Starting blocks for tracking and optimising e-commerce
If you have not yet installed e-commerce tracking software or analytics on your website, or if you are clueless about what analytics mean for your website and business – then this blog post is for you. While the focus of this post is mainly on Google Analytics, we will give you a quick overview of the various analytics software options available so that you can make an informed choice.
The most important point to remember is: Install your chosen e-commerce tracking or analytics software ideally a month before you go live with your website. It is natural to want to finalize your website’s content, get your e-commerce business in order, hire resources and so forth – and then think of installing analytics. Don’t make this mistake. We advise installing analytics from day one and start collecting valuable data that will benefit you as part of your launch strategy.
E-commerce tracking software options
While we recommend Google Analytics, the following tracking software can be used alongside, or instead of, Google Analytics:
- GetClicky: Google Analytics gives you information for the day before while Clicky gives information in real time. Google Analytics also offer real time data, however the data presented is somewhat limited.
- HaveAMint.com: Mint is comparable to the other analytic tools and comes with an upfront cost with no recurring fees.
- Kissmetrics: Offers a great system for getting to know your visitors, and is very insightful and useful software for e-commerce businesses.
- Open Web Analytics: If you are looking for a free, yet effective open source software, Open Web Analytics is the way to go.
- CrazyEgg: Lets you see what users click on and also where they move their mouse on a specific page.
- Clicktale: This software shows visitor activity on your website, visualising their interactions with your on-page content, to see which parts of your website draw attention and which parts do not perform.
- Piwik: This is a solid, free open source web analytics tool.
At Comalytics we recommend Google Analytics as e-commerce tracking software to our clients. Not only is Google Analytics free, but it’s easy to set up and link to our Comalytics software.
Website optimization software options
After gathering enough data about what content works and what does not work on your website, you would want to change your website so that visitors engage better, click through, and leads convert to customers.
- Optimizely: Optimizely lets you quickly make changes to your website and then automatically tests which version is better at accomplishing your goals.
- Google content experiments (free): Lets you see how two different versions of a web page perform so you can effectively optimise your website.
Social media analytics software options
Your social media channels are just as important as your website, in relation to analytics and tracking. For information about social media engagement, you can use:
- Facebook Page Insights to monitor engagement on your Facebook fan page (free).
- Twitter Analytics to determine which Twitter updates are performing best, and more (free).
- Buffer: Engagement stats for every update you post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
- Followerwonk: This is a Moz tool that shows detailed breakdowns of your followers and activity specifically for Twitter.
- Viralwoot: This Pinterest tool not only offers analytical insights, but you can also schedule pins as well as promote pins directly from the Viralwoot interface.
- Quintly: The free plan offers statistics on the main engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares) plus statistics on follower growth for up to three Facebook Pages.
- Keyhole: Is a hashtag, keywords and account tracking service.
- Klout: Measures influence on social media.
- Cyfe: Lets you create a custom dashboard filled with stats from various marketing tools and access reports.
The web analytics and optimization process
To get started, set up a Google Analytics account with your Gmail account and then set up a profile in Google Analytics for your website. Once you’ve completed this process, you will be presented with a tracking code to add to your website.
Add the tracking code to your website as soon as possible (even if you just upload a holding page while development is taking place). Google Analytics will start tracking visitors and their browsing behaviour immediately. The data collected will help assess your campaigns and optimize your website to improve its performance. The diagram below briefly explains the web analytics and optimization process.
Google Analytics can answer questions such as:
- How many people visit your website.
- Where your visitors live (geographical information).
- How many visitors access your website via their mobile phones.
- Whether your website’s design cater for mobiles and tablets.
- Sources of website traffic.
- Which marketing tactics drive the most traffic to your website.
- The most popular pages on your website.
- How many visitors have been converted into leads or customers (conversions).
- The path converting visitors take on the website (the funnel).
Google Analytics also offers answers to e-commerce questions related to click rates, content interaction, product pages, content consumed, and much more.
E-commerce tracking is another valuable aspect of Google Analytics and these reports can be seen under the Conversions menu tab. This shows you what visitors buy on your website, along with information about the products, transactions, time taken to purchase, and so on. As your sales increase, this information helps you understand where to channel your marketing efforts.
Furthermore, Google Analytics can help you understand your visitors and how they use your website, the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, and how to better optimize your store for conversions and sales. This engagement data is fundamental in understanding whether your website and marketing efforts are successful. Using this data, you can make informed decisions and changes to improve your website, make it better for users and make it more profitable.
Statistical information from all areas of your online marketing strategy and sales activities gives you an advantage over competitors who do not have this information. Identifying trends and which marketing channels are no longer profitable allows you to make changes before they affect your bottomline negatively. Being aware of shifts in consumer behavior gives you insights into the demands of your market, letting you drop certain products or change your pricing to result in big gains or minimize loss.
Google Analytics also offers information about your website speed and provide suggestions to improve. Besides this, it gives you real time reporting so you are able to monitor website traffic as it happens. This lets you see how a promotion, social media post, or campaign is performing.
We hope you found our brief introduction to Google Analytics and its importance for your e-commerce website useful. As mentioned earlier, Comalytics e-commerce software can be linked to your Google Analytics account to give you powerful data that you can use to manage your business. Stay tuned for following posts as we dive deeper in to the world of e-commerce and Google Analytics.
We welcome your questions in the comments or contact our team if you need assistance to set up your e-commerce website.