Oct 2014

Digital data has contributed a lot in the remarkable growth of online retail. It has recorded an overall year on year growth of 30% in 2013 with Google Analytics, giving valuable insights into shopper behaviour, thereby allowing retailers to take smart decisions. The rapid increase in needs have resulted in retailers demanding more sophisticated and comprehensive tools that will facilitate better understanding of product performance and shopper behaviour.

Google understands that smaller retailers cannot afford to have a dedicated data analyst, while generating and running effective reports have always been challenging for many online retailers. It seems that Google has recognized the needs of today’s marketers who are more interested in the big picture in order to comprehend the entire customer journey with an eye on the product performance and have equipped the Enhanced Ecommerce platform with game changing tools and features. Ecommerce sales have recorded average conversion rate being less than 3% and small changes in product strategy can have huge impact on sales.

A New Perspective
Google Analytics has been fortified with the latest upgrade of Enhanced Ecommerce that has resulted in complete revamp of the ecommerce analytics. As the name implies, retailers will now have deeper insights into pre purchase customer behaviour and product performance. This is a major shift from the traditional focus on purchase behavior that revolved around product details, transaction details, etc. The slew of new metrics and reports that accompanies the update, makes the products more central in analyzing sales and revenue.

The changes
The retailers will now be able to track customer behaviour continuously during the period of their engagement with any online store. They will be able to find out what the customers do while looking at the products. The manner of customer interaction with online marketing and merchandising units will be now revealed by using Enhanced Ecommerce features. This will give a clear picture about shopper behaviour and conversion.

Store owners will now be able to monitor the progress of the visitors in the sales funnel, what products are viewed, where they are viewed, when they are put into the carts, the working process checkout and can also identify the point where they drop off. The new analytics will monitor customer behaviour in a way as if they are under CCTV surveillance in a virtual store!

Meaningful Insights
The overall scope of Google Analytics has undergone a significant change, as it reveals more about customer behaviour and provides a method for measuring the effectiveness of marketing activities that goes much beyond the mundane transactional data. A series of funnel based reports have been presented in the Enhanced Ecommerce platform that will provide tremendous insight concerning the following:

  • Which products are well converted and which are frequently abandoned highlighting the product ID dimension.
  • Identify the drop off point where customers wither away in the shopping funnel.
  • Creation of data rich user segments that will enable to uncover new dimensions of the shopping experience of customers.
  • Measurement of the impact of products and product lists on user engagement by creating custom product lists and product landing pages.
  • Evaluate the performance of online promotions and devise action plan.

Enhanced Ecommerce features
The features of Enhanced Ecommerce centers around 3  major areas.

  1. Purchase and shopping behaviour – The way the users engage with your content with regards to product viewing, adding or removing them from shopping carts as well as initiating, completing or abandoning transactions are all captured in the Shopping Analysis reports.
  2. Product performance – The revenue generated by the products and the corresponding conversion rates are captured by the Overview and Product Performance reports The data will reveal the number of products included in the average transactions, refunds issued and  the average order value. It will also show up the rates at which the users add products to the carts and the rate of making purchases from the time the product was viewed on the product detail page.
  3. Success of merchandising – The Affiliate code report will help to track transactions, revenue and average order value associated with the affiliate sites. Similar metrics can be tracked for order level coupons that are reflected in the Order Coupon report. The Product coupon report will display the effectiveness of product level coupons with respect to unique purchase, revenue and product revenue per purchase. The details of sales generated from internal promotions like internal banners, can be tracked for views, clicks and the CTR or click through rate by using the Internal Promotion report.

Tailor made funnels
Creation of customizable funnels is the most important functionality of Enhanced Ecommerce. These funnels can be created from customer behaviour within your site by combining product views, transactions, behaviour and events to measure, in a better way, the transactional performance of the store. You can cross refere the new funnels with traditional reports of Google Analytics and determine whether your visitors drop off before registering and also know if customers from different regions are behaving differently.  The group of customers who you identify as drop-outs can be especially targeted for remarketing efforts.

Focus on Products
The Enhanced Ecommerce reports are data driven and are actionable reports. For example –

  • You can get the number of visitors who have viewed which products in your store.
  • How many visitors added or removed a product from their shopping cart.
  • You get the number of transactions that have been completed and how many have been cancelled.
  • Conversions at the product level can be tracked including average order value and refunds that have been done.

These reports will be very useful to identify the products that are underperforming and find out ways of making them perform better. The reports will help you to focus your attention at the right place for improving your bottom line, which is the ultimate goal of all exercises that you undertake.

Advanced reporting options
To give more flexibility to the users, Enhanced Ecommerce features include advanced reporting options. It is possible to generate reports that will enable you to monitor the performance of any specific brand in your store. In case you have any unique data requirements, you will also be able to generate custom reports. Tracking of onsite advertising to keep a tab on click through rate on banner advertisements is also possible. Those participating in affiliate network can generate reports on transactions, traffic, coupon redemptions and revenue generated by affiliates.

New reports
The following new reports have been included in Enhanced Ecommerce:

Checkout behaviour report – The checkout rate that is captured tells the percentage of abortive purchase where customers do not complete the purchase despite adding a product to the cart.



Shopping behavior reports – The performance of the entire purchase funnel is assessed by this report that includes tracking of the complete user experience starting from product views.


Coupon and affiliate marketing report – Transactions against coupons and conversions obtained through affiliate marketing can be tracked and reported by using this module.

Product list performance report – The list performance reports that have been included in the Enhanced Ecommerce enables you to measure the sales impact of product grouping by using the dimensions  like product list name and product list position.


Product performance report – This report allows you to take a granular look at the individual products in your sales funnel and ascertain their performance. The report can be viewed in two different modes – sales performance and visitor behavior. The sales performance view includes parameters like quantity and revenue whereas the visitor behavior view focuses on product views and cart activities.


Implementing Enhanced Ecommerce
To start using Enhanced Ecommerce you will have to make the following changes:

Site review – In the upgraded version of Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce, the focus of attention has now shifted to the product. Therefore, you will have to conduct a thorough review of your site from the product perspective instead of the page perspective. Identify the important elements in your shopping funnel and think of how to group the product sets.

More Meta data – Merchants will now be working with new extensions and will be able to directly upload the information.

Tagging updates – For tracking of new dimensions in Enhanced Ecommerce, you will have to transmit them in tags or the information may be added to your data layer.

Import feature
With everything said about the revolutionary update of Google Analytics that has been presented as Enhanced Ecommerce, arguably the most important feature is the Import Feature that allows import of product data into Google Analytics from your ecommerce platform directly. To see the data captured in the reports, you will have to implement Universal Analytics on your site. The site has to be tagged using ec.js plug in and then switch on the individual view of Enhanced Ecommerce.

Make use of the versatile tool that is now at your disposal and give your Ecommerce venture the much-needed boost that can take your business to new heights.

Sanchit Mendiratta

Sanchit is a Partner at Happy Marketer.