Measure every step of your competitor's sales funnel

You might want to see your competitor's sales numbers to have better real-time measurement of your own site. Or, it helps you pinpoint more successful products and promotions. By looking at the URL for hints, you can track those changes inside your competitor's analytics to find out how many people are making it to each part of the funnel.

The first thing you'll need is access to their analytics. That isn't impossible as it might seem since you can replicate their data in your own account through Nacho Analytics.

These steps in this video will let you find another site's best selling products and categories. With a spreadsheet and some legwork, you can also estimate their conversion rate (and abandonment rate) at every step of the sales funnel.

Look for the Clues in the URL

Open up their analytics and in a second tab, open their site. (:42)

On the competitor's site, go to a category page. This is usually on the main page where you'll see collections like "Women, Men, Children" for apparel sites or "home, beauty, wellness" on a drugstore's site. Click through and stop.

Look at the URL for hints.

Categories

In the video's example, the category page includes page numbers. That simple detail ("page=1, page=2") helps you track how far people dig into each category. (1:04)

Use the analytics to note the page view count for each one (over a certain time frame). Drop that into your spreadsheet--counting every visitor per page.

This isn't really something to see as "conversions," though. It's very likely that the visitor found what they needed on page 1 of the category page and clicked through on a product. Moving to Page 2 doesn't mark anything other than someone willing to browse further into the category. Instead, a bar chart here could help make small patterns more obvious.

page views dropping as expected

For example, you can probably safely predict visitors to drop off steadily after page 1.

page views don't decrease as expected

But if a good portion make it to page 3, what does that say about the category itself? Is it packed? Are customers not finding what they need, or is there plenty to offer? You can look further at metrics like "time on page" for each of these to help solidify your ideas.

Products

Go back to the site itself. This time, click through on an actual product. Better yet, open a few random products from different categories in new tabs. Look for a signature that all of these product description pages have in common. (1:28) This might be a small abbreviation like (in the video example) "dp."

Return to your analytics tab with that signature in mind. Navigate to this section so you can search product pages:

Behavior>Site Content>All pages

A. First, you can measure the most-viewed product. That doesn't mean it's the top seller, but it's a good point of reference.

B. This will also give you a place to collect page view counts for each product. It's not the raw numbers that matter here--it's the conversions into the cart.

Calculate their Site's Conversion Rate

For every page, you can calculate the percentage of people that moved onto the next step. This will become your conversion rate.

Similarly, the opposite will be your abandonment rate.

Drop the page views (for product pages) into a spreadsheet. You can use the total page views for all product pages (a roll-up) or count each one separately. It's up to you how granular you want to get with the conversion rate--by product or by site. I suggest that you start with the roll-up first and go back if you end up with bigger questions.

Move on to the next stage.

Return to the tab that has the site open.

Let's find a signature for something in the cart.

Add to Cart or Shopping Basket

As we've mentioned in a few different "how to" steps, you might have to do some legwork to get this detail. Buy something from the site so that you can watch the URL for anything that shows it has been added to your cart.

Let's say that the signature for adding to the cart is "cart."

Just like with the "dp" from the product description page, you are going to return to the analytics tab, view the "all pages section" and search for the URL clue "cart."

If you are using the roll-up metrics for all product page views, then you can use the roll-up count for all cart page views. You should have a general conversion rate for the site from product to "add to cart."

In the video, you will see that the spreadsheet includes basic formulas to keep track of the conversion rate for each step as well as the abandonment rate.

Checkout

Finally, repeat the same signature hunt and comparison for the checkout step.

This process should help you catch your competitor's strengths and weaknesses in their on-site funnel. There is no standard conversion rate, but you should be able to compare it against your own rates and see if they're performing better in a similar industry. Could you single out their stronger steps and catch what they're doing to get there?

measure their sales funnel

Abandonment Campaigns

Also, don't forget that customers can drop out of the funnel and get back in. Think of "cart abandonment" offers, for example. Watch their checkout rate, relative to their cart abandonment rate to see if this might be a campaign worth doing on your own.

To get the clues, you can go through the satisfying motions of adding something to your own cart and leaving it behind. If they target you, pay attention to the offer: promo code or link? Either one will have a clue that you can track through their analytics. The key is to pay attention to the details hiding in the URLs.