses, guys.
TallTroll - overall traffic went up until it peaked in Jan02, since then it's been falling. Useability may be an issue. I've observed, for example, that the vast majority of products are those apeparing in the top row of three-row pages. I can only guess people don't know about the scroll bar - yet this seem simplausible.

I've also looked at page turning performance. Most product ranges span several pages - each with three rows of three products. If you get X visitors to page one of a collection, you find that x/2 make it to page 2, etc.
The summary on all of this is that most people never see MOST of my products.
I've done the obvious things to correct this - putting page links at the top of the page as well as the bottom, animating the NEXT PAGE buttons, etc. but this behavious is very sticky. I've also done user tests. Neilson suggetss five is a good number. I learned that most of my family can't spell for toffee, and that my search system needs to comprehend that fact. I also got a few biggies but they were fixed long ago.

Fathom, thanks for the URL, and the interst in my site.
I'll sticky you the URL shortly.


ALso the "half-life"


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