How To Perform Analytics on Your E-Commerce Site


Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported, which means we earn commissions from links on Digital. Commissions do not affect our editorial evaluations or opinions.

Analytics. It’s one of the most important assets you can own. But they’re worthless if you don’t know how to perform them on your site.

It requires digging into various data points and discovering what they mean. Then, you need to determine what metrics matter for your site’s performance and overall strategy.

With the right data, you can make informed business decisions, improve acquisition and retention, and ultimately grow a loyal following.

Sounds like a long, complex process — but it’s not in the proper direction.

Key Takeaways

  •  Consumers demand personalized experiences by measuring and analyzing your data you can learn about your customers and provide memorable experiences that encourage their return.
  • For an e-commerce site, identify patterns from digital sessions and perform deep analysis to understand visitor and customer behavior such as their shopping habit,  store’s checkout experience, and Point-of-sale (POS) data.
  • Focus on key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to find data that uncovers opportunities and boosts conversions.

Why Analyze Your E-Commerce Site?

Experts expect the number of online shoppers will reach 2.14 billion this year. By 2022, the e-commerce industry will double in size. So, you can’t rely on guesswork to know your e-commerce site’s performance.

You need a deep understanding of your digital customers and how to connect with them. But how?

By measuring and analyzing your data. Today’s consumers demand personalized experiences. If you can’t provide that, they’ll happily run off to a competitor. With the right data, you can learn about your customers and provide memorable experiences that encourage their return.

So, by analyzing your site’s data, you can:

  • Get a clear direction for your next move
  • Create products customers will love
  • Forecast and plan for inventory
  • Eliminate headaches around order fulfillment
  • Present opportunities for cross-selling and upselling to customers
  • Identify how to maximize ad spends

What Tools Will You Need To Analyze Your Site Properly?

To analyze the performance of a brick-and-mortar store — hire a third party to uncover, report, and analyze:

  • Shopping habits
  • Your store’s checkout experience
  • Point-of-sale (POS) data

For an e-commerce site, grabbing similar statistics isn’t as clear-cut because you don’t have physical shoppers to observe. Instead, you’re identifying patterns from digital sessions and performing deep analysis to understand visitor and customer behavior.

Fortunately, several tools offer the same level of transparency, so you can understand your site from your visitors’ perspective. Here’s a look at several.

Heat Maps

Screenshot of a page that is displaying product information for a Canon printer with a heat map over the page.

What do you do when you can’t make sense of the numbers and data you get from the traditional analysis methods? Use heat maps.

A heat map visualizes how site visitors engage with your website using color-coded overlays. These splotches identify mouse clicks, taps, and scrolls. The warmer colors mean users click here often. The cooler colors represent areas clicked, but not as often.

In the above example, you see users click on the areas they’re reading. It appears the third paragraph receives the most attention.

The tool puts data into context so you can:

  • See what elements attract users’ attention and what they miss entirely
  • Learn where they stop scrolling, what they ignore, and where they leave
  • Analyze their behavior before and after you release any changes
  • Compare their behavior based on the device they’re on

It’s a great tool to understand what’s happening when people visit your site. For example, Time4sleep — an online retailer of beds and bedroom furniture — used heat maps and achieved a mobile conversion rate of 63%.

Session Replays

You want actionable insights — not static data like page visits, duration, and button clicks. If you want to get dynamic, then implement session replays.

This shows anonymized user interactions with the pages on your site.

You can also see users’:

  • Movements from point A to point B (C, D, and F)
  • Mouse hovers, movements, taps, and clicks
  • Challenges like website bugs or blockers as they explore your site

On-site Surveys

Homepage poll with 2 out of 73 responses shown.

A traditional website analysis provides data about where people exit the sales funnel. For instance, cart abandonment rates and pages with higher-than-normal drop-off rates.

Why is this happening? On-site surveys or polls can answer this question.

Using one, you can ask questions like:

  • “What topic would you like to see us write about next?”
  • “What other information would you like on this page?”
  • “Did you find what you were looking for?”

It gives specific feedback about the actions visitors take on your site. You can also track and analyze the customer experience through numerical-based surveys like:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey: Tracks the likelihood customers will recommend your product or brand and spread the word about you. For instance, if you sell ground coffee on your site, you can ask “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our coffee to a friend?”
Survey question with a scale of 1-10 to rate the question.
Source: MeasuringU
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey: Evaluates customer satisfaction throughout the buyer’s journey. This gives a broad view of how people feel at various touchpoints during the process.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES) survey: Measures how much effort customers need to complete specific goals on your site, like making a purchase or getting feedback through customer support. Here’s how Nicereply uses CES surveys:
Nicereply survey question with rankings from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree.
Source: Nicereply

Feedback Widgets

If you don’t know why site visitors behave the way they do, how can you make improvements?

