E-commerce offers its practitioners a lot of advantages over traditional brick-and-mortar stores, but one of the biggest is the massive amount of real-time customer data they can lay their hands on. More important than collecting that data, however, is making sense of it.
By Tanja Lategan, CEO, Enlight Strategic
Fortunately, there are more data analysis tools available than ever before. And, used correctly, they can help e-commerce stores of all sizes supercharge their sales.
Here’s how to set yourself up for success:
1. Know which metrics matter
When it comes to e-commerce analytics, it can be all too easy to focus on sales as the only metric that matters. In reality, there are a number of other metrics that are equally, if not more, important.
These include purchase amounts, billing locations, product performance, transactions (revenue, tax, shipping, quantity), and time to purchase (days and sessions to the transaction).
But you also need to know how well your marketing and advertising efforts are working, which platforms are helping you generate more customers for your business, and what are the best traffic sources, not just in terms in quantity, but in terms of quality.
Remember, the goal is to grow your customer base, not just increase sales. Knowing these metrics and why they matter is vital.
2. Embrace automation
For small-scale e-commerce players especially, unravelling all of this analysis can be challenging.
Fortunately, the best analytics tools increasingly provide automated insights into the metrics that are most important to your store.
It’s therefore worth getting as familiar as possible with whatever tools are available and to what kind of automated reports they can give you.
3. Use the right tools
When it comes to choosing tools, the choices have, by and large, never been better. Most of the big e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and WooCommerce, provide a fair amount of raw data as well as some base-level analysis.
What they won’t tell you how, however, is how to grow or scale a business year over year. For that, you’ll need to understand a host of factors, including the trickle-down effect from changes in SEO rankings to traffic fluctuations and conversion rates.
you really want useful analytics and analysis, therefore, it’s worth using third-party tools.
Analytics product Oribi, for instance, recently launched an ecommerce analytics tool which allows Shopify users to, among other things, better test the connections between different product purchases, evaluate which product combinations are the most popular, test the impact of UI changes, and gain insights into individual customer journeys.
4. Don’t forget the human touch
Focusing on data and gaining as much insight as possible from analytics is important. This approach works best, however, when it’s combined with a human-centred understanding of the customer experience. While conversions and customer journey profiles can tell you a lot, so can individual complaints and compliments.
Key to getting this blend of data and humanity right is working to understand what your users are going through when they buy from your store and along the pathways they use to get to it.
Data and analytics can tell you what’s working and what isn’t, but it’s only once you really put yourself in the customer’s shoes that you’ll really understand why those things are and aren’t working.
5. Keep playing
As much as e-commerce can feel like a data-driven science there’s still an element of artistry required to get it right. That artistry comes from using the data available to make smarter choices, launch more inspired products, and continually improve the customer experience.
Get it right and you’ll end up supercharging your e-commerce sales.