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Ecommerce Guide: Insights Using Google Analytics, Part 1

As an ecommerce store owner, understanding your customers is everything. When you choose a physical store you assess location, whether to trade on the high street, side road or in the market, the average volume of passers-by, what local competition you have, how may be open to being a potential partner in the locality and how you can begin networking with.

In the online world, you have to assess in much the same way using analytics. As Google Analytics is publicly available and zero cost, we’ll evaluate insights using it, and you can apply these to your own custom analytical software.

Google Analytics Base Statistics

The base stats for every store are:

  • Visits
  • Unique visitors
  • Regency
  • Sales (Goals)

Total visits is a metric that you should only monitor in conjunction with a secondary metric. The reasoning here is that visits as a stand-alone metric is actually meaningless.

It’s better to assess against another metric like:

Visits from Searches

This will indicate how effective your SEO efforts are. Compare this to your other streams of visitors like direct and referrals. Is SEO a strong avenue?
To assess further, take a look at your keywords. Are they specific enough? Broad keywords mean high bounces. Specific keywords are more likely to convert.

Visits from Adwords Advertising

Advertising using Adwords allows you to gain greater visibility for searches that may have eluded you due to high competition. Are you gaining traffic via Adwords from these searches?

Drill-down into cost per click and assess if the referral traffic here is worthwhile. Remember, Adwords incurs extra spending.

Returning Vs Uniques

If you are a fashion retailer or you sell low-cost, trending or every day items, you will rely on loyalty – that is repeat sales over a short time-frame. Analysing returning visitors will give you an idea of this loyalty.

Savvy e-tailers will use an email sign up on the homepage and an email strategy to keep a consistent flow of repeat visitors. If you opt for this tactic, then add tracking code to your email sends and analyse total email visits as a % of total visits.

% of Visitors that purchased

The most important stat is the one that relates purchases. These typically stand between 1 and 6%. The most well-known stores such as Amazon, would be an exception to this rule and gain a higher conversion percentage.

It’s ideal to add purchases as goals so that you ‘at a glance’ note the figure.  If you are charting sales streams by category, then you can group items by category to compare various goods. You may see quickly that certain categories are gaining zero sales and this could be due to low demand, SEO required as items are competitive or product pages need more attention.

Social tracking and Social Visits

If you are active on social media then setting up social analytics will provide a way for you to monitor ROI. By measuring your social you will be able to assess social sources, pages, engagement and conversions.

Best Tip: Filtering

While there are rules that apply to how Google Analytics stores data which affects accuracy, the worst offender for skewing data is visits to the website by you and your team members.

Using the ‘filter’ option, means you can filter out activity from your IP address or domain to keep the data as clean as possible.

There are thousands of combinations of data that can be analysed using analytics. In all cases, keep your objectives central to reports. You can even set up custom dashboards to store various metrics associated with an objective to keep them separate.

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