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How to analyse ecommerce data

How to Analyse Ecommerce Data

February 19, 2021

We recently shared a post on how to improve your Shopify reports with all of our tips and tricks for setting up and organising your Shopify data. But how do we go about analysing it all and making decisions?  

In this post, we explain how best to analyse ecommerce data and share three steps to better decision making for your ecommerce business.

What are ecommerce analytics?

When we say ecommerce analytics, we’re referring to the process of gathering data from the areas of your online store that can help you to make decisions on your marketing, products and overall business strategy. This can refer to data such as revenue, returns, conversion rate and revenue by channel. 

Ecommerce analytics allow you to identify where your store may be falling short. Online shoppers have very high expectations at this point, and you should use the data available to you to provide them with the best experience possible. The combination of technological advancement and increasing consumer demand means it’s never been more important to know exactly what’s going on with your ecommerce website.

Steps for analysing ecommerce data

Get set up

Understanding your data sources is vital to effective and accurate data analysis. There are many useful guides online when it comes to setting up data tracking for software such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console – doing so correctly will ensure your data is accurate from the get-go. You should pay attention to sources that don’t offer automated data export functions or APIs for integrating with your chosen analytics tool. For example, to feed your Shopify data into Google Data Studio, you will need to use a third party connector to view certain stats, such as returns and refunds. 

Define the metrics most important to you

Not every business is the same, and your priorities may change depending on a number of internal and external factors. You may have a month long email marketing campaign running and therefore need to pay attention to goal completions, traffic and revenue coming through from this channel more than you would have before, for example. However, most businesses will have a set of defined metrics that they consistently monitor and include in reports to measure overall business performance. These usually include sales conversion rate, revenue and basket abandonment. Defining the metrics most important to your ecommerce business will help to make data analysis clear and reports concise. 

Once you’re set up and know where to find the right metrics, you’re ready to start collecting data. 

Process your data

It’s a good idea to merge your data streams into one place. A good technical set up will make data analysis so much easier – having one simple dashboard that can be customised depending on business needs and goals is highly recommended. Once you’ve got everything neatly displayed in one place, you can begin to perform analysis. Data analysis falls into three main categories. 

Descriptive analysis – the basic level of analysis to reveal what has happened.

Diagnostic analysis – shows why things occur by identifying patterns and trends and how they correlate to customer behaviour. It can help us to understand past events.

Predictive analysis – this is used for anticipating and forecasting. This is particularly useful for product optimisation. 

Important Google Analytics reports for ecommerce

Google analytics offers a range of insightful reports from which you can access ecommerce metrics, which can then be pulled into reports to draw conclusions about your business and adjust your strategy going forward.

User behaviour

From here you can access reports on how your website users behave during the purchasing process. 

Shopping Behaviour Report – this report offers insight into the number of sessions at each stage of the purchase funnel. This means you can see how many people visited your website and only viewed products, added products to cart, and then how many people completed a session with a transaction. This gives you a clearer picture of how your website visitors move down the funnel and offers vital insight into how conversions can be increased.

Checkout Behaviour Report – similar to the above, but focuses on the steps involved in the checkout process. This way you can track at what point customers give up on completing a purchase, and begin to investigate why this might be happening. 

Product data

The Enhanced Ecommerce Tool allows you to gather valuable information about products and their performance, which can assist with merchandising.

Product Performance Report – there are two types of view in this report, called Summary and Shopping behaviour. Product performance reports offer insights such as revenue, unique purchases, basket-to-detail rate (number of products added per number of product detail views), product adds to basket and more.

Sales Performance Report – here you can find information about revenue, tax for your online transactions, delivery charges, refunds and the number of products sold. Sales can be tracked via product ID or date.

Product List Performance Report – this report can deliver great insights into related products, cross-selling and up-selling, meaning you can identify opportunities to increase average order value. You can collect information about product list views, clicks and CTR based on the product groupings on your website.

Tips for better decision making

1. Define questions

Decide which questions you need to answer – these should be measurable, clear and concise. Begin with a problem, for example – why did your conversion rate suddenly dip? What changes, if any, did you make to your online store around the time the drop took place? Using this method can help you to come up with simple conclusions which inform your ecommerce strategy going forward. 

2. Collaborate

Make sure it’s easy for your team to collaborate when it comes to accessing data. This way everyone can work towards a data-driven approach, with transparency and access to the same metrics and information. This is another great perk of Google Data Studio – you can all access one dashboard which can be shared with your team. 

3. Get organised

When it comes to deeper analysis, it’s easier to draw conclusions if you keep the data you need organised and easy to read. Try exporting your data to a table or spreadsheet, then from here you can begin to plot out and find correlations. You can also filter by different variables to get a more streamlined view. Trying to make sense of a large volume of data can also be pretty overwhelming, so this approach can help you stay focused on the task at hand.

Need some guidance and support when it comes to ecommerce reporting? We’d love to chat – get in touch to find out more about our reporting and analytics services.

Written by Andy

Andy is Venture Stream’s Chief Operating Officer and has over 15 years’ experience in ecommerce consultancy, design and retail marketing.

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