3 Things an E-Commerce Site Should Look at in Google Analytics Every Week

Perhaps your a small local brick and mortar retailer, and you’ve just launched into the exciting world of e-commerce: The art of selling your wares to the world as opposed to simply your neighborhood.
We’d hope that you’ve gone ahead and installed Google Analytics on your website so you can see how you’re doing. It’s especially simple if you are using an e-commerce platform like Volusion, as opposed to a homegrown storefront your nephew built for you.

Once installed, and sales start trickling in… How can you know where they’re coming from, and what trends it indicates?

Please feel free to Contact Us if you need help, or have a question.

Here’s 3 things you should look at every Friday night/Saturday morning, so you can start to be a better E-Commerce retailer.

Content Performance : What are People Window Shopping For?

In the example in the image below, I’ve set up a “Compare to Past” view for a new online retailer showing this Month to Date performance versus Last Month to Date.

Content Performance For E-Commerce Stores (Click the image to see it larger)

What we can learn from this report is a few things.

  • Our home page views (Default.aspx) have trended up a hair, but since the Index$ is zero, it’s not contributing much to the bottom line.  Maybe we need some stronger calls to action there.
  • Our Shopping Cart views are down 37% since April!  This should be an alarming one, especially if there’s a correlating drop in orders and revenue.
  • Our Bounce Rate (which is a measure of people who look at only 1 page and leave) is simply way too high.  Time to look at where your traffic is coming from, and see if you are doing a good job of selling to them once they arrive.  If you’re using a shiny $100 Adwords credit, you’ll want to spend some serious time looking at your Paid Search results before starting to use your own money.

Product Trends:  What’s Hot in Your Store This Month, and What’s Not

Using the same Month to Month comparison in Google Analytics that I did in the first example, we move on to looking at hot product trends for your e-commerce storefront.  It will be interesting to see how these line up with your off-line results as well, and can help you to a degree with forecasting inventory, etc.  This data becomes hugely important the more months of Google Analytics data you have stored up, as you can really start to identify trends.

Product Trends for E-Commerce in Google Analytics(Again, feel free to click on the image to get a closer look.)

If you have a look, you can see what specific SKU’s are performing better than they were last month, or worse.  In the back of your mind, you should know your margins on most of them, so you can start to develop an idea of whether or not you are selling the products you want to be selling, or simply your loss leaders.

Further, if you aren’t selling the ones you want to be, you’ll know it might be time to re-position them on the page, or give them a prominent home page placement.

Please feel free to Contact Us if you need help, or have a question.

Count Your Money.  And Know Where It Comes From

Lastly, if you can only spend a few hours a week looking at web stats (or less), you need to know where your sales are coming from.  In your brick and mortar store, you might see some coupons passed to you out of the Pennysaver or Sunday Paper.  Someone might mention they saw your business card in the local Chinese restaurant.

On the web, we can find out the same things.  Just more consistently, and without having to ask.  This report, found in the Traffic Sources Section of Google Analytics, outlines where our web visitors came from, and how much they spent.

E-Commerce Revenue By Web SourceIn this case, Google sent the most traffic, although it was down a bit this month.  Small sample size makes the percentage look bigger than it figuratively is though.

This website doesn’t do Pay Per Click currently, so we don’t See Google/Paid.  If you do, it’s one you’ll want to keep an especially close eye on, as you’ll need to carefully measure your return on investment for that ad spend.

Please feel free to Contact Us if you need help, or have a question.

Another interesting note is that Bing organic traffic consistently converts very well.  If you’re going to do some SEO in your store, you might want to read up on Bing.  They are a growing search engine, and they have the deep pockets to compete with Google.  Will be a tough fight, though.

In Conclusion:  Saturday Morning Web Analytics

So before you unlock the front door at 10AM Saturday morning, sit down, log in, and have a look at your e-commerce stats in Google.  You can start to draw some conclusions based on the three reports above, and start top plan your work, and work your plan.

If you properly forecast using these tools, you might get yourself in a position where you are buying your product cheaper, selling it at a greater margin, and who knows… maybe even turning a small profit on shipping.

At the very least, getting good at e-commerce will keep you busy on the rainy or snowy days, when that plaza walk in traffic just isn’t popping.  An hour a week Saturday AM might be just the trick to get you there.

About kevin

I work as an internet marketing manager in domestic (US) manufacturing, and blog about B2B web lead generation, CRMs, web analytics, and a little bit about affiliate marketing. I also am an avid Kayak Fisherman.