Boom! You just made your first sale (or group of sales) and are excited about the immense potential of your online store. Don’t sit back and relax quite yet! You need a plan to track and analyze eCommerce statistics on a regular basis to ensure you are making the most of your online venture.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. Here are 15 key eCommerce statistics to start tracking right away (plus ideas to help you put that data to good use).
Start with Google Analytics. This leading source for website data tracking is free, fairly easy to use, and includes everything you need to start tracking your web stats. Google also has a handy guide for first-timers to set up eCommerce tracking.
Once the code is installed and collecting information, whether via Google or another source vendor, it’s time to start looking at that data in relationship to key performance indicators.
Key traffic metrics:
- Who is coming to your website?
- How long are they sticking around (bounce rate)?
- Do they come back later?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you better understand and target your customer base. While we are focusing on metrics to pay attention to here, Optimize Smart has a great guide that can help you understand how to set up many of these features in your analytics account.
Many of the eCommerce tools you already use can also be integrated with Google Analytics. Shopify users, for example, only have to fill in couple of form fields to start tracking data. And you don’t have to know a single line of code! Here’s a short guide to install and set up Google Analytics for Shopify.
Top landing pages
Don’t assume that users type in your domain name and start shopping from the homepage. Most users are probably coming to your eCommerce website through other channels and links. You need to know what they are.
Track top landing pages on a regular basis – start with monthly – to get a good idea of what most interests your customers. Landing page information can tell you a lot about the customer base and what products pique their interest. You’ll also learn how these trends change over time.
Think about top landing pages in terms of design as well. What do they have in common? Is there something you can learn from the look or content on those pages and apply to the rest of your website?
In addition to the pages users come to first, a key eCommerce statistic is where the user came from. Were they referred by another website, social media or an ad campaign? Did they find your website using Google or on their own?
Understanding where customer traffic starts is a good step toward understanding how to convert visits into sales. Referral sources can further help you determine where to spend valuable marketing dollars and what efforts result in the biggest rewards.
What happens when a user adds something to the shopping cart? eCommerce statistics can tell you if a sale was processed (or not).
When it comes to analyzing cart events, it is important to look at three actions:
- Additions to the cart and actual sales.
- Errors in the cart.
- Number of carts abandoned before the sale is processed.
Errors and abandoned carts are key add-to-cart statistics to keep an eye on. If these numbers seem high or jump unexpectedly, it could indicate a website problem.
Proceed to checkout
It is common for customers to shop, add items to a cart and never actually get to the checkout phase. Collect checkout traffic information to know how many users are converting to sales. This is a little different than just looking at add-to-cart events, because you are taking the next step from adding to cart to initiating the checkout process.
Here’s why this matters: The customer has indicated by going to the checkout page that a sale is wanted. When conversions fail at this stage you need to know why and remedy the process. Common problems include shipping prices (customers often balk at shipping costs), difficult user interface, security concerns or payment options and the lack of a mobile option, according to HubSpot.
How do sales look? Daily transaction tracking should be at the top of your eCommerce statistics checklist. Compare transaction numbers by day, week, month and year to get a firm grasp on how your business is doing. Is it growing or slowing? This metric can tell you at a glance.
Transaction details can also help you keep track of inventory and what items are in demand. It’s a great overview barometer. You can glance at these numbers to start your day and chart a path forward.
Errors of any kind
Tracking errors might seem like no fun, but errors can be a major cause of lost customers. It’s your job to figure out where things might be going wrong in the shopping experience.
Errors that are cause for concern include the following:
- High 404 page traffic.
- Drastic changes in checkout abandonment.
- Slow page speed load times (test your site).
- Broken links, particularly to internal items.
- High bounce rate, or sudden change in bounce rate.
Find out what users type into the search bar and you have instant access to what they want from your eCommerce website. This is one of the most overlooked elements in a website design.
Take the search information and push popular items in marketing campaigns, on the homepage or develop new products. Remember to track search events that provide results as well as those that do not. Why? If users are consistently searching for a product you don’t have, you might want to consider stocking it.
Security and payment processing is a major concern for most online shoppers. Are you providing the right tools to make each customer feel safe? A good eCommerce statistic to track is the type of payment method used.
- What are the most popular payment methods? Type of credit card, Paypal or other processor.
- Do certain payment types have higher cart abandonment rates?
Promotions and codes
Promo codes and sales are a stellar way to drive traffic. But do they work? And which ones are the most successful? Track each of the special codes you put out there for customers and see which codes translate to more sales.
- Is it free shipping or a percent-off discount?
- Is it a code from a web-based ad, Facebook promotion or postcard?
- Are the codes redeemed by new or returning users?
Track whenever a shopper shares an item (before or after a sale), promotion or content on social networks. This information can help you analyze user desires and popularity of items, promotions or viral nature of a product. If a certain product gets a lot of attention on social media, be ready with enough inventory for a potential influx of sales.
Form field success
Your eCommerce website is packed with forms. From signing up for an email list to entering payment information, form field statistics can show where stumbling blocks exist and what information users do and do not want to share.
There’s a delicate balance to form field tracking though. Some fields are important for data collection, such as email address or postal code, but other information should not be kept (such as credit card data). The part that is important is to know which fields users are leaving blank and how to streamline form fields for easier input and particularly checkout.
There’s growing momentum for a less-is-more strategy when it comes to eCommerce checkout fields, and customers seem to really appreciate it.
Your most important customer is a loyal customer. While most analytics tools won’t give you all the data you need about this eCommerce statistic, there are ways to pull this information together. Use a combination of analytics – new vs. returning customers and unique vs. total page views – as well as surveys to get a good idea of who is shopping over and over again.
If you want to try a survey to collect this data, entice customers with a coupon code. It can be equally as important to know why customers don’t come back, so try asking that in a simple one-question survey as well.
Every button and promotion leading to and on your website should end with a customer action. Are you converting casual visitors into sales?
- Do customers click calls-to-action and fill out forms?
- Do they click internal links?
- What is the funnel from social media to product listing?
- Do shoppers actually make purchases?
The conversion rates for different actions will vary, and that’s okay. Here’s what to pay particular attention to: Which pages or calls-to-action lead to the highest conversion rates? Replicate these in as many places as you can.
The top eCommerce statistic you need to track is revenue. It’s the root of your entire business.
Track this number daily/weekly/monthly. The tools might be built into your eCommerce website platform, through Google Analytics or through accounting software. But if you aren’t tracking revenue, what in the world are you doing?
Consider tracking revenue in several different ways, such as the following:
- Total sales in relationship to campaigns.
- By product to identify popular items.
- To keep track of inventory.
- To determine how price changes impact sales.
At the end of the day, the final goal of all eCommerce statistics is to give you the tools to grow a successful business. It may seem like a lot of data analysis, but with proper setup and automation the benefits far outweigh costs. Good luck and happy selling!