Ecommerce analytics — driving online sales with data-driven decisions
Teams running ecommerce stores today may have an idea of how valuable analytics could be to their business. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what data to collect, how to collect it, or which tools are needed to analyze that data. In other words, they don’t know how to get started — much less how to succeed.
Everyone from C-suite executives to marketing managers can benefit from an increased understanding and use of analytics, especially as it relates to their ecommerce store. While ecommerce analytics can be a complex topic, it’s a vital one that could mean the difference between major revenue and missed sales targets for your online business.
With greater awareness of the basics and knowledge of best practices, you’ll appreciate the importance of ecommerce analytics and feel like you have actionable next steps to implement an ecommerce analytics strategy. And putting a date-informed, effective analytics strategy into place is key to helping your company’s ecommerce store prosper.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about data analytics for ecommerce, including what it is, which metrics to track, and the available tools to bring your ecommerce analytics strategy to life.
Specifically, you’ll learn:
- What ecommerce analytics is
- The importance of ecommerce analytics
- Benefits of ecommerce analytics
- Ecommerce analytic metrics
- Ecommerce analytics best practices
- Tools for ecommerce analytics
What is ecommerce analytics?
Ecommerce analytics is the process of gathering, analyzing, and using data to measure business impact for an online store. It helps businesses understand and evaluate customer behavior, online shopping trends, sales performance, and ROI.
Ecommerce analytics is critical to unearthing and interpreting data, which helps inform better decisions that can cut costs, boost sales, and improve overall operations.
By centralizing, managing, and making use of information, marketers can track campaign performance, identify and solve problems in real time, and focus on issues that matter most to the business. Ecommerce analytics enables companies to do all this intuitively, intelligently, and efficiently.
The importance of ecommerce analytics
Ecommerce analytics allows you to gather data from any digital touchpoint to improve customer experience through in-depth analysis and predictive intelligence.
As consumer demand continues to evolve, technology is increasingly — and innovatively — driving massive ecommerce growth globally. According to Statista, online retail sales surpassed $5.2 trillion worldwide in 2021, and ecommerce is expected to make up nearly one-quarter of total international retail sales by 2026.
The companies best positioned to profit in this burgeoning industry will be those that deeply understand and connect with customers online. And to do that, they need to understand customer behavior by measuring, analyzing, and making good use of customer data.
Benefits of ecommerce analytics
Now that we know why ecommerce analytics is important for marketers, let’s look at how ecommerce analytics can improve your online business.
Act on customer data
The main benefit of ecommerce analytics is being able to collect, analyze, and strategically act on customer data.
Marketing analytics can monitor, measure, and help you learn from every interaction a customer has with your brand and every action they take in your online store. You can see who’s coming to your site, when and from where, how they’re getting there, and what they do once they’re there.
Create better products
By analyzing what your customers want and how they navigate your ecommerce store, you can design a better product that will meet their needs.
Understand marketing ROI
Without analytics, it’s difficult to know which campaigns are working and which are falling short. A good ecommerce analytics solution allows you to track your campaigns and spend marketing dollars where they will be most successful.
Evaluate trends for better forecasting
Trends could mean a number of things — which products are selling well, which product categories are growing, which channels are increasing in traffic, and more.
By identifying trends and patterns, you’ll be able to forecast for the future by managing your inventory to keep bestsellers in stock, expanding popular product categories, or investing marketing dollars in the channels your audience uses most.
Deliver personalized experiences at scale
Personalization is crucial in digital marketing, and today’s customers have come to expect it.
A personalized experience could be showing a relevant web page or product to a shopper at just the right moment. It could also be providing a discount or promotion for a first-time shopper or a repeat customer. People love personalization, and collecting and analyzing customer data helps deliver it.
Ecommerce analytic metrics
It might seem like data is endless, there’s too much to track, and ecommerce analytics is overwhelming.
To help organize the information to collect, we’re going to look at the lifecycle of a customer and discuss some of the metrics you may want to measure along the way. The metrics that are most important to your brand will depend on a number of factors and will be discussed in the best practices section below.
To start with, who are your customers? The data you collect and analyze include the age, gender, location, and other demographic information of your customers.
