If you want to effectively run an Ecommerce store, you need to know what’s happening with your customers.
Where are they clicking? How many visitors are abandoning their shopping carts? Which landing pages are producing more sales?
If you can’t answer these questions, you’re playing the Ecommerce game with a blindfold.
Think about it, how are you supposed to improve your conversions and customer experience, when you don’t even know how your customers are interacting with your website?
It’s going to be really hard because you can’t fix something when you don’t know what’s wrong with it.
To get that much-needed insight, you need to set up Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking for your website.
If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics, it’s a tool that helps you increase conversions and understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by tracking and reporting customer behavior. It lets you see where traffic is coming from, how much of it converts, where it drops off during the checkout process, and much more.
At first glance, Google Analytics might seem like a confusing mess of technical and statistical data. But once you get used to it, you start to see that it’s actually the holy grail of marketing insight. But before you’re able to benefit from this awesome tool, you have to go through a few installation steps to set up Google Analytics for Ecommerce Tracking.
In this article, we’ll guide you through those steps in a simple, step by step fashion, so that you’re fully covered and ready to use this indispensable tool for ecommerce owners/managers.
How to set up Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics
When you link your google analytics account to your website, you get a bunch of useful reports and statistics about many aspects of your site. The important thing to note here is that the data reports that are most useful for ecommerce owners/managers are not available yet.
To get this useful data, you have to set up your Google Analytics account for Ecommerce Tracking.
To set up Ecommerce Tracking in Google Analytics, you don’t need a special version of Google Analytics or anything like that. You just need to do a few things with your current analytics account to set it for tracking ecommerce-relevant data.
Let me show you how to do this:
Step 1: Sign up for Google Analytics
The first step is to sign up for Google Analytics. (If you already have an account, you can skip to the next step.)
Setting up an account is simple. You just have to fill out a few fields asking for basic information about your site. You have to mention the name of your ecommerce site, its URL, the time zone that you prefer, and your site’s industry.
Once you do that, you’ll land on a page that gives you a tracking code that you have to add to your website’s code.
Step 2: Add tracking code to your website
This tracking code is meant to be placed in your website’s code in order to give access to Google Analytics.
To add it, copy-paste the given code in the <HEAD> section of the webpages you want to track. (More details soon)
But before you decide to manually place the code, do a quick google search to see if your platform has a feature or plugin to easily install the Google Analytics tracking code.
If you’re using WordPress, there are many plugins to insert the Google Analytics tracking code.
If you’d rather not use a plugin, then you’ll have to manually place the code into your website’s HTML code.
You don’t need to be a coding expert to do this. You just need to copy-paste the tracking code between the <HEAD> tags, placed at the top of every page’s HTML code.
Navigate to Appearance > Editor > Theme Header on WordPress and then paste the tracking code between the <HEAD> tags.
The tracking code should look like this when placed before the closing <head> tag:
Recommendation: Inserting the code manually? Do a backup of your site in case something goes wrong.
And to set up Google Analytics’ tracking code in Shopify:
- Go to your store
- Click Online Store under the Sales Channels section
- Paste your tracking code in the Google Analytics box
- Enable “Enhanced Ecommerce”
Step 3: Enable Ecommerce Tracking
Now that Google Analytics is linked to your website, it’s time to enable Ecommerce Tracking to be able to receive data reports with ecommerce-relevant data.
Follow the steps below:
- Go to Google Analytics, and click the admin button at the bottom of the navigation bar at the left.
- Click Ecommerce Settings. (See the red pointer)
- Click the “On” switch to enable Ecommerce Tracking.
- (Optional) Click the second switch to enable Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking.
Note: Unfortunately, this is not the final step to enable Ecommerce Tracking. You still have to do some modifications to your shop’s code before you’re able to receive ecommerce-relevant data.
Step 4: Ecommerce Tracking code modifications
The fourth and final step to set up Google Analytics for your ecommerce shop is the hardest step.
Because you need to do complex modifications to your shop system at the code level.
Your options to accomplish this step are to:
- Hire a developer to edit and place the code manually.
- Use a plugin to do the process automatically.
If you decide to go with the developer route, the developer should follow the instructions from this guide by Google to enable Ecommerce Tracking: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/ecommerce.
If you want to enable Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking, your developer should follow this guide instead: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/enhanced-ecommerce
Enhanced ecommerce tracking is the same as regular ecommerce tracking but with a few extra features and more data. (And is harder to set up)
Once the developer is done following the instructions in either of the guides above, your Google Analytics account will be fully set up to track and report ecommerce data.
Tip: This installation process is not an easy-to-do task. You need to get somebody with experience that’s familiarised with your shop system to sit for an extended period of time, read through the document, and make modifications to your shop system’s code.
Using plugins to set up Ecommerce Tracking with Google Analytics
You don’t necessarily need to hire a developer to set up Ecommerce Tracking. Many of the most popular ecommerce platforms have integrations or plugins that allow you to set this all up automatically.
- If you’re using Shopify, the process is extremely simple. You can follow this guide or the steps that we mentioned previously in this post.
- If you have Woocommerce installed, this plugin works well.
- Here’s a handy guide for Bigcommerce users.
If your preferred ecommerce platform is not in the list above, search for the following to find plugins and installation guides:
Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking *plugin for “insert your preferred ecommerce platform here”.
*Some platforms support Google Analytics installation without the need for plugins.
What the ecommerce data reports have to offer
After enabling Ecommerce Tracking, the ecommerce sub-tabs will become available in Google Analytics. In this set of sub-tabs, you can find very useful data related to the ecommerce side of your website.
The revenue generated by each product, conversion rate, the average value of orders, and more invaluable information will be available, allowing you to get a better idea of the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Let’s take a quick look at what each sub-tab has to offer:
- Overview: The Overview tab gives you important data on many aspects of your store to show you how it’s doing overall. It quickly lets you know how much total revenue your products are making, how many purchases have been made, how many of your customers convert, and which of your products sell the most.
- Product Performance: Definitely one of the most important subtabs, you can see how much revenue your products make, how many units are sold, the average units purchased per transaction, and everything you need to know to get a solid idea of how your products are selling.
- Sales Performance: Shows the sales and other transactional information about individual orders, and the revenue by date.
- Transactions: Information about individual transactions like revenue and quantity sold, tax, and shipping.
- Time to Purchase: How long it takes for customers to purchase.
Don’t be surprised if you discover a few things about your business when you take a look at these reports for the first time. When you know where the money is coming from and what’s stopping it, you find what works and what needs fixing.
It takes a fair amount of time and effort to set Google Analytics, but it’s absolutely worth it. In fact, the effort that it takes to set it up makes it even more valuable.
Because other ecommerce owners, including your competitors, are less likely to go through the process. And that gives you an edge.
Convinced to try out Google Analytics? Well, you should!
Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, we’d love to know what you think about this tool and how it has helped you.