Google Analytics can be overwhelming to anyone. But if you run an online store, it it to your advantage to use the amazing tools that it offers. In a recent podcast I asked Beka Rice from Skyverge to give us her insights into these two specific reports.
The Importance of Setting up eCommerce Tracking
For any store owner who is using Google Analytics, it’s important to set up the enhanced eCommerce tracking and so if you’re using WooCommerce the free WooCommerce Google Analytics plugin does basic enhanced eCommerce tracking so that can give you some of the the product data that I’m talking about. Or you could use Google Analytics Pro or another plugin that supports these. These shopping and checkout behavior reports will give you some advanced details about what people are doing in your store. You can look at all of those eCommerce reports in Google Analytics as holistic views of different parts of your store. We’ll touch back on the product performance report a little bit later. But the first place I recommend new store owners take a look at is the shopping behavior report. in Google Analytics that’s under conversions, eCommerce and then shopping behavior.
This is the highest level bird’s eye view of the shoppers on your store. And so it’s a really specific look at how many people are coming to shore and what they’re doing. And so there’s a few steps in that. This is a report that’s automatically generated by Google Analytics where it shows you all of the sessions to your site for everyone that coming to your store. What’s really neat about this is it shows you this is a funnel. It shows you a drop-off in each step with an eye towards eCommerce. So of those sessions how many of them move forward to take some sort of shopping activity. So I’m looking at some data right now from a test I have.
And this obviously doesn’t get a ton of regular you know non e-commerce traffic, right? So people come to this store. They see some product information but then usually they’re kind of testing. You see that there’s 60 percent of people that take some sort of shopping action when they come to the site. And you can view the number of people who don’t have shopping activity. So that’s one of the first kind of important things to look at when people are coming to your site. Are they taking part in some sort of eCommerce activity?
So that activity would be viewing a product, adding a product to the cart, doing something to interact with the store. That’s really helpful, especially if you’re relying on content marketing or some other kind of marketing to get people to your site. Now you can take the next step and say, okay they’re here. That’s great. Now, are they actually doing something with my store, which is the next important question, right? We want these people take the next step towards purchasing. That’s the first step in the shopping behavior report, which is kind of neat and kind of important for store owners to see. Then you can take a look at the sessions, the product views, so any people who look at your products. That’s also very important.
The Shopping Behavior in Google Analytics
But even more important is the transition between product views and adding to the cart. So in the shopping behavior report, you see how many people look at your product pages and how many people actually decide to buy something. You know, product descriptions are hard to get right, right? You may be using some pre-made content for that. This can be a valuable decision point, to say, is there a way I can influence that metric? Can I get more add-to-carts? Google Analytics will also break out that third step in the funnel, which is sessions that have added an item to the cart.
You can see how many people were already viewing a product, how many people come into the funnel at that step, how many people just added something to the cart without looking at a page. So you can get a sense of how effective your product pages are at getting people to add items to their cart. And then try to influence that metric with changes to your product pages, maybe improvements with your product images, maybe improvements in descriptions or getting more customer reviews so you have some social proof on your site. So there’s a lot of steps you could take which, with each of these funnel steps, you are trying to influence change on these metrics. And then there’s two final steps in that report. One is sessions that have a checkout and then sessions with a transaction that is an actual purchase.
So when you when you transition from the Add-to-Cart to the checkout, that’s also a great kind of insight into how many people have added something to their cart. When they are checking out, that’s where you’ll get the cart abandonment metrics I mentioned earlier, which is, are these people who are browsing and adding items, just trying to get a sense of the shipping information? Is there a way I can save some of these sales that I’m losing? And then, finally, getting into transactions and seeing how many people who have entered my store actually end up purchasing. Overall this shopping behavior report is a valuable in getting a holistic view of of your site and how people from the site are entering the eCommerce functions at your site and what you can do in each of those steps. So some really cool data there and it’s not too fine grained though, right, so we’re talking about a lot of really broad things.
The Checkout Behavior in Google Analytics
That’s where the checkout behavior report comes in. For eCommerce stores, typically you have a one-page pay checkout with WooCommerce by the fall. You’ve got all the addresses, you know billing information, shipping information, payment selection, all that happens on one page. So the check out behavior report may or may not be too useful for you, depending on what your setup looks like. But basically it’s a zoomed-in view of that fourth step that we talked about, when people get to checkout and whether they end up purchasing or not. It tracks events on your checkout specifically: you know how many people start checkout. How many people provide a billing email. How many people select payment and how many people actually place the order. If you’re using something like Google Analytics Pro to do this it has predefined steps for you so it tracks automatically if you are using custom code or you want to track your checkout file in a certain way. You can add custom stuff there. So that’s a report that you can dictate and say, for example, I want to track how many people start checkout, how many people put in their email and how many people check out. And you can track those steps.
And if you work with your site’s developer, you can play with that report a little bit and get a fine tune look at your checkout to see if people are dropping off in that process and where they’re dropping off. Maybe they get to choosing a shipping method. Well, that’s probably an indication that you should make the shipping methods more apparent throughout the store before they get to that point, so that they’re not surprised by that. And so you can start to get some fine-grained detail in that checkout behavior report. A generic solution might be good for you to start, but as your store grows, you could hire someone to work with you to get some really detailed information in that checkout report. So these reports are super useful for eCommerce stores to get a sense of your browsing and especially your purchasing behaviors.
You can listen to the full podcast below or read the full transcript of The Google Analytics Essentials for Growing Your Online Store with Beka Rice.
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