In my last post, I discussed how you can see how much money you are leaving on the table when it comes to the online shopping cart. While I still have the shopping cart on my mind, I thought I would follow this up with a concept I call Product Pathing. Product Pathing answers one of the questions I get from time to time: How can I see the order in which website visitors are looking at my products or product categories? The following will provide details on why you might want to do this and its implementation.
Why Product Pathing?
So why would you want to implement Product Pathing? Here are a few reasons:
- Understanding how visitors jump between products or product categories which helps you understand how visitors navigate your products
- Seeing what products are viewed concurrently which helps you understand what cross-sell/up-sell opportunities might exist
- If one of your website goals is to get visitors to view multiple products, you can measure how you are doing against that goal
There may be more reasons, but the preceding items should help you build a case for implementing this, especially since it is not difficult to do.
Implementing Product Pathing
So the standard way to see the answers to the questions above is to use page name-based Pathing reports. You might find the page name of a particular product and then look at Pathing reports to see what visitors did after viewing the product. However, I find that this approach does not work because there are so many pages on the website that it is impossible to sift through them all and isolate just product pages. Therefore, I am going to propose the following alternative solution:
- On all Product View Pages, in addition to setting a Product View Success Event and the Products Variable, pass the Product Name (or ID if that is all you have) to a new “Product” Traffic Variable (sProp). Be sure that you pass nothing but the Product Name (or ID) to this sProp.
- After that is done, enable Pathing on this sProp
Believe it or not, that is all you have to do! By passing only the Product Name (or ID) to this new sProp, you will have a clean, new sProp that allows you to see Pathing reports on only Products like this:
Moreover, keep in mind that you have access to all Pathing reports so you get the bonus benefits of seeing the following as well:
- How often visitors looked at Product X and then didn’t look at any other Products (Exit % – 42.32% in this case)
- All paths containing Product X (Full Paths Report)
- What Products visitors see (if any) between Product X and Product Z (Pathfinder Report)
- How often did visitors see Product X and then Product Y (Fallout Report)
- Which Products were viewed first the most often (Entries) or last the most often (Exits)
A Few Other Cool Uses of Product Pathing
In addition to this, there are a few other cool things you can do:
- Instead of passing Product Names (of IDs), you can pass in Product Categories to see the same data at a higher level
- Instead of passing Product Name values at the Product View Success Event, you can set an additional sProp in which you pass Product Names when the Cart Add Event is set to see the order in which visitors add products to the shopping cart