Ecommerce owners have tons of data at their fingertips, from online traffic to the visitor journey and the purchase of a product. However, the volume of data that’s available – and what to do with it – is overwhelming. In fact, only 20% of online retailers are effectively using their analytics, and the majority of e-commerce business owners aren’t even bothering to check their data at all.
Collecting data is just the first step in scaling or improving your business. But how you leverage ecommerce analytics can mean the difference between a minimal impact and big wins. Start slowly with the analytics process and focus on areas that have the biggest impact on your business. Here are seven ways to develop and use ecommerce analytics.
1. Payment Processing
Payment processors and payment gateways can create ripples of confusion in the ecommerce world. The payment processor executes transactions by transmitting data between merchants and customers’ banks, while the payment gateway securely authorizes payments for ecommerce websites and acts as an online point-of-sale for your business.
However, ecommerce owners neglecting the analytics component of their payment processing won’t always get the full picture of what their business is doing. Business owners could be mishandling their finances and shortchanging their customers without even realizing what’s happening before it’s too late.
The Goal: Analyzing Payment Processing
The ramifications of not understanding your payment processing can be significant. Ignoring analytics in your payment processing can lead to issues like double billing and loss of customer confidence. You need a robust tool that can handle your processing and give you a full picture of what’s going on with the financial side of your business.
The Tool: ExtraHop | Call for a Quote
ExtraHop is an IT operations and wire data analytics platform that helps business owners monitor a multitude of systems. ExtraHop monitors trillions of transactions every day. It’s ideal for businesses that are looking for real-time streaming analytics, which allows them access to their data instantaneously instead of processing it and reacting after the fact.
2. Social Media
You’re missing out on potential traffic and sales if you’re not actively using social media and tracking the results. According to Shopify, nearly two thirds of all social media visits to Shopify stores come from Facebook. Choosing the right social media platform is just the first step. You also need the right tools to analyze your social media engagement and traffic to scale your business and customer engagement.
The Goal: Analyzing Social Media Engagement
Whether you’re tracking traffic on your sales page, blog or landing page, you need a robust tool that can track activity across a variety of channels and make sense of the data you’re collecting. Social media “conversation maps” can track and analyze commonly-used words and phrases related to your key searches to help you understand what people are looking for and talking about in regards to your brand.
Once you have the information in hand, you can use those conversation maps to create sales copy using your customers’ own words and pain points. It’s also an effective way to engage your customers on a deeper and more meaningful level, or to listen to what customers want from your products or competitors. The more you understand what your customers are talking about, the easier it is to market and sell to them.
The Tool: Hootsuite Insights | Request a Custom Quote
Hootsuite is a social media management dashboard that can manage multiple channels and profiles. The tool enhances your social media efforts, whether you’re studying what posts are performing best, scheduling content, or seeing how your audience is engaging with your messaging and brand.
3. Inventory Analytics
Storing too much or too little inventory is a costly mistake for your business. You are either grappling with too much overhead and associated storage costs, or failing to deliver on what your customers want. The results can be catastrophic to your business. In fact, data compiled by research firm CB Insights shows 29% of startups fail because of a cash flow crisis.
Not having enough money to buy inventory to sell to customers is an ongoing issue for businesses. But so is having too much inventory that you have to pay to store and try to sell quickly. That’s why finding the right inventory analytics tool is key to keeping your cash flow in check without skimping on the products your customers want.
The Goal: Analyzing Inventory and Order Processing
Business owners should choose an analytics tool that can identify where their inventory needs the most attention. That could mean increasing inventory orders of your most popular products or only ordering certain products seasonally.
You might also find that your most popular product is frequently purchased with another product at the same time. These types of analytics can offer more insight on cross-selling or upselling opportunities.
Tool: Orderhive | $50 to $300 a month
Orderhive is inventory management software that works as a complete ecommerce solution. It focuses on small and medium businesses to help them integrate orders, inventory, and customer data across multiple channels. It helps ecommerce store owners easily manage their back-end operations and data so they can focus on working on their business.
4. Visitor Tracking
Figuring out what your visitors are doing, from landing on your storefront, to signing up for an email list and purchasing a product, can feel elusive. But knowing what they’re doing and how to shape the user experience around their actions can give your business a boost.
