October 13, 2004, 12:00 AM

Home page and checkout: the key to what happens in between

Focusing on the home page and checkout process isn’t the only way for online retailers to boost conversion rates. Fixing high-exit points such as privacy policy pages can help keep customers in the conversion funnel, says WebTrends.

It’s not just what happens on the home page, the product page and checkout that tells an online marketer about how well the site is performing. What happens at a wide variety of different entry and exit points along the conversion funnel can highlight missed opportunities, needed fixes and more than a few surprises, Jason Palmer, vice president of product marketing and product management at web analytics provider WebTrends/Net IQ, tells Internet Retailer.

For example, many retailers don’t realize that there are easy opportunities to decrease the overall abandonment rate by improving pages that have been flagged as frequent site exit points by WebTrends analytics, Palmer says. Often overlooked by online marketers focused on home pages and product pages, other pages such as those describing the terms and conditions of a promotion, privacy policy or tax information may be “dry and legalese,” says Palmer. “They’re not very customer-friendly.”

When analytics show high abandonment rates from such pages among customers already in the conversion funnel, it suggests there’s room for improvements, Palmer says. “By spending some time to make those pages a little more marketing oriented, easier to read and understand, you can decrease the abandonment rate on those pages,” he says. “You can redesign the page to reinforce your branding messages. And then you can see whether you have truly made a difference, based on the number of people who are exiting off that page.”

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