Congrats! You’ve launched your online store and are already getting orders for those artisanal cat pawprint shaped pillows. While traffic is flowing onto your site now, do you have a plan to retain those users for the long term? How will you know what marketing strategy to use when the next batch of designs comes out? The answer is a little less fun than coming up with those pillow designs but just as, if not more, important for the long-term success of your online store.
The solution is investing time and/or money into an analytics toolset that provides the level of detail you are looking for. We’ve put together a shortlist of some of our preferred analytics tools when working with eCommerce clients to give you a better understanding of the importance of tracking analytics regardless of your online store size. But first a quick breakdown of what these tools do and why they should be a key tool in your marketing arsenal.
Unveil Your Audience
Ecommerce analytics tools come in all shapes and sizes each offering varying levels of complexity and unique methods of presenting data. Some of the best analytics tools for eCommerce provide users with broad overviews of where their budgets are going while tracking the ebb and flow of traffic from various sources. While also allowing a user to dig deep and research patterns that targeted audiences display. Knowing who is visiting your site is part of the puzzle, the other part is the how and why they came. This is where eCommerce tracking tools come into play.
Did someone click on one of your ads from Facebook and complete an order or did they bounce before exploring the site? Did they add 4 of your top-selling pillows only to abandon their shopping cart? Did someone from the Pacific Northwest use a coupon code to save 20% on that order of 10 cat pawprint pillows? Setting up your tracking and conversion goals in an analytics tool is really the only way to truly know for sure.
Here's a few tools we love
By far the most popular choice for anything analytics-related on a website and it’s hard to argue about the price of free. Google provides these tools as a means for anyone to be able to understand the who, where, how, and why of traffic visiting a website. Installation is simple enough, all you need is a Google account, some basic knowledge of reading site code, and have access to the codebase of the site. The setup process provided by Google walks users through each step with easy-to-follow instructions. Just be aware that the eCommerce tracking tools Google Analytics provide a massive amount of information and data, not all of that will be directly useful for every type of online store.
Where it might get more complex is defining the goals you want your site visitors to complete. Sure someone buying products is the obvious one but what about those that are just browsing? Could we present a non-intrusive popup after the visitor has been on the site for a bit asking if they would like to sign up for our newsletter? Without tracking this action as a goal you might not know who comes back and completes a purchase on their next visit.
Personally one of my favorite tools to use with clients on their sites and an incredibly powerful analytics tool in its own right. Hotjar is a click/heat mapping tool that captures data from user sessions providing a record of user interactions over a given period. With the heatmaps Hotjar creates, you can see how far down on a particular page sample of users are making it. Wondering why more users aren’t clicking on that newsletter signup button 3/4s of the way down the page? Running a heatmap on the page could reveal that only a fraction of the expected users make it far enough down to even see the signup button. Combine this with the findings of a clickmap on the same page showing that those who do make it down that far rarely click the button. This level of insight means you have the data to support moving that button higher up the page where more eyes and hopefully more clicks will happen.
Understanding your visitor’s behavior means you can identify potential problems in the session flow from landing on the site, browsing and adding items to the cart, to finally purchase completion. With Hotjar’s recordings feature, you can review many users’ actual movement through the site, all sensitive/personal data is hidden by default, and see if users on a specific browser or device type might be running into trouble. We need to make sure everyone has access to the collection of cat pawprint pillows, obviously.
Remember those newsletters we mentioned before? Well once a user does signup for it we need to send those marketing emails out. Given the wide array of visitors we have coming to our online store from various sources, we can leverage the analytics tools we set up to track user demographics to determine what messaging is right for each group. Because cat pawprint pillows are so desirable messaging for each group will need to be uniquely crafted.
Klaviyo provides an automated solution to email marketing for eCommerce platforms. Klaviyo simplifies a lot of the data other tools present in massive spreadsheets providing automatic audience segmentation following specified conditions you set up beforehand. Did a user complete a purchase shortly after landing on the site? Did a user open an offer popup and then end their session with an abandoned cart? Klaviyo can deliver personalized messages to each of these users with speed and accuracy other platforms lack.
Great with that all set we are sending emails to users who signed up for our newsletter either on a browsing visit or as part of the purchase process. Now we can use the analytics tracking tools built into Klaviyo to find out how many users are opening these emails, clicking the links within, landing on the site, and completing the goals we have set.
As a bit of a bonus tool that ties the listed tools and even other marketing tools together, we recommend installing Google Tag Manager to level up your analytics tracking. Tag Manager is a great way to add 3rd party tags and scripts to your site through one platform. We use it to add stuff like the Hotjar tracking code, Google Analytics tracking ID, and Klaviyo’s tracking snippets onto sites without messing with on-site code.
Where Tag Manager comes into its own though is the freedom to create your own tags and the triggers. Tags can track specific actions happening on-site and can vary anywhere from tracking how many clicks a button is getting to tracking form submits without using thank-you pages. The best part is these events can pass data through to Google Analytics. So we can match up events happening across the site with traffic data and goal completions we were already tracking.
Some parting words. . .
The great thing about these analytics tools is that they work hand-in-hand with each other and are compatible with any of the popular eCommerce platforms currently available. Integration is made easy thanks to plugins and tutorials provided by the developers. Taking advantage of these tools and the data they provide means your eCommerce site will have a greater understanding of what visitors are looking for, how they found your site, what they are doing once they get there, and if they are completing those all-important goals. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to eCommerce analytics tools available for marketing teams it all comes down to how much detail you are looking for and how deep you want to dive to find it. If you take anything away from this post, get Google Analytics installed and tracking your goals now, while the flood of data will be overwhelming the data within is well worth the effort to find. And if you really want to go above and beyond use Google Tag Manager to control all these tools tags and more!