You could send your customers a survey to ask what they like and how they’re spending their time on your website, but you’re unlikely to get a very big response. They also might breeze through the survey without giving any substantial information. Instead, you can use the right tools to see exactly what they’re doing and adjust your marketing around what’s working, once you have the insights and analytical tools to track the full visitor journey.
The Goal: Tracking the Visitor Journey
Your customers may not be ready to purchase a product the first time they land on your website. But what are they doing there, and what makes them ultimately buy? You can track their journey with the tools that will show you when they’re taking action, and other behaviors.
The Tool: Kissmetrics | $500 on up
Kissmetrics tracks behavioral analytics and combines the data with segmentation and email campaign automation. The tool helps small and medium-sized businesses see the bigger picture of what compels customers to act. Kissmetrics is also a leader in the online marketing world and understands what makes customers buy.
Advertising your ecommerce store can raise awareness among new customers looking for your products. You can also use your advertising funnels to drive more leads and run promotions. But advertising is not an effective promotional medium unless you know what’s working and why.
The Goal: Advertising Analytics
Instead of scattering your focus across multiple tools, use one advertising and analytics tool that can create ads at the start of your campaign. You should also be able to automatically optimize campaigns and tap into analytics features to monitor what’s going on behind the scenes.
The Tool: Vantage | Starts with a free plan
Vantage offers data-driven intelligence for retailers in an analytics dashboard. It connects directly into your ecommerce store to analyze data and calculate key metrics. Business owners can use Vantage to monitor their ecommerce operations with real-time data. You can uncover key insights to drive performance and build ad campaigns, which will help grow your customer base and increase sales.
6. The Goal: Analyzing Subscriptions
A subscription model business can put recurring money in your pocket, but also comes with lots of moving pieces. This type of business requires multiple pricing models – and lost opportunities, sign-ups that don’t convert, activation issues, and refund requests are all things that need to be monitored and analyzed.
All of these issues come with multiple data points. But unless they all work together, it’s difficult to know which parts are working and which ones aren’t, and that can make it more difficult to improve your business.
The Goal: Subscription Analysis
Your subscription analytics tools should come with the ability to analyze multiple areas of your business. For example, if you monitor transaction trends, you can see which products are purchased the most and with what types of credit cards or coupon codes. The more you can see all of your subscription data working together, the clearer the picture you’ll have of how your business model is working and where it needs more attention.
The Tool: Chargebee | $99 to $599 a month
Chargebee manages and scales subscriptions with more flexibility. Business owners can set up multiple subscription plans and monitor them from a single dashboard. It comes with some innovative features, such as the ability to pro-rate subscription fees if a customer switches from a freemium to paid service in the middle of a billing period.
7. Optimize Your Website
It’s easy to read about best practices to optimize your website, from better graphics to blogging and SEO, but implementing them doesn’t always fix your optimization issues. You may discover your customers simply don’t see the value in exchanging their email address for a coupon code. You may also discover that something simple, like changing the placement of your opt-in form or even your office number could improve engagement and conversions. But you won’t know what’s going on without seeing what customers are actually doing on your site.
The Goal: Track What Your Visitors Are Doing On Your Website
Getting a clear picture of exactly where your customers are clicking and the process they’re undergoing to buy your products can show you where to make tweaks to your website. An analytics tool can show you where customers are spending the most time and what they’re ignoring. With that information in hand, you can optimize your website with the user experience in mind.
The Tool: Crazy Egg | $9 to $99 a month
Image: Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg is a website optimization tool that offers insights into customer behavior on your website. Just copy and paste the code snippet into your site, and instantly see where users are clicking and how they’re navigating and using your website. See what’s working and what’s not, discover ways to improve, and test those changes on your site. You can also generate reports that can help you improve your site and increase your click-through rates.
The problem with analytics tools for ecommerce businesses isn’t their scarcity – it’s choosing the right ones. Use our resource to narrow down the most important data points for your business and widen your focus to improve everything from your website optimization to your user experience. While you may be looking for ways to use data to scale your business, you’ll end up with a solid business foundation built upon sound data-driven decision making.
Leveraging web data to propel your ecommerce business doesn’t have to be a difficult, costly, or time-consuming exercise. If you haven’t given Import.io a try, be sure to do so, and see how easy it can be to start putting web data to work in your organization. Sign up for a free trial or try out our competitor price monitoring service free.