Why You Should Scale Your Shopify Store With Data-Driven Decisions
In eCommerce, guesswork does not work. To take your digital store to the next level, you should base decisions on data, not speculation. Valuable data requires analytics, and setting that up may seem daunting! It's not. All it takes is some basic knowledge and application.
In this guide, we'll show you how to add Google Analytics to your Shopify store and how you can use it to drive conversions. We'll also compare Shopify Analytics with Google Analytics and share the basics of heat map tracking with you. Are you ready to level up your store? Let's begin with the basics!
What is Shopify Analytics?
Shopify created a built-in dashboard with data that helps online store owners understand their eCommerce shop's performance and see where they can improve it. It offers 100% accurate data from every event in the store. It records data at every step of the customer journey and makes it available to the store owner.
It is a single source of true data and ideal for metrics like new and returning customers and average order value.
Some of the questions answered by Shopify Analytics are:
- Where are shoppers coming from?
- How many products were sold in the past week?
- What are the most popular products?
- What's the average order value?
- Which marketing channel is generating the highest ROI?
What is Google Analytics?
Google created a free online analytics service to help online store owners to monitor traffic and conversions. It's an essential tool for anyone who wants to run a successful digital business. Store owners carry out marketing campaigns with ads on social media platforms and Google. They can team up with influencers and set up affiliate programs - there are so many options!
The question is, how do they know if these campaigns pay off? And, importantly, which channels are the ones that bring in the most conversions for the lowest advertising cost? With Google Analytics, it's easy. It allows you to get a bird's-eye view of all your marketing campaigns and sales funnels. You can compare them and determine where you should be investing.
Google Analytics is the place to go if you want answers to questions like:
- Who visits your site?
- Are these visitors quality visitors?
- What are the most visited pages?
- Where does my traffic come from?
- What's my bounce rate?
Shopify Analytics vs. Google Analytics
If you're wondering which analytics to choose, the answer is both! Shopify Analytics gives you an excellent overview of your store's performance. You can get a ton of data without having to configure any data reports. It's also convenient because it's already integrated into your account.
However, you'll need Google Analytics to drill down deeper into metrics like sources of traffic. So, if you want to know more details about how customers discovered your store, Google is the way to go. It has robust tracking and offers several ways to analyze visitors.
You'll see whether your shoppers use mobile devices or computers and tweak your shop's UX accordingly. You'll be able to segment potential shoppers into funnels and develop more efficient marketing campaigns. Google Analytics is free to use and simple to integrate with Shopify. We think it's a match made in heaven!
The biggest drawback to Google Analytics is that it's more complex to use than Shopify Analytics. It means it can feel a little intimidating for those new to digital marketing. To make it easier, we've created this guide.
How to Set up Google Analytics for Shopify
Use this step-by-step guide on setting up Google Analytics for your Shopify store.
Step 1 - Create a Google Account for Your Store
You can create a new account or use your existing Gmail business account. It's best to keep your personal email account separate from your business account.
Step 2 - Create an Analytics Account
There are two different types; Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4, the latest Analytics. It includes features like AI-powered product demand predictions, cross-device measurement, etc. Click here to set it up.
Step 3 - Check if You've Already Enabled Analytics
It's critical to make sure Analytics is only enabled once. Otherwise, you will get inaccurate information on how your store is performing.
To do this:
- Go to Shopify admin, click on Online Store, click on Preferences. If the Google Analytics box is empty, you're good to go! If it contains a code that starts with UA, you've already enabled it.
If you haven't enabled Analytics, go to Step 4. Otherwise, skip to Step 5!
Step 4 - Enable Google Analytics
Follow these steps:
- Sign in to your Google Analytics account using your store's Gmail account.
- Navigate to Account Data Sharing Settings and check the relevant boxes.
- Navigate to Property setup.
- Enter a Property name (your store's name), select your time zone and currency.
- Click Next and accept the Terms of Service Agreement.
- Select your email notification preferences.
- Select Data Streams from the left and Web on the right.
- Enter your store's URL and store name.
- Click Create.
- You'll see an area called 'Global Site Tag' halfway down - copy the tracking code from here.
- Open Shopify admin in a new tab.
- Navigate to Online Store and click Actions, then click Edit code.
- On the left, under Layout, select theme.liquid.
- Please navigate to the <head> tag and paste the code underneath it.
- For Shopify Plus, navigate to all of the other pages. Find the <head> tag, and paste the code below it in all of them. Please note that you shouldn't do this on your checkout pages.
- Click Save.
It should be activated in a minute or two!
Tip: Google Analytics will only begin to show you data once you've removed the password from your Shopify store, so you'll have to be live!
Now you've set up Google Analytics, what's next? Here are some tips to get the most out of it for your store.
Tips on Using Google Analytics for Shopify
One of the most important things to remember when using Google Analytics is not to use it just for the sake of analyzing things. Having the data and not using it correctly won't help you increase sales in your store.
