In a world of empowered consumers, eCommerce analytics is the set of tools and processes that help you gather data that is directly relevant to your online store from all the sources that have an impact on it. eCommerce data can offer you valuable insights into the shopping behavior of your clients and into the customer journey, from discovery to acquisition and all the way to the post-purchase phase.
Customer data is extremely valuable and can be turned into actionable information on which you can base most of your business decisions, but it’s real importance can be seen in the development of your marketing strategy. The long-term advantage of having an integrated view of your customers is that it can help you design better experiences, improve conversion rates and the performance of your eCommerce store, craft better communications and messaging strategies, increase customer retention, and reduce customer acquisition costs.
The importance of eCommerce analytics
Being data-driven is no longer optional- it’s a must. By unlocking the power of customer analytics, you can secure a better place for your business in this overly competitive market. eCommerce analytics (which includes customer analytics) can help you become more agile, more customer-centric. Here are a few advantages of digging deeper into your analytics platform:
- Guide your customers through the marketing funnel more easily and effectively by using the insights about their online behavior.
- Bring your upselling and cross-selling campaigns to a new level by understanding which customers are more likely to be receptive to these strategies.
- Make better product recommendations by analyzing your customers’ behavior on your website.
- Build an enhanced pricing strategy based on customer intelligence. This implies a flexible pricing strategy based on adjusting the prices by surging or dropping them, just like Uber does, according to the laws of supply and demand. For example, Amazon’s Selling Coach system “was built to manage consumers’ perception of price. The software identifies the goods that loom largest in consumers’ perception and keeps their prices carefully in line with competitors’ prices, if not lower.”
- Improve customer retention by looking at the trends in the repeat purchase rate.
- Improve the user experience by looking at bounce rates and by using heatmaps to see the areas of your website that are most attractive and the areas that are the most overlooked.
- Understand which channels drive the most customers and adapt your strategy to focus more on them and the specific advertising messages and tactics that appeal to the users of those channels.
- Improve segmentation and targeting. This will help you deliver better product recommendations and better advertising messages to the right audiences. Because we know that we aren’t all alike and that customers expect to be treated as unique and receive personalized communication and offerings.
- Better retargeting. According to Bigcommerce, using customer data for ad retargeting allows you to market to a more narrow audience based on behaviors that you’ve already analyzed.
- Better ROI for your marketing and advertising campaigns. By analyzing your campaigns and the evolution of your KPIs, you can make changes in key areas that will lead to a better performance of these campaigns, hence optimizing the necessary costs.
- Identify your best customers by calculating the customer lifetime value (which might imply metrics like the number of transactions, the average value of a sale, and retention time period; here you can find a few ways to calculate, measure, and improve it) and focus more on how to offer them the personalized experience they deserve.
Must-Have eCommerce Analytics Tools
As a rule, most eCommerce platforms come with their own analytics tools. But these are rather basic tools that don’t capture the full picture and don’t let you harness the full potential of the available data. This is why you might need to complement them with one (or a mix) of the following platforms, which are more complex and offer more detailed eCommerce reports (for sales, customer behavior, profit margin & finances, lifetime value, overview dashboards, RFM analysis, and so on).
Google Search Console
The analytics tools from Google are unavoidable and, above all, free of charge. For starters, Google Search Console is useful for the optimization of the eCommerce store, helping you make sure that everything is good to go and that there are no important errors hindering the performance of your website, and that no essential information is missing. Google’s Search Console is also helpful when it comes to the search engine optimization of your store, which is crucial if you want to get discovered on Google and gain traction. Moreover, it gives you alerts and suggestions for improvement when it detects something that isn’t working properly. To register your eCommerce store’s URLs to Google and make sure that your website is correctly indexed, you will first have to verify your website ownership on Search Console. From then on, you will have access to all the features, like the sitemaps reports and performance reports.
After successfully setting up your Google Analytics account, it will take a little while until data starts showing up. That’s because Google doesn’t track any data that has been associated with your website prior to its connection with a Google Analytics account. As people start visiting your website and purchasing items from your store, you will be able to see the analytics reports in standard or custom mode. Custom reports are reports that you create yourself, using the dimensions (City and Browser, for example) and metrics (Sessions, Pageviews, and Bounce Rate, for example) that are most relevant to you and deciding how they should be displayed.
