Leveraging Website Analytics for eCommerce
If you’ve set up your eCommerce site, you’ve spent hours getting everything pixel-perfect. But it’s only once you’ve got your site in front of customers that you start to find out what really works. It’s the only way to improve your site’s user experience, improve your conversion rate, and increase your site’s profitability.
But how can you do that in a scientific, measurable way? In this article we’ll cover website analytics for eCommerce and how you can make data-based improvements.
What is eCommerce analytics?
eCommerce analytics involves collecting, analyzing, and acting on data generated by your online shoppers.
That data includes website traffic, sales, and other metrics you can map to clear KPIs.
With website analytics, you can get to know your customers better and identify areas for improvement. This helps you make better decisions around user experience and revenue growth.
Why is eCommerce analytics crucial for the success of your store?
To get a better understanding of how eCommerce analytics works, it's important to recognize that website analytics is a crucial aspect of the process. Web analytics enables you to gather data on your online shoppers and their behavior, including website traffic, sales, and other metrics that can be mapped to clear KPIs. This helps you make better decisions around user experience and revenue growth.
Predictive analysis of eCommerce website data enables you to forecast demand and meet it ahead of time.
By identifying trends in sales and user behavior, you can make informed decisions about how to allocate resources. This affects everything from marketing spend to product strategy.
If you know that first-time customers are more likely to impulse-buy around the holiday season, you’re going to shore up some of your social media budget for them. But as we'll see, demand forecasting is especially important in eCommerce logistics.
Website analytics can also be used to optimize pricing, up-selling, and eCommerce logistics.
They can help you identify pricing, marketing, and cross-selling opportunities. Not only does this help sales, but it keeps the stock moving through the warehouse. When stock is sitting on a shelf collecting dust, that's space that's not used to store something more profitable.
By analyzing purchase history, you can see products which are bought together and create bundles to increase sales.
Types of eCommerce Analytics
Not every web analytics tool will show you this, but we can break analytics into different categories serving different ends.
Audience analytics include metrics like age, gender, location, device type.
By understanding who your website visitors are, you can tailor your marketing and advertising efforts to them. This can also help you spot distinct customer segments you might not identify otherwise.
Acquisition analytics are all about how visitors are landing on your website.
Are they arriving from your social media, a guide to starting a business, or from searching "how to get a business license" and finding your how-to guide on your blog?
Acquisition analytics can help you identify which marketing channels are driving the most traffic and revenue. This enables you to focus your resources on the most effective channels.
Conversion analytics include tracking metrics such as conversion rate, average order value, and cart abandonment rate. By understanding how users interact with the website in the lead-up to a conversion, you can identify opportunities to optimize the user experience and increase conversion rates.
What are the best metrics and KPIs to track for eCommerce?
Which metrics you want to track will depend on your goals.
To measure your marketing
- Cost per acquisition (CPA)
- Return on ad spend (ROAS)
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Cost per click (CPC)
- Social media engagement
To measure customer sentiment
- Customer lifetime value (LTV)
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Customer retention rate
- Net promoter score (NPS)
- Abandoned cart rate
To measure the effectiveness of your site pages
- Click-through rate
- Bounce rate
- Time on site
- Exit rate
- Conversion rate
To measure your site’s user experience
- Page load time
- Time to first byte (TTFB)
- Page views per session
- Time spent on site
- Net promoter score
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
Making intelligent decisions based on website analytics
Now that you know what you’re looking for, here’s how you can set up your site analytics for constant improvement.
Gather all of your marketing data that is scattered across all platforms and channels
You can't begin to analyze data while it's all scattered across different sources. The first step to setting up your eCommerce analytics, then, is to gather it all in one place. A data ETL process involves extracting, transforming, and loading data into one platform where it can all be meaningfully compared.
Identify data sources
For each marketing channel, identify the data sources where you can collect data. In email marketing you'd get data from your email provider, but don't overlook sources like your on-site tracking links.
Most analytics tools will label this data automatically. But doing your own indexing in pandas DataFrame can offer more granular labeling, if you have some programming knowledge.
