Analytics is a key part of growing an ecommerce. In fact, analytics is everything. It is useful for anything: from optimizing the copy of your CTA to determining the quality of traffic that reaches your website. Therefore, any marketing professional should be guided by numbers.
This is why we have selected the ones that – from our point of view – are the best analytical tools for ecommerce.
What will you find in this article ?
The best analytical tools for ecommerce
If you’re going crazy to make sense of your ecommerce data, don’t panic. Chances are you haven’t found a tool that shows you the data the way you need to see it.
You’re not alone. After all, analysis tools are not the same in terms of complexity, accessibility and price. That’s why we’ve broken down the best e-commerce analysis tools so you can start reviewing your figures as soon as possible. In short, these tools can help you:
- Get more customers, whether they come from organic traffic, social media or email marketing campaigns.
- Calculate your pricing structure to decide whether to create new business or new customers
- Stop « guessing » what happens to your budget
Each of the following tools fulfills everything you have to fulfill for ecommerce professionals. Regardless of your budget or sector, any combination of these tools is a good solution.
It’s hard to resist the charm of « free », isn’t it?
Some of the best analytical tools for ecommerce are free thanks to Google. Almost everyone uses Google Analytics, and we recommend that you do the same.
Increasing your ecommerce conversion rate is a big challenge, no matter what you sell. Google’s Enchanced eCommerce provides merchants with a broader view of metrics.
Simply put, the platform is much more powerful than it used to be. Google Analytics users now have the ability to track traffic at every stage of the funnel. This means identifying weaknesses that lead to cart abandonment or friction points in the checkout process. In addition, users can keep a close watch:
- The performance of each product at the sales level (a clue: this helps you, at the same time, to identify your customer’s LTV)
- Where your traffic comes from (desktop, mobile, tablet) and how those visitors are converting.
- On which pages your visitors are spending the most time and on which there is the most bounce.
As you will see Google Analytics can tell you much more than how many visits come to your website each day.
Why should I gather data from Google Analytics?
Google released a video a few years ago on their youtube channel which is still a great example of customer experience flaws in E-commerce. Tongue-in-cheek humour, it explains several obstacles deemed acceptable in E-commerce that we’d never accept in a brick and mortar.
The video takes place in your average grocery store, where a man is trying to purchase a loaf of bread. His checkout experience is anything but smooth, starting off with a rough log-in phase where he can’t remember his account information. He then has to agree to a lengthy agreement which ends up in him “timing out” and you can feel the frustration that the actor expresses as he has to restart the log-in process from zero.
A particularly interesting moment is when the cashier holds up a card with CAPTCHA words written, asking the customer to confirm that he is a “real person.” While it seems absurd in real life, this is a security measure that can be a headache when inexistent characters pop up, or when the CAPTCHA doesn’t display correctly.
After a gruelling authentication experience, he finally gets to the payment phase, where he’s charged nearly 9 times the original price of the item. This seems ridiculous in real life- but we know that surprise charges (including delivery charges) are the #1 reason that customers abandon their carts.
After declining the bizarre “Bread Insurance” fee, the cashier tells him that he can come back in five business days to pick up his loaf of bread. The customer expresses that he needs it now, and the cashier indicates that the “Immediate take-home price” is four times the original price of the bread. Finally, the customer walks away without purchasing anything at all.
While this video has a humorous tone, it highlights several problems concerning customer experience in E-commerce, while showing us at the end that the customer will walk away if confronted with too many obstacles when trying to purchase. While it might be harder to walk away in real life, it’s far easier to do online, and online customers are quick to abandon their purchase at even the slightest obstacle.
How do I set up Analytics?
Implementation is fairly simple: you start by making an analytics account linked to a Gmail account. I suggest making a specific Gmail account for your E-commerce in order to link all of your Google tools to the same place (in lieu of connecting it to your personal Gmail account).
From that point, you need to link your “property” (your site) to your Google Analytics account. The site will walk you through the process completely. You will have to choose an industry category as well as your time zone information, and etc. It’s all more or less straightforward.
The next step is to link your Analytics account back to your website. In your Analytics account, you go to Admin >> Account >> Property >> Tracking Info >> Tracking Code.
You copy your tracking code and you paste it into the HTML of your landing page (before the closing </head> tag). You should paste this code in all sites that you want to track. If you have a dynamic website (a website where the HTML is generated using a programming language such as Python, PHP, etc.) you want to use the PHP shortcode (in the small red square at the bottom).
For sites hosted where you can’t manage the source code, there are usually plugins specific to that hosting site that will link your analytics and your site automatically. Unfortunately, as is often the case, there may be fewer options that you can customize for data tracking.
From there, you can configure your data on the Analytics dashboard. There are loads of little things you can do at this point, like defining the country you want to target, what data you want to appear on your dashboard, and you can even set goals for your analytics to report on. Setting goals are particularly important, as Google will then propose solutions to help reach those goals.
Regardless, this site contains a wealth of information concerning how to configure and set up analytics for your website. If you want to go even further, there is a free online course that Google offers to teach you everything you ever needed to know about Google Analytics and how to interpret your data.
Tracking the hits to your E-commerce site is the first step to shining a light on who your audience is and what they like/don’t like about your site. Data is invaluable, and knowing what makes your customers abandon their purchases is the best way to improve your customer experience.