You have to make Analytics work for you by asking specific questions and comparing the answers over time, and changing circumstances. Here's how:
Who Are Your Customers?
Determine who your ideal customers are and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly with these steps:
- Demographics - Become familiar with your demographics. In your Google Analytics dashboard, navigate to Audience, Demographics, Overview. You'll see which gender and age group mostly visit your store. Compare this data over different periods to determine which demographics are most interested in your shop, and change your marketing campaigns to suit them.
- Targeting - When you look at Interest Reports, you'll learn your audience's interests. It could help you change your marketing material to attract and cross-target potential customers. For example, if you're selling health food products but notice that some of your visitors are into exercise, you could do a photoshoot of people wearing activewear using your products. It may trigger their attention.
- Geographic locations - By keeping track of where your best-paying customers live, you can run more targeted marketing campaigns in the area. You could even scale your business by finding suppliers closer to this target market to lower delivery times.
- Devices - If you get more traffic from desktop users, but your conversion rate is higher among mobile users, it may mean that your mobile UX is better. It could mean that you'll have more conversions if you improve your desktop UX!
How do Visitors Behave in Your Store?
Click Behavior and then Overview to see a general overview of visitors' behavior on your site. Or, you could see metrics for various product pages by clicking Behavior, Site Content, Landing Pages. It will help you evaluate which pages need attention from you. The metrics you should look at include:
- Pageviews - How many pages are viewed, repeated views of a single page, etc.
- Session - This is the interactions that happen during a specific time frame—for example, page views, transactions, newsletter subscriptions, etc.
- Unique pageviews - A unique pageview is how many sessions in which a visitor viewed a specific page at least once. Several visits to the same page would count as one unique page view.
- Average time on a page - How long visitors stay on a specific page or set of pages, on average.
- Bounce rate - How often visitors click on a page and navigate away from it without taking any action. A bounce has a duration of 0 seconds since the user didn't trigger any requests that will allow Google to calculate the session's length.
- Exit - How many people exit a specific page or set of pages when they view it.
- Transactions - How many completed purchases shoppers make on the site.
- Revenue - This is the total revenue the site made.
- eCommerce conversion rate - The conversion rate is the percentage of sessions that resulted in a purchase.
With this information, you'll be able to take action to improve your store. For example, if your bounce rate is high on a page, you lose potential conversions. To lower it, check the following on the page with the high bounce rate:
- Is the information about the product clear?
- Is the product well-positioned on the page?
- Are your photos of high quality?
- Do you have positive reviews and ratings for the product?
- Does the page load fast?
- Is it easy to navigate?
Are you Reaching Your Business Goals?
Before you begin to analyze the data you get from Google Analytics, it's vital to know what you want to achieve. Write down your business goals for your Shopify store. Your goals can be long-term or short-term; the important thing is that they are specific, measurable, achievable, and have a clear time frame.
Here are some examples of good goals:
- To increase conversions from Instagram ads by 7% by July
- To increase traffic from women in New York by 12% by August
- To grow your email list by 10% by June
All these goals are measurable with Google Analytics, so you'll know if you're going in the right direction.
It's also essential to set Shopify goals and funnels to help you understand how customers arrive at purchase decisions and what prevents them from buying. From the moment a shopper lands on your website, they take specific actions. As the store owner, your goal should be to make sure these actions lead to conversions; therefore you will likely want shoppers to:
- Add items to their cart
- Add related items to the cart
- Give you their email addresses
- Complete the purchase
Google Analytics maps the journey that leads to these actions, allowing you to see the process. This path is called a funnel, and you should have goals to make it as simple as possible for shoppers.
Analyzing the path your shoppers take will give you valuable information. For example, if they abandon their carts at the checkout page, it could mean your shipping rates are higher than expected or that your checkout system is too complex. This information allows you to make changes that will boost conversions.
With these tips and some practice, you'll soon get the hang of using Google Analytics with a Shopify store. Next, we'll explore how to use Shopify Analytics.
How to Set up and Use Shopify Analytics
You'll be happy to know that Shopify Analytics is a lot simpler to use than Google Analytics! To access it, log into your Shopify admin account and navigate to Analytics and then Dashboards. You'll see several dashboards where you'll find different types of information. Here are some of the most useful dashboards you should begin with:
In the Overview dashboard, you'll see a comparison between data from the previous day and the current day and information about your store's performance and shoppers' behaviors. You can change the date range and access valuable metrics like:
- Where store visitors are coming from.
- Top landing pages.
- Recent sales.
- Total orders.
- Average order value.
- Top products by units sold.
- Online conversion rate.
- Sessions by device type and location.
- Performance of sales channels.
- Repeat customer rate.
- Sales that are attributed to traffic driven by marketing.
You can get more detailed information about each metric through this dashboard. Shopify reports are divided into