Google enhanced eCommerce reports
Under the Universal Analytics eCommerce umbrella, Google has also created special reports for eCommerce tracking. The first one is the standard eCommerce report (which allow you to measure transactions and analyze purchase activity on your site or app; there you can see, for example, product transaction information, the average value of an order, the conversion rate, how much time it takes for a customer to buy from you, and so on). The second one is the enhanced eCommerce report, which adds additional functionality to the standard ones, like the moment when customers added items to their carts, when they started the checkout process, and when they actually completed a purchase. Enhanced eCommerce tracking can also be used to identify the customer segments that fall out of the shopping funnel along the way, at one point or another.
Campaign tracking in Google Analytics
You can test and measure the efficacy of your advertising campaigns with custom URLs containing UTM parameters, which are basically “tracking codes” that show you the sources (advertiser, site, publication, social platform), and the medium (like CPC, email newsletter, banner) that send traffic to your property, but also help you identify paid search keywords. Additionally, another parameter you can work with is the “utm_content” parameter, used to differentiate content variations or links from the same ad. Example: if you have two call to action links in the same email, you can use utm_content and define different values for each so you can track which version brings better conversion. These custom URLs help you gather campaign data and optimize the messages in order to have the ones that resonate with various audiences.
When we talk about analytics for eCommerce, we shouldn’t necessarily think in terms of numbers and numerous data points. Hotjar is one eloquent example when it comes to that. As they say, traditional web analytics tools help you analyze traffic data but they give you little to no information about how users are really engaging with your website. Hotjar offers session recordings and heatmaps to help you better understand how your visitors are really experiencing your website, without you having to drown in numbers (nice value proposition, if you were to ask us).
Heatmaps let you visualize user behavior like never before, by highlighting the most clicked/tapped areas and all the scrolling they do on a page. These are the strongest indicators of visitor motivation and desire. If you know how to decode these cues, you will understand what users want, care about, and do on your website.
The “hot” spots are the ones on which the cursor stays the longest and this is a strong indicator of what your users look at most, as the position of the cursor is strongly correlated with the areas we are looking at. Clicks and scrolling, on the other hand, show you more precisely how users are engaging with your website, which paths they navigate, and how fast they get to the information or product they are looking for. This kind of visualization allowed by heatmaps is highly relevant in designing or improving the user experience for your visitors.
Visitor recordings enable you to see what your users see, by giving you real-time feedback from your visitors. Essentially, you can see how your users move around the website, what they click on, what they skip, and so on, thus helping you identify usability issues and any other potential problems they might encounter.
Hotjar also offers you an “incoming feedback” function, which is a customizable widget that you can add to various sections of your website to see how your users feel about your copy, design, or features. This way you can see what they like and what they don’t like and identify opportunities for improvement and growth. You can organize all these pieces of visual feedback in dashboards so you can organize and analyze them more in detail.
Reveal by Omniconvert uses the same principle of simple data visualization but it takes it a bit further than the heatmaps offered by Hotjar. Reveal is a Customer Value Optimization platform that helps eCommerce businesses with automated insights into customers’ buying behavior, segmentation, NPS, and lifetime value. It aims to help eCommerce companies segment their customers in a better, more granular way, and gain insights for improved campaigns, higher ROI, and more repeat customers.
Reveal can be easily integrated with all major eCommerce platforms either by reading and interpreting JSON feeds through automated or manual import/export, or through API access. One of its major advantages is its quick setup, which only requires 3 steps: upload all the data you have gathered along the time (through JSON or API), wait for it to crunch it and turn it from raw data into actionable insights, then get ready to receive detailed and easy-to-understand reports that will offer you a holistic view over your customers’ behavior.
