The Two Website Goals That Are Key to (Effective) Ecommerce Growth

By Jon MacDonald
8 minute read | Last Updated: November 23, 2018

Discover the only two ecommerce goals that matter and how to use them to outperform the competition.

What are your ecommerce website goals?

At The Good, we’ve found our clients often know exactly what they want to see happen – but they’re short on why their bucket list is a good idea.

Maybe the CEO is adamant about the site delivering pop-ups with special promotions, the CMO wants testimonials on every product page, and the website design objectives from the creative team stress upgrading the site with higher-quality images.

All are valid concerns, but they’re like the hunter who hears a noise in the brush and starts haphazardly firing off shots: not only is that strategy unlikely to result in fresh game on the table, it’s downright dangerous.

Here are the most important things to know about ecommerce website goals:

  • Most goals are based on opinion, not on research. That new pop-up may please the CEO, but it could drive potential customers away.
  • There are really only two ecommerce website goals that really matter. Neither gives a hoot for what your design team thinks.

You’re here to learn how to get better results for your company’s ecommerce efforts. Our desire is to help you do that.

If we could show you how to stop relying on opinions, get more sales, and boost ROI… would you be interested?

That’s exactly what this article is about:

We’re going to reveal the only two ecommerce goals that matter and show you how to apply them to get an upper hand on the competition.

There are only two #ecommerce website goals that really matter. Both are revealed in this article. Click To Tweet

So, what are the best website goals?

Let’s cut to the chase:

The best website goals are your customers’ goals. Specifically, the only two website goals that really matter are these:

  • Goals that help your visitors research your products or services
  • Goals that help your visitors purchase those products or services from you

Everything else – your CEO’s love of popups, your CMO’s belief that more testimonials are the key to sales, and your creative team’s website design objectives and love of beauty – are secondary (at best) to the desires of the customer.

Get that straight, and you’re well on your way to ecommerce fame.

The best website goals are your customers’ goals. Everything else is secondary (at best). Click To Tweet

Why are those two website goals the most important?

Your company executives and employees may be the people most interested in how your ecommerce website looks, but they’re not the people who interact the most with it or spend the most money there.

The people your website must convince are the ones who most determine the success of your company. They are the shoppers who come there to find out more about the goods you offer.

Converting those visitors into customers is the main job of any ecommerce website. That’s done by educating them on your product or service line and presenting an offer that’s desirable to accept and a sales path that’s simple to follow.

“Of course, it’s not the employer who pays the wages.” wrote the founder of Ford Motor Company. The employer only “handles the money.”

Wages come when customers buy your products and services. That’s the premise of all legitimate business. No customers, no sales, no company.

Consider these benefits of moving the research and purchase capabilities of your ecommerce website visitors to the forefront of all your conversion rate optimization activities – whether you’re adding a new feature or completely revamping the site.

  • Put your best prospects’ research and buying tasks front and center when you focus on adjusting your site to maximize user experience.
  • Increase the likelihood of getting the sale by listening to what they want and giving it to them. Studies consistently show that customer experience is paramount to conversions.
  • Convert more visitors into customers when changes to your site are based on known customer desires rather than on an arbitrary wish list gathered from company stakeholders.
  • Your business is built on the needs of your best prospects. The second your website begins to prioritize the needs of competing stakeholders within your company over the needs of your customers, the tide will turn and you’ll see revenues head the other way.
  • The best way to cut through company politics and personal bias is to validate what your best prospects want…then give it to them. That can be accomplished through a scientifically-designed program of rigorous testing and data interpretation.
  • A correctly configured conversion rate optimization program prevents you from needing an expensive total website redesign every couple of years. Rightly done, CRO may produce major changes quickly. More importantly, though, it continues to produce minor improvements over time. Those little changes end up being significant when they multiply the bottom line results.
  • By focusing on your visitor research and purchase needs, you don’t end up throwing the baby out with the bath water. You keep what’s working and jettison what isn’t working. The right direction, maintained over time, beats out any temporary goal.

Unlike a magazine or poster, digital work can be measured and changed for the better after it’s launched – based on data collected after the launch.

When proper care is taken to set the right website goals and build around them, the launch of a project is simply the first opportunity to record actual usage data and further align the features behind the goals.

That’s opposite the typical approach of collecting opinions, mashing them into a website that tries to please everyone, then grading it “Pass” or “Fail.”

How to apply the two best goals strategy for your ecommerce website

There are three primary considerations you’ll need to be aware of in order to adopt a customer-centered approach to conversion rate optimization:

  • Management will need to accept and adopt an iterative mindset – one that recognizes the value of testing and data-based decision making. Website changes should never be made piecemeal in reaction to individual requests, even when those requests come from the C-Suite.
  • All stakeholders must be educated in the customer-centered approach. Most will instantly recognize the value of the concept when it is presented correctly. Forward this article to those most involved in making CRO decisions. Once their heads are all nodding in the same direction, significant improvements can occur.
  • Employ the services of a genuine conversion rate optimization specialist to help you take the next steps. This can’t be stressed enough. We’ve elsewhere written about how to identify a bonafide CRO partner. The wrong advice can set you back instead of moving you forward. To get your questions answered squarely, call The Good.

Here are two examples of how the customer-centered approach works:

  1. Let’s say your monitored test points reveal that users are frequently searching for a certain type of content. That gives you an opportunity to address your ecommerce website’s content structure. You produce the information they need, they respond to the call to action you’ve included, and you get the sell.
  2. Maybe a certain product or workflow is underperforming. Your visitors are passing on your offers, no matter how hard you try. That gives you an opportunity to develop theories and use A/B tests to break out of the stuck points.

Figuring any of that out and making the necessary changes requires a solid foundation of clear goals at the outset and continued testing after launch. This idea may seem like common sense, but it’s a common failure in the web design and marketing industries.

We see it happen way too often: personal preference and gut feelings prevail over solid data and scientifically-guided conversion rate optimization tactics.

This idea may seem like common sense, but it’s a common failure in the web design and marketing industries. Click To Tweet

Moving from what to why

After years of hands-on experience with companies large and small, we learned quickly to shift our approach from planning the “What” to understanding the “Why.”

Rather than working to come up with ideas about what paying customers really want, we design tests that let them tell us what they want.

We’ve found that by first outlining a series of customer-informed website goals to build on – rather than rely on a list of features originating from within the company – the odds of ROI for any given change go way up.

We told you we were going to reveal the only two ecommerce goals that matter and show you how to apply them to get an upper hand on the competition.

We’ve done that.

Don’t stop there, though. Use what we’ve discussed here to push your ecommerce results further, faster.

Need help?

Call The Good.

Resources:

About the author: Jon MacDonald is founder and President of The Good, a conversion rate optimization firm that has achieved results for some of the largest online brands including Adobe, Nike, Xerox, Verizon, Intel and more. Jon regularly contributes content on conversion optimization to publications like Entrepreneur and Inc. He knows how to get visitors to take action.

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