Configuring Volusion Site Search With Google Analytics

If you have a Volusion store, you’ve probably seen the log of internal searches that it keeps. Knowing what your visitors are searching for is useful, but there’s more information to be had by configuring your Google Analytics account to watch the internal site search too. Once you’ve set this up, you’ll be able to see not only what your visitors are searching for but what they do after they’ve searched.

I’ll explain a few uses for this information shortly, first lets get it set up:

From your Analytics home page, go to admin then click on the profile settings tab.

Scroll down and check the “Do track Site Search”, then in “Query Parameter” just type in “Search”

When you do this, Analytics will look at any search result URL and identify the search term, so if someone searched for “potato” the URL would look like this:

Analytics will find the “Search=” part and know that what follows is what the visitor searched for.

If you have search refinement enabled on your store, you can tick the “site search categories” box, type “brand” as the category parameter and you’ll get refined results by brand.

You’ll have to wait a while to start seeing results, but when you do here are some things to look for and some ways to use the information:

Searches with a high bounce rate

If you see that a certain search has a high bounce rate or a low conversion rate, ask yourself why. Perform the search yourself and see what the results look like. Are visitors looking for a product that you don’t sell? Could you sell it?  Are they looking for a product you do sell but not finding it? Could you change the product listing so it appears for this search term?

High volume searches with a good conversion rate

If a particular term gets searched a lot and gets you sales, could you make the product or category more prominent and easy to find? Should you be bidding on this keyword in PPC and directing people to the result page?

Where are visitors searching from?

Analytics will tell you which page your visitors searched from, if people are searching for a particular thing from a category page, could you move the product to that category or make it appear more prominently if it’s already there but on page 2? If people are searching from a product page, could you cross sell the two products better?

No doubt you’ll find more ways to use this data, feel free to share any ideas in the comments.

How To Not Annoy People with Adwords Remarketing

Ever feel like certain adverts are following you round the internet, lurking on websites that are totally unrelated, jumping out at you when you’re not interested?

You’re right, they are, Google Adwords and many other advertising platforms make it easy to target you with ads based on sites you’ve visited, if you visits, a cookie can be placed in your browser so that adverts for green widgets can be served up to you on any other site that rents advertising space.

With my marketing hat on, I love this, it’s a great way to make sure that you show relevant ads to people who have already visited your site. But with my consumer hat on, I hate remarketing with a passion, just because I visited your site once for 10 seconds before I realised it was rubbish and left does not mean I want to see your equally rubbish adverts everywhere I go. Imagine going in to a shop, glancing round and leaving only to be followed around for the next week by people with advertising placards who jump in to your line of sight at every opportunity.

By all means use remarketing, but if you don’t want to irritate potential customers to the point where they view your brand as a creepy stalker, make sure you take the appropriate precautions.

1) Cap the number of daily impressions.

By default, there is no cap on the maximum number of times per day that a visitor will see your ads. Change this, do it now. What cap you place on the number of impressions is up to you, but I would suggest no more than 8 per day. Not only will this help avoid annoying people but if you’re paying CPM it will keep your costs down.

2) Vary your ads

Seeing ten different ads for the same product is slightly less annoying than seeing the same ad ten times. It also gives you useful data on which type of ads get the best CTR.

3) Don’t preach to the choir.

I use a certain well known hosted ecommerce solution. I’m already a customer and I like the product, I recommend whenever I’m asked, they really don’t need to advertise to me, and yet everywhere I go I’m harassed by the same ads.

Fortunately this is easy to avoid, you can set multiple audiences within adwords, so as well as the “visited my site once” group, you can have a “has an account” group. Now all you have to do is exclude the second group and your loyal customers won’t get bugged by ads for something they already buy and you won’t waste money doing it.

There is an exception; if you are selling a consumable item that people buy on a regular cycle – like razor blades – then you can target them, but be clever about it. Create a “people who bought razor blades” group with a cookie duration of a bit less than the average buying cycle and another “people who bought razor blades” group with a longer cookie duration. Include the second, exclude the first and you’ll be showing your ads to people who bought razorblades a while ago and are probably about to run out. Win.

4) Be specific

If I land on your site via a search for a specific product and you show me ads for a load of other stuff I never even looked at then the chances are I won’t click. Identify high traffic landing pages and create audiences specific to them, then show relevant ads. Your CTR will be higher and you won’t waste money showing ads for perfume to people who came to your site looking for spanners.

Adwords remarketing is a beautiful, powerful tool capable of intricate, finely detailed campaigns that show the right ads to the right people at the right time. Use it that way, don’t use it as blunt instrument.

Volusion Checkout Process Improvements

We like Volusion, it’s got various pros and cons compared to open platforms like Magento but when it comes to the day to day running of an online business Volusion just pips Magento to the post. Volusion’s intuitive back office is perfect for non techies who just want to get on with running their business.

That said, Volusion is proprietory software and although it is heavily customisable there are areas that are pretty heavily locked down, including the checkout.

Although the checkout files are not accessible, there are still a few little tweaks you can do to improve the user experience and your conversion rate:

1).Setting a Default Payment Option

If you only have one payment option on your site, this drop down is pointless, why give visitors a drop down box with only one choice?

Even if you have two options, surely it makes more sense to have a default selection?

Fortunately this is an easy fix with a tiny bit of  jQuery, just  put the following script in one of the checkout page articles, article 115 works well:


This script sets the dropdown to paypal,  the one below sets it to Credit Card

$("#PaymentMethodTypeDisplay").val("Credit Card");

Both of these scripts need jQuery installed, but most Volusion templates have it by default. If not,  here’s how:


2). Hiding the Payment Options All Together

If you only have one payment option enabled, this dropdown is now redundant, exactly how you do this will vary depending on your template but adding the following bit of CSS will hide the pre selected dropdown menu:

<style>#v65-checkout-payment-header{display: none;}</style>


3). Automatically Redirecting to Paypal

One of my biggest bugbears with Volusion has always been that if a customer chooses to pay with Paypal, they are directed to a page that says “please click the button to go to Paypal”. This always annoyed the hell out of me, it’s just another stage that people can drop out at.

jQuery to the rescue again, All you need to do is put this script into one of the articles on the Paypal Order Finished page, article 80 works well:

function submitForm()
t = setTimeout("submitForm()", 2000);

Combine this with a nice loading animation and you’re done. After 2 seconds the script automatically presses the button, you can change the delay by changing the 2000 in the line below to whatever value you prefer.

t = setTimeout("submitForm()", 2000);

You might want to add a “If you are not redirected in a few seconds, please click the button below” statement in case the script fails to execute.