Once you have your data sources, set them up to feed into a single platform like Google Analytics, Matomo, or HubSpot.
Create custom dashboards
You're now ready to create custom dashboards full of real-time website data. With this, you can identify trends in customer behavior as they happen. And by looking at patterns over time, your eCommerce business can work more effectively across sales, marketing, and logistics.
Join the dots between your customers and the numbers
The only reason to gather all these numbers is because of what they can tell you about your customers. There are several ways to collect customer data for your eCommerce business and integrate it with the rest of your analytics.
Collect customer data
As you do business, you’ll have opportunities to collect customer data. Names, addresses, emails, and payment info can all be collected in a CRM. This data will give you some idea of who your customers are. By integrating this with the rest of your data, you can get a more complete picture.
Integrate customer data with eCommerce analytics
By integrating your CRM with all your website analytics and using tools like chatbots with realistic AI voices, you can see who your customers are, what they’re doing on your site, and how well you’re serving them - while providing the closest possible experience to person-to-person customer service. Many CRMs like Salesforce can be integrated with Google Analytics in the app, but if you have a developer on the team, they can use scripts and APIs to join everything together.
Use customer insights to optimize your strategy
Use these insights to drive tactics like product offerings, pricing, and marketing campaigns.
For example, if you notice that customers from a certain region are abandoning their shopping carts, it might be that you need to add more local payment solutions, like the buy-now-pay-later app valU often used in the Middle East.
Keep a close watch over your site’s customer journeys
Once you have your website analytics set up, you can start monitoring your customer journeys.
Set up behavior flow tracking
Use your eCommerce analytics platform to set up shopping behavior flow tracking. This will allow you to see how users move through your website and where they drop off in the shopping process.
Identify opportunities for improvement
Once you have some data, look at the behavior flow to see where users are dropping off. This can help pinpoint the areas of your website that need improvement, like your checkout process or navigation menu.
Test and optimize
Once you’ve identified a problem page, you have something you can start A/B testing.
A/B test your site pages
There's a lot to learn in data analytics for marketing. A data engineer certification for beginners would be valuable for anyone working with analytics full-time. But for any marketer, A/B testing is enough to run experiments that yield valuable insights.
Determine what you want to test
Identify a specific aspect of your marketing strategy that you want to test. It could be the subject line of an email or the placement of a call-to-action button on a product page.
Create two versions of your page
Create two different versions of the marketing strategy you want to test. Make sure that only one variable is different between the two versions, so that you know which element of the page is making the difference.
Track and analyze the results
A/B testing tools like Google Optimize can divide your audience in two and trial different versions of the page on each. The results might surprise you, but you should only be paying attention to the one metric you were out to test.
Implement the winning version
Once there’s a clear winner, your A/B testing tool will implement the best-performing page. Once it has, you’re all set to try another A/B test. Your previous A/B test might have answered one question, but did it raise others?
Iterate, iterate, iterate
The "final" step to using website analytics for eCommerce is to iterate.
Have clear goals and KPIs
There are all kinds of ways you could improve your site, but you only have so many resources to invest. Clear goals and KPIs will keep you focused. They’ll also give you an objective metric to measure your efforts against, so you know for a fact they’re working.
Experiment and try new things
A/B testing is great, but it can only help you improve what’s already there. Pay attention to your customers’ needs during calls and surveys and use that to inspire new data-driven efforts.
Continually optimize your eCommerce strategy
Every time you make an improvement to the business based on data, you've set up a new status quo. As customers interact with your improved site, you'll be automatically collecting data on their new pain points.
Your market is always changing, and so are your customers' needs. Only by constantly iterating your website and offering can you keep up with them. With data-driven decision-making, you can ground those changes in solid evidence.
The importance of site analytics in eCommerce
Analytics is the only objective way to improve a site. When you’re running an eCommerce business, it’s essential for getting and staying profitable. Everything from marketing, to product, to SEO metrics contributes to your bottom line.