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Analysis, eCommerce, Google Analytics

Google Analytics: using Google Goals to improve your eCommerce site

BY Crystal Gilliam 25 Aug, "15

As an eCommerce store owner, have you spent a lot of time wondering if customers are looking at all your product pages? Or if you should launch that 24 hour flash sale at 10am or 10pm to catch more of your customers online? Google Analytics and Goals collect the data you need to answer questions like this and analyze your sales process. You want to know: are the visitors to my eCommerce store doing what I want them to do? Google Analytics and Goals have your answer.

Google Analytics - that’s GA to you

Google Analytics is a data collection and analysis tool that helps you measure the performance of your website. Analytics give you a lot of good information as soon as you get started. From the opening dashboard, you can see the details of your site and customer traffic: whether visitors are new or returning, how often and when they’re coming for a visit, and conversion and bounce rates.

If you want to put a little more focus on the data you’re tracking, use Advanced Segments. This function allows you to select, to a very specific degree, which parts of your site you want to have analyzed, which information you want, and what reports you’re most interested in.

Google Analytics

Setting up in Analytics

To get started in GA to begin tracking all this data, set up tracking on your site. Once tracking kicks in, which can take up to 24 hours, you’ll start seeing valuable data right away. Monitor your traffic sources, check out which days of the week have the highest conversion rates, or even at which times of the day your customers tend to buy. Knowing this, you can target new product launches at times when most of your customers are usually online, or you can start new sales at those traffic peaks during the week. Post social media updates at those times too.

Use eCommerce tracking

Once you’ve set up in the main GA, set up eCommerce tracking on your page. Many eCommerce platforms, like Shopify and several WordPress plugins, are already integrated with eCommerce tracking, but if not, set it up and see what additional data it can bring. This option changes all the tracking data and usual GA reports into an eCommerce version, making it even simpler to see where you’re making money and where you’re not.

Getting to the good stuff: Google Goals

Want to get even more specific with your data tracking? Maybe you’ve seen through GA that most customers are online at 10am on Fridays, but you want to know how many of them stay longer than five minutes on your site. This is when you can start using Goals, a tool within Google Analytics that helps you identify actionable ways you can improve your sales process.

Goals help you track not only the final (sales) conversion, but what led up to the final sale: platforms used, demographics, multichannel funnels, conversion paths. They also help you identify weaknesses in your funnel - where customers have issues, where you lose them, and what you can do to improve the overall customer experience.

Macro Goals - seeing the big picture

As an eCommerce website, your main Macro Goal or conversion will be to make a sale. This Macro Goal is achieved when someone reaches a payment, confirmation or thank you page on your website. While this Goal is definitely your first priority, there are many different interactions before that Macro Goal that also add value to your overall process. This is where Micro Goals come in.

Micro Goals - smaller, but just as important

Micro Goals track your site’s interactions with potential customers before they complete an actual purchase. Micro Goals are all about your budding relationship with your future customers. They can include social media shares, video views, live chats, newsletter & social sign ups, or adds to cart (without purchase). Micro Goals are focused on those interactions that increase the likelihood that someone will eventually make a purchase from you. They may not give you that instant gratification of a sale, but they’re all about the long game - helping you understand the entire process from initial contact to conversion.

Try setting Micro Goals that show you exactly where in the sales process you engage your customers, and then where you lose them. Have you noticed customers always drop off at one spot before completing checkout? Set a Goal to analyze that spot and figure out why, and what you can do about it.

Google Analytics

Setting Goals

In GA, you can set up to 20 Goals per account, which means you can cover pretty much any interaction a customer may make along the conversion path. To set your goals, on the profile level, go to:

Admin > Create a Conversion Goal > and then choose the type of Goal.

Types of Goals

GA allows you to set four different types of Goals:

URL destination: when a certain page loads is triggered by when someone gets to that page’s URL. This can be an order confirmation, a newsletter signup confirmation page or any other URL that completes some exchange of information. Most of your Goals will likely fall under this category.

Time on Site: track how long visitors are spending on certain pages. Are they watching a video you posted, or simply clicking through? Set a time limit and less than/greater than parameters for this type of goal.

Pages/Visit: tracks the number of pages your visitor clicks on during their visit - goals are reached when they visit less than/more than a certain number of pages during one visit.

For an eCommerce store, you could set a Goal that your customer visits 10 different product pages within one visit. This not only measures interest in your products, but also gauges the effectiveness of sections of your website - such as “See More” calls to action, links to other products, and navigation menus. If a customer finds it difficult or uninteresting to navigate through your site, they won’t stick around very long, whereas reaching this page/visit Goal would indicate you’re doing something right.

Events: This is a way to track a specific action. If you’re an apparel eCommerce store, maybe you want your visitor to download your Spring 2016 Lookbook.

This Events Goal is complete when they click on that specific call to action

Get to tracking!

Analyzing this information in GA not only improves your conversion rates, but your entire conversion process. Get into the minds of customers from first contact to getting that final sale, and ultimately eCommerce success.

You have your awesome products, interesting content and sales ideas, let Google Analytics and Goals add on insights about your visitors and what they think of you. 

Sources: 1 | 2

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See Also:

The best tips and free tools to improve your eCommerce store
Top 15 SEO tips for B2B eCommerce sites that you can't ignore
Inventory management software: 7 ways to optimize TradeGecko

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