Proactive store owners are on the constant lookout to optimize store performance and conversions. However, to optimize, one has to correctly measure e-commerce activity – meaning they must dig deeper into website analytics data. Monitoring analytics isn’t just for retailers with buggy sites. Most owners are constantly updating and changing their site’s components, which sometimes produces unexpected issues, so analytics are useful in catching problems caused by changes and help spot and resolve issues early. An example of a trouble that can easily go unannounced: a browser update that stumbles on a previously undetected checkout bug. In-depth conversion rate monitoring would instantly spot the loss of revenue and would have helped resolve it before the store lost customers. So, think about what data about your store you would like to have. It’s easier to get than you may think.
Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so. -Galileo GalileiThe number of visitors, time spent browsing your products and their conversion rate into actual sales is are all great performance KPIs, but they are unlikely to help you generate actionable insights about what parts of your website need improvement. Don’t wait for a drop in revenue – let’s look into how you can use Google Analytics (the de-facto leader by far in web analytics) to get insights and identify issues early on.
1. Enable Google Analytics for Your E-Commerce SiteThe first step in getting to know your customers is making sure that your website is prepared to share statistics with Google Analytics. Google Analytics setup is usually something that a webmaster does, but in case you are the one in charge there is a step-by-step guide to help you.
2. Track E-Commerce Conversion GoalsCounting completed purchases is not really analytics – it’s keeping track of results. Ideally, you should keep track of all the major steps (or goals) of the customer decision points on your website. That will allow you to have a better grasp on the sales funnel and allow to compare users from different sources (including paid sources, a necessity when evaluating ad dollar spend); from users on different devices (to answer the question like: do your mobile users browse only for research, or for with the intention to complete the purchase on the desktop?); evaluate your conversions on different browsers; etc.
Make sure you are at least tracking these customer action goals:
- site search – with and without results
- view product
- add to cart event
- add to cart error
- proceed to checkout
- checkout error
- continue shopping
- payment method selection
- 404 errors