For those seeking to go beyond Google, Maroto is an open source option for ecommerce owners with a technological profile. Maroto emphasizes the need for ecommerces to have control of their own data. Unlike Google Analytics, Maroto is installed directly on your server and is not hosted remotely.
Although the platform has many of the same features as Google Analytics, Maroto includes:
- Automated reports on metrics such as conversion rate and average order value: the platform also alerts users to events that cause cart abandonment.
- Detailed sales reports broken down by marketing channel, geolocation and product
- Easy integration with platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento
What about marketers who need a little more advanced reports? From knowing how many times a specific visitor has visited your site to how often they visit a product page. Kissmetrics emphasizes reports focused on individuals rather than on the general level of traffic.
Kissmetrics granular analysis is ideal for brands that want to remarket to large audiences and determine which specific marketing channels have the highest ROI. This advanced segmentation can help you determine which campaigns are working and which are not. For example, the platform allows users to watch LTV in one click.
Kissmetrics also delves into design aspects of your e-commerce to help you improve your conversion rate. The platform allows merchants to create and activate pop-ups, lightboxes, and notifications to dissuade visitors from leaving.
You’ll also be able to customize, segment and preview the appearance of those triggers in real time. This helps you a lot with the A/B tests you do.
The platform’s reputation as one of the best e-commerce analysis tools does not come for free. That said, comparing its advanced capabilities with those of Google Analytics or Maroto is comparing apples and oranges. For those on a budget, the features of Kissmetrics could be a radical change.
Sellers can’t afford to make too many assumptions about their websites. The best way to fine-tune usability and improve your conversion and click rates is to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors.
Heat mapping platforms like Hotjar are incredibly valuable to e-commerce professionals. Hotjar allows you to visualize what your visitors see as they navigate your site.
In addition to heat maps, Hotjar also has the ability to create visitor recordings in real time. Watching these recordings again gives you a lot of information about what’s working and what’s not.
Understanding your visitors’ behaviour in terms of tracking and clicks allows marketing professionals:
- Determine whether or not your visitors are clicking on your CTAs
- Evaluate which offers and copy are of most interest to your visitors
- Identify bottlenecks, errors and weaknesses in your sales funnel
A Hotjar study attested that one of their e-commerce customers increased its conversion rate by 30% thanks to a few small adjustments. Based on the information gathered from their heat maps and recordings, they discovered that the cart gave access problems through certain browsers. It is very difficult to identify this without an analytical tool.
In e-commerce, there’s nothing worse than an abandoned order.
Maybe you made your visitors have to deal with too many obstacles. Maybe there was something about your prices that downgraded a potential buyer.
Either way, cart abandonment is an evil that affects all e-commerce professionals. The average abandonment rate is around 70%. That’s why solutions like Woopra have emerged specifically to combat the plague of abandonment of shopping carts.
Woopra’s analyses emphasize the concept of « shopping success, » focusing on drop points as well as the time it takes customers to buy. By looking at the basic abandonment rate in specific actions such as adding shipping or payment, it is very clear which aspects of your funnel require attention.
The platform also generates individual profiles that allow you to know your most valuable customers and how they interact exactly with your store or sales team.
Email marketing and e-commerce go hand in hand. Whether you want to do lead nurturing or encourage repeat shopping, email automation is the cornerstone of any e-commerce empire.
However, the big names in email marketing don’t always have the best e-commerce analysis tools. After all, e-commerce marketers require strong segmentation, a wide variety of messages and a lot of frequency in order to carry out their campaigns effectively.
Therefore, brands also require an in-depth analysis of their email marketing campaigns. Kalviyo is an email automation and analysis platform specifically designed for e-commerce merchants. They pride themselves on providing in-depth analysis for e-commerce compared to Mailchimp or other well-known email brands aimed at beginners.
But what makes Kalviyo different? Beyond looking for simplicity and not having to analyze thousands of spreadsheets, the benefits and features of the platform include:
- Automatic audience segmentation based on specific actions and parameters (purchase of a product, the opening of a message, purchase within a certain period of time), resulting in more personalized and faster messages.
- Welcome and auto-response email templates to make lead nurturing and fight against cart abandonment.
- Advanced reports that track openings, clicks, revenues, and all intermediate metrics.
Finally, Kalviyo emphasizes the need for e-commerce professionals to focus on revenue rather than clicks.
Visual Web Optimizer
Optimizing your e-commerce is a continuous process that never ends. This is especially true if you constantly perform A/B tests to experiment and adjust your worst performing pages.
Unfortunately, many marketers don’t understand how complex and slow A/B tests can be. If you’re not paying attention to the right metrics or don’t understand what you need to change, you could be hampering your revenue. As a result, platforms like Visual Web Optimizer are ideal for companies looking to fine-tune their marketing campaigns and landing pages.
VWO is an almost turnkey solution for A/B tests. This platform allows you to create variants of your headlines, buttons, images and other key elements to generate multiple iterations. By dividing your traffic evenly, you can determine in real time which variant results in the most clicks, conversions, and navigation time. Through a custom control panel, you can see the results very clearly.
In addition, the platform allows users to segment their traffic, customizing your site based on the background of your visitors. In other words, different visitors will be served the highest performance variation of the web based on their demographics, geolocation and their provenance (Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.).