You can also collect data on how engaged your customers are, such as how many people have viewed an email or social media post (reach), how many have engaged with your content, how much traffic your website gets, and more.
Then you can use statistics to get a better understanding of how customers navigate through your site. This includes whether customers are first-time visitors or returning shoppers, how long they spend on your site, how many pages they view per visit, and bounce rate. If you have a high bounce rate, meaning customers visit but leave before taking an action, take a look at your page load time. Optimizing your site so that pages load quickly is a helpful way to decrease bounce rate.
Now that you know who your customers are, it’s helpful to think about the cost of customer acquisition. Acquisition refers to how many people actually visit your ecommerce store.
There are various ways a business might acquire customers, including search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media, and email. For each of these acquisition strategies, there are some key metrics to help you gauge your success.
- Click-through rate (CTR) refers to how many people clicked on a link, an ad, a social media post, or an email.
- Cost per lead (CPL) is determined by how many new leads a marketing campaign generates based on how much that campaign costs.
- Cost per click (CPC) relates to SEM and is tied to how much you pay per ad compared to the traffic those ads generate.
- Cost per acquisition (CPA) refers to how many new customers you acquire based on your total campaign investment. This can also be referred to as customer acquisition cost (CAC), which is a helpful metric to gauge which channels are working well and which are not.
Put simply, conversion refers to purchases. How many shoppers did you convert into buyers? There are a number of metrics to evaluate how your company is doing with conversion, such as:
- Transactions. Is the total number of transactions increasing?
- Revenue. Is your overall revenue going up?
- Sales conversion rate. Of all the people who visited your ecommerce store, what percentage purchased something?
- Average order value (AOV). Based on total sales and number of orders, what is the average value of each order?
- Cart abandonment rate. How many people added something to their cart but didn’t complete the purchase?
When measuring customer retention, you’ll want to look at a few metrics.
Retention rate. At what rate are you retaining customers?
Churn rate. At what rate are you losing customers?
Customer lifetime value. What is the total value of a customer over the whole period of their relationship with your business?
You have customers who love what you do, and that’s great. There are different ways to measure brand advocacy, including:
- Net promoter score (NPS). A metric to gauge customer experience and predict business growth, NPS is calculated using the answers to one question: “On a 0–10 scale, how likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?”
- Social advocacy. How many people share or boost your posts on social media?
- Loyalty programs. How many people join your loyalty or rewards program?
Ecommerce analytics best practices
As you can see, there is much that can be measured in the world of ecommerce. While this might seem like a lot to jump into, some best practices can help guide your analytics journey.
What are you trying to accomplish with analytics? Set benchmarks along the way with an end goal in mind. As mentioned before, the data you collect and the metrics that are important to your business will depend on your goals.
For example, if you’re looking to increase organic traffic to your site, tracking cost per click for paid ads wouldn’t make sense. Measuring click-through rate or unique site visits would be more aligned with your goals.
Gather your data
When collecting data across channels and departments, it can be difficult to get all the information in one place so your teams can analyze and use it.
A <u>customer data platform</u> can be a great way to gather, centralize, organize, and manage data to develop loyal customers.
To make the customer experience frictionless and fruitful for your business, you need to optimize your customer journey, your campaign, and your website.
Once you’ve set goals and collected data, it’s time to act on that data and optimize it for better results. Look for software that offers predictive analytics backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning so you can be smarter and more tactical about how you use customer data.
Tools for ecommerce analytics
Clearly, there are many benefits to ecommerce analytics, and a good analytics program should be a cornerstone of your strategy. The next step is to evaluate where your company currently stands.
- Are you just getting started and examining your market fit, or are you ready to scale your business?
- Are you already collecting and analyzing some data or starting from scratch?
- What are the goals your company has for its ecommerce analytics program?
The answers to these questions should give you a sense of where you are and what you need. But no matter where you are or what you need, ecommerce analytics is a whole lot easier when you have the right tools.
Adobe Analytics collects data from every channel and provides in-depth analysis so that your team can deliver better customer experiences. It turns real-time data into real-time insights, allowing you to see what’s working and what’s not — and helping you make more informed business decisions.