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Understanding Google Analytics For Ecommerce Businesses

Google Analytics can be one of the strongest software in your ecommerce toolkit. Its reporting isn’t limited to the number of visitors on your site, or the amount of conversions in a month. 

You can use Google Analytics to uncover finer details, like:

  • At what point do people leave your funnel?
  • What elements on your checkout page need fine tuning.
  • Better profiling of your target audience.
  • What content on your site could be performing better.

And a ton of other details.

So understanding Google Analytics for ecommerce store owners is a very important step in taking your store to the next level.

But how do you go about it?

Let’s start with the basics.

Setting-up Google Analytics For Your Store

To install Google Analytics on your website, you’ll just need to add a Google Tag to your site’s code. If that sounds complicated, don’t worry, 9 times out of 10 you won’t even have to directly modify your site’s code.

For example, if you use WordPress, there are specialized plugins that will paste Google Tags in your site.

All you need to do is install this plugin, then get the Google Analytics tag (you’ll get it when you first sign-up for Google Analytics).

Then paste that in the WordPress plugin.

However, this is just the first step. Adding a Google Analytics tag to your site will let you analyze complex metrics like:

  • Bounce rate
  • Sessions
  • Traffic source
  • Demographics of your visitors
  • Traffic value

And a lot of other indicators of your site’s performance. However, you won’t be able to correlate that data with sales numbers. For the best overview of your site’s performance, you’ll need to also set-up Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics.

That process is a bit more complicated. Google has its own tutorial explaining how to do it, so we suggest you read and do that first before you continue reading this article.

In short, you’ll need to add a new, specialized Ecommerce tag, just like you added that previous tag, and you’ll need to set-up your store, adding details like:

  • Product variants
  • Product prices
  • Transaction data

Once you’re done setting-up Google Ecommerce Tracking, you’re ready to use Analytics to its full potential.

Understanding Your Users

Google Analytics has a large suite of tools to help you understand your audience, and then use that information to update your products, messaging, offers, or even business processes. And there is a lot of information to digest about your visitors.

For starters, there’s the Demographics and Interest Report. You can access it by clicking on Audience > Affinity Categories and enabling the report. Once enabled, you’ll get a list of interests and affinities (like “TV lovers”, “Sports Fans”, or “Travel Buffs”). 

For each of these categories, you’ll get extremely valuable information. You’ll know the bounce rate, number of sessions, session duration, number of new users, number of pages visited, and most importantly: number of sales in each category.

That makes it extremely easy to tailor your content, product, and offers to what your most successful category wants. On the flip side, you may want to better serve a specific audience. For example, let’s say you sell electronics, and TVs would ensure profitable sales, but TV lovers don’t seem to enjoy your site too much. You can use this information to change your offer, messaging, or even checkout process for these visitors.

But Google Analytics doesn’t just help with understanding user affinities. You can also get more basic details about your users, like the country they’re from or their age, and this in turn can help you tailor your site. For example, you could notice a large increase in visitors from the UK, which in turn means you can create special shipping offers for people from the UK.

But it goes even deeper.

Google Analytics can help you optimize your buyer’s journey. A buyer’s journey is the steps each of your potential customers go through to buy from you. It can be more conceptual, such as “Interest in your products > Consumption of your content > Coming in contact with your branding > Buying”, but you can also view it more pragmatically.

For example, if visitors on your site go through these stages: “Landing page > Webinar > Product Page > Cart > Checkout page > Thank you page” you can analyze this funnel in Google Analytics. Everything you need to do is set-up a goal:

Then attribute a URL for each stage, and observe where people drop-off. If most visitors abandon the funnel after your webinar, you’ll know you need to make it better. If most users abandon it at the checkout page, you know you need to improve that.

Moreover, if you have Google Ecommerce Tracking set-up, you don’t just rely on the goals you set-up. You can analyze this process for a multitude of conversions, even individual product sales. 

Optimizing Organic Traffic

Besides a deep understanding of your users, and their behaviour on your site, Google Analytics can also help you fine tune your organic reach. Right off the bat, for each funnel or audience segment you analyze with the steps we provided above, you can always see if the traffic source is organic traffic.

But Analytics does more than that.

For example, you can click on “Search Terms” in the left-side tab to see what your site is missing from a user’s point of view. You can then corroborate this information with data from the Search Console to optimize pages targeting specific keywords, or even find new keywords to target.

Final Thoughts

What we explored today barely scratches the surface of Google Analytics’ potential. This tool can help you improve every nook and cranny from your ecommerce store, so we suggest you try out what we explored today, but don’t stop there. Once you master the techniques outlined above, you can start playing around Google Analytics, and discover other valuable reports, or features, to help you seize opportunities for your ecommerce store.

And if you want to update your online store even more, we suggest including as many payments options in checkout as possible. We can help with that, so click here to find out more about what we do.

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