Let’s say, your analytics show mass drop-offs on a product page or an increase in abandoned shopping carts. This data isn’t actionable or insightful enough to base decisions on. Feedback widgets enable customers to share candid input about your website.

Product page for a printer with a feedback widget in the bottom right corner.

Adding feedback widgets to your e-commerce site helps you:

  • Hear customers’ concerns directly and in real-time
  • Study performance trends
  • Better understand conversion rate fluctuations
  • Know precisely what you need to do to create a better experience

Market Research

Want to know your audience better? Market research provides the data to:

  • Improve your product design and user experience
  • Reach quality leads
  • Increase conversions

User Personas and Psychographics

Personas and psychographics reveal traits and characteristics about your visitors. For instance, their goals, values, desires, lifestyle choices, and interests. Use this to learn their priorities and create a user journey based on their needs.

Usability Testing

Most purchases on e-commerce websites happen through the online interface. Poor usability can throw prospects away from your site and drive them toward your competitors.

Performing usability tests examines your site’s design and functionality so you can:

  • See how people react to challenges they face in the buyer’s journey
  • Resolve issues related to user experience
  • Boost customer satisfaction
  • Increase customer retention
  • Improve churn rates
  • Drive more sales

What to Look for During Your Analysis

The volume of data you uncover when analyzing your e-commerce site can be overwhelming. The good news is that you only need to focus on key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). With narrowed focus, you can find data that uncovers opportunities and boosts conversions.

Here are the metrics to focus on:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors
  • Reach: Number of people ― subscribers or followers ― who saw your content on digital platforms like email or social media
  • Impressions: Number of times people saw your content
  • Engagement: Number of people who engage with your content
  • Search volume and keyword rankings: Show you where to focus your ad spend and make it easier for people to find you
  • Click-through rate (CTR): Percentage of users who click on your links after viewing it
  • Cost per lead (CPL): Average cost of generating new business leads from your marketing efforts
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): Average cost of acquiring one customer
  • Sales conversion rate: Proportion of visitors who make a purchase on your site to the total number of visitors
  • Average order value: Average amount spent when a customer places an order on your site
  • Cart abandonment rate: Proportion of orders completed to the total number of orders started
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): Amount of money you can reasonably expect from one customer throughout the business relationship
  • Customer retention rate: Percentage of customers you keep over a period
  • Churn rate: Percentage of customers you’ve lost over a specific period
  • Net promoter score: Customers’ willingness to recommend your product or service to others
  • Bounce rate: Percentage of people who land on your site and leave without meaningful interaction

How to Perform Your Analysis With Quick Examples

If you’ve never analyzed your e-commerce website, then use these steps:

  • Set goals: Without goals, your strategy is blind. There’s no way to attribute success to any of your campaigns. So make your goals S.M.A.R.T. — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. For example, reaching 1,000 new people on Facebook by the end of the quarter.
Google Analytics dashboard with an ecommerce overview displayed.
Source: Digital
  • Gather relevant data: Use Google Analytics and other tools to identify what’s working and what isn’t in your strategy. For example, if you want to improve your link-building strategy, analyze your traffic sources, and get data that will identify which strategies deliver the best outcomes.
  • Analyze user reports: Keep tabs on purchase and search history. Then, use the data to send personalized emails with coupons on those or similar items. For instance, if you notice they like watching product videos before buying focus on more video production.
  • Automate e-commerce dashboards: Automation saves time and minimizes mistakes. Plus, it reduces reporting time so you can focus on analysis and insights.
  • Make adjustments: What did you learn from your analyses? Use the insights to improve current and future campaigns. Then, repeat the process — set goals, gather data, analyze it, and reiterate.

Get Better Insights for Your E-Commerce Site

Analytics are confusing. But only if you don’t know what to look for and why. With the right goals and strategy, you can create campaigns that drive traffic, conversions, and revenue.

The next step is to continue learning about e-commerce analytics and how to improve your results. The best way to do that’s to experiment. What better way to do so than with analytics software. Here’s a look at our list of best e-commerce platforms that comes with built-in analytics tools to help you get better insights for your e-commerce site.

Scroll to Top