If you’ve ever run an ecommerce store, you know that you can’t just rely on the ecommerce tracking analytical data reports, provided by your ecommerce cart provider.
However, that information simply is not enough on its own.
As an ecommerce business, you need to look at more than just how users are generally interacting with your site. You need to know how these actions specifically affect sales on different products. You want to be able to see how much revenue is being generated, how many transactions are happening, and more.
That’s why you NEED an undeniably powerful tool like Google Analytics, integrated into your ecommerce store.
Only Google Analytics ecommerce tracking allows you to correlate sales data, with website usage data (i.e., sessions, bounce rate, traffic source / medium, landing pages, etc.). Even though some of these are basic, and easy-to-set-up, they play a crucial role in providing data about the store’s performance, so that you can use those data to make decisions, that improves your business.
What are the metrics used in ecommerce tracking?
In ecommerce tracking, general metrics – such as bounce rate, avg. session duration, etc. – aren’t enough. You need more data about specific things.
Below is a list of metrics that are used in ecommerce tracking.
Product SKU –
SKU – or Stock Keeping Unit – is a distinct type of item for sale, such as a product or service, and all attributes associated with the item type that distinguish it from other item types.
Ecommerce conversion rate –
This is the percentage of sessions, resulted in transactions, in a given time period.
ECR = (total ecom transactions / total website sessions) * 100
Transactions and transaction IDs –
Transaction (or an ecommerce transaction) is a purchase order.
For example, 1000 transactions means 1000 purchase orders, that were placed on the store.
Each of those transactions, is identified through a unique ID, known as transaction ID. The nature of the transaction ID may be different from one store, to another. One store might be using a only-digits system, while another might be using a mixed one.
Keep in mind that a single transaction ID can include several products, and/or several units of the same product, since a person can buy more than a single product, in just one transaction.
The ‘revenue’ that you see on the ecommerce overview report is the total revenue, that your store generated in a given time period.
Total revenue = total product revenue + total taxes + total shipping
The total revenue figure on the overview report depends upon how ecommerce tracking has been set up.
For example, if the tax / shipping information isn’t provided while setting up the ecommerce tracking, then Google Analytics can’t include those information in its report. Thus they won’t be included in the total revenue figure.
Average order value –
Average order value is the average value of an ecommerce transaction.
AOV = total revenue / total number of transactions
Unique purchases –
Unique purchases is the total number of times, a product, or a set of products was a part of a transaction.
There are 2 categories of unique purchases in Google Analytics.
- Total unique purchases of a set of products.
- Total unique purchases of a product.
Keep in mind that total unique purchases of a product isn’t equal to total number of units sold for the product in one transaction.
In order to find the number of units of a product that were sold in a single transaction, follow these steps;
- Click on a product link in the ‘product performance’ report. (Under conversions > ecommerce)
- Add ‘transaction ID’ as a ‘secondary dimension’.
- Sort the ‘unique purchases’ column in decreasing order.
Then in the report you get, you can see the column for the number of units of a product that were sold in a single transaction, right below the total unique purchases figure.
This is the total number of units that were sold, in a product, or a set of products.
In Google Analytics, there are 2 categories of quantity – just like in TUP.
- Total number of units sold in a set of products.
- Total number of units sold in a product.
Average quantity is the average number of units sold, in a product or a set of products, in one transaction.
Avg. Quantity = Quantity / Unique Purchases
Average price –
This is the average price of a single unit of a product.
Avg. Price of a set of products = Total product revenue / total quantity
Avg. Price of a single product = price of a single unit of a product
Product revenue –
This is the total revenue generated from a product, or a set of products.
Product revenue = Quantity * avg. price
Note: Product revenue doesn’t include taxes and shipping fees.
Per session value –
This is the avg. value of a session of your ecommerce store website.
Per session value = total revenue / total sessions
The higher the value of a session of your ecommerce store, the more valuable the traffic for it.
Setting up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics.
Follow these steps to set up ecommerce tracking.
Step 1: Go to your Analytics account.
Step 2: Add the Google Analytics tracking code to the <head> section of all of the pages on your website.
The easiest way to install Google Analytics on a WordPress site, is to use a plugin like Insert Headers and Footers for WordPress. This allows you to just place the code directly into the plugin, and it’ll show up on every page of your site automatically.
Step 3: Integrate your shopping cart (i.e., Shopify, BigCommerce, etc.) with Google Analytics. Check the help documents provided by the vendor.
Step 4: Add the tracking code to the order confirmation / thank you page. Then add a server-side script (i.e., PHP, ASP, etc.) to it, so that it can pull data from the shopping cart, and send them to Google Analytics servers.
Step 5: Enable ecommerce reporting in the Google Analytics view. Go to admin > view > ecommerce settings, and click the ‘enable ecommerce’ toggle to turn it on.
Step 6: Add an additional snippet of code to your already-installed pixel to be able to track sales, adds to cart, and more.
This is the code you’ll add to the pixel:
ga(‘require’, ‘ecommerce’, ‘ecommerce.js’);
You need to replace ga(‘create’ , ‘UA-your id’, ‘auto’) in order for it to work. You can find out more about this here.
If you’re using a third party Shopping Cart (not Shopify), you’ll need to set up cross-domain tracking. This will involve using the same tracking pixel on both sites, allowing you to track checkouts all the way through. Here’s the Google’s guide on how to do this.
Step 6: Determine all the webpages which make up your shopping cart funnel – including the order confirmation page -and set up a funnel for your checkout process in Google Analytics.
Step 7: Place a test transaction, and check whether you’re getting the correct data in the Analytics reports.
Note: Make sure to reverse, or exclude the data from the test transactions in your actual reports.
Where can you see ecommerce metrics in Google Analytics?
You can see ecommerce metrics in many reports (under conversions > ecommerce), as well as via the ‘Ecommerce’ explorer tab in many other Analytics reports.
Ecommerce data you can see on Analytics.
Ecommerce data is made up of transaction data and item data.
- Transaction data:
This provides details about users’ transactions, such as;
- Transaction / order ID
- Store name
- Revenue generated from the transaction. (total)
- Tax associated with the transaction. (total)
- Shipping cost associated with the transaction. (total)
- Item data:
Item data provides details about purchased products, such as;
- Transaction ID (same as in the transaction data)
- Product SKU / code
Keep in mind that Google Analytics for ecommerce will look a little different than Google Analytics for other types of businesses. This is because the focus is more on revenue, transactions, and how website usage is driving sales in measurable, concrete ways. So don’t be intimidated by that.