Reveal is built on three simple principles: understand your customers – monitor the metrics that matter (retention rate, lifetime value, RFM segmentation to identify your best customers, cohort analysis, the most profitable segments, voice of the consumer) – nurture the connection with your best customers (by prioritizing them, solving their problems faster and personalizing their experience across all channels). Instead of spending endless hours tracking in Google Analytics all the elements that matter to your eCommerce business, Reveal serves you all the eCommerce metrics that you need in order to make well-informed decisions in intuitive dashboards that allow for better and clearer data visualization.
This all-encompassing platform helps you discover who your Ideal Customers are (or your soulmates, as we like to call them) so that you can better target them and improve your communication with your future and existing clients. The focus on this precise segment has major advantages for all businesses, given that acquisition costs are ever-increasing. By concentrating on retention, you will see a higher profit margin and better return on investment for your marketing and sales efforts.
Reveal will deliver customer retention insights for your eCommerce business by providing you with automated customer reports based on your customers’ buying behavior. This translates into a clear overview of your customers and business, the ability to create better-targeted campaigns in the future, as well as the possibility to know exactly what to offer and to whom, to refine your assortments based on the NPS results, and to create more engaging loyalty programs.
Reveal focuses on metrics related to:
- RFM segmentation
- Recency: time passed since the last order has been placed or since the user has last engaged with the product
- Frequency: how frequent the customer transactions or visits are (the average time between transactions or engaged visits)
- Monetary value: the customer’s intention to purchase or their purchasing power (total or average transaction value per customer)
- NPS score monitoring (which places your customers in one of the following categories: promoters, passives, and detractors)
- Buying behavior
- Customer value
- Retention rate
- Total amount spent with your store
- Costs, revenue, and profit associated with the customer
- Order information, including the purchased products and the date
- Active/passive customers and the last time they placed an order in your store
- Cart abandonment rate
- Reward/loyalty program information
- Campaigns and channels that brought them on your website
- Ongoing personalization
- Revenue per visit
- Conversion rate
- Bounce rate
As mentioned previously, Google Analytics gives you lots of data that might be confusing and hard to interpret and to turn into actionable insights. Unlike other analytics platforms, Reveal is more like a Customer Value Optimization platform, that offers a complete overview of your customers’ behaviors, the performance of your product portfolio, and the impact of your eCommerce store as a whole. Personalization and retention should be the main priorities for any eCommerce business. Reveal, coupled with a tool like Hotjar, being two highly visual platforms, can help you achieve the goals you have set for yourself in these areas without going through all the fuss of collecting data, putting it together, and spending precious time trying to interpret it correctly.
Now it’s the best moment to try out Reveal for yourself and find out the truth about your consumers. Why? Because it’s free until January 31, 2021, for Shopify Stores and comes with a 30-days free trial for other platforms. Empower your eCommerce team with unique insights into customer behavior and explore all its features. It’s intuitive, easy to set up, and acts both like an analytics tool and an experienced “interpret” of the data.
eCommerce analytics is the set of tools and processes that help you gather, structure, and interpret data that is directly relevant to your online store from all the sources that have an impact on it.
Depending on your KPIs and business priorities, decide what metrics are important to you, collect the data associated with them (through cookies, eCommerce analytics tools, and so on), prepare it for processing by merging it into a single dataset, and, eventually, use a tool like Reveal by Omniconvert to help you interpret it in an accurate and easy-to-understand manner.
You will have to configure Google Tag Manager to send the eCommerce data to Google Analytics. First, you will create a Google Analytics Transaction tag which will send the purchase data over to Google’s servers, then a trigger that will fire that Transaction Tag (on the “Thank you” page or at the end of a successful transaction). After a successful setup, the sales data will populate your Google Analytics eCommerce reports. You will have to wait up to 24 hours until the data shows up. To see if transactions are monitored accordingly, you can either test it by purchasing an item from a device that is not linked to your network or spend the first days monitoring your reports and comparing them with the actual sales you are getting. If a portion of the sales is missing (which is a totally plausible and not at all isolated scenario), you can go to this article and find some useful strategies for debugging incorrect and missing Google Analytics transactions.
Data related to the customers’ demographics, sales, marketing and advertising campaigns, product and catalog/assortment performance, and customer behavior is usually used for eCommerce tracking.