Google Analytics - E-Commerce Tracking Explained

E-commerce is a growing business, it has been for a long time. This means competition in most sectors is stiff, but with modern tracking systems such as Google Analytics you can really out perform your competitors, if used correctly of course. Lets take a look at the four main reasons we would want to track your online shoppers in some detail.

  1. Simple Tracking of Revenue Most platforms, such as Magento and WooCommerce, will give you these dashboard basics. But being able to see your analytics data in a single location can be a huge help, especially if away from your desk (who wants to login to 2 or 3 sites?). With Google Analytics E-commerce Tracking by default it will help you to track sales and revenue over time, enabling comparisons but also enabling you to tie in purchase data with a given SEO or Digital Marketing Campaign.
  2. Product Tracking Google Analytics allows you to look at individual products to see how they perform, both over time and compared with other products, for example who two pieces of handmade jewellery compare in terms of sales - but also in types of audience they attract, perhaps one does really well from search and the other from social.
  3. Time to Conversion Tracking A key metric in the measure of success for some websites, and simply a matter of interest for others, is the time to purchase metric. Looking at when someone first came to your website and how, the second and third etc etc and finally what ensured they convert are all things worth measuring. For example if someone visits 3 times before buying what could you do to make them buy on the second visit, was it the device they used? maybe they went from mobile to desktop to buy - that could signify something is wrong with your checkout design, or simply that users don't feel comfortable checking out on a mobile device. Using this data you can also see how one campaign can effect the length of a conversion, for example many sites will track how long someone is part of an email newsletter before buying, 3 emails, 6 emails maybe even 10 emails... and then they look at why they purchased then, whats in that email?

Simple Guide to Setting Up E-commerce Tracking

So there are two steps to setting up E-Commerce Tracking with Google Analytics, the first is ensuring your account is active for this type of tracking and the second is adding the code to your website.

Enabling Google Analytics E-Commerce Tracking

STEP 1. Click Admin, in the View area click View Settings

STEP 2. Click Ecommerce Settings and toggle the option On, Then Click Save.

STEP 3.  Enable Enhanced Tracking and enter the defined steps in your Checkout Procedure (for example as seen below).

setting up google analytics ecommerce

Note: this is not the same for all checkout procedures & is OPTIONAL.

Adding the New Tracking Code to Your Website

There are a number of ways of installing the e-commerce tracking code to your website, each depending on the platform you are using. Unless you have made your own solution then you will be using a platform such as Magento, WordPress, BigCommerce or Shopify to enable online shopping from your business.

If you are using a third party platform, such as paypal, to enable any part of your online shopping experience you will need to enable the third-party domain cookies (some sites like shopify will do this for you).

Each platform has it's own way of doing things and sometimes it can be confusing. So here is my quick guide (with helpful links to detailed guides) for adding E-Commerce Tracking.

WooThemes (on WordPress)

The best solution is to use the WooThemes (universal to all themes) Google Analytics Ecommerce Plugin - Download Here. Installation is simple, install the plugin, activate and enter your tracking code.

Note: Remove any other wordpress google analytics plugins, such as Yoast GA.

Magento (all themes)

As noted when explaining how to install google analytics, my favoured plugin is my Aromicon and is called Google Universal Analytics - Download Here.

Shopify

A hosted shopping solution, shopify is quick and easy to set up. Setting up GA within Shopify is also fairly easy - follow this guide - you have already done a few of the steps so skip over those bits.

BigCommerce

Again a fairly simple install here, Simply copying your tracking code and another bit of code which you've pasted your code and domain into - fairly easy. here's the guide.

SquareSpace E-comemrce & Big Cartel

The easiest of all the third party platforms to add Google Analytics Ecommerce too is SquareSpace and Big Cartel. Simply paste your tracking code into the General Settings area of the dashboard and you're done. SquareSpace includes ecommerce tracking by default.

Click here for a guide for Square Space.

Big Cartel is the same method, go to settings and paste your tracking code.

Click here for a guide for Big Cartel.

Other Platforms & Data Differences

If you have a website/online shop hosted on another website and would like some help finding the best options for you - please do get in touch.

Finally, there are sometimes differences in the "real-life" data and the shown within Google Analytics, there is nowhere more noticeable than with e-commerce tracking. Its often nothing to worry about and just a setup issue - so here's Googles quick help guide.

Tomorrow, how to use Google Analytics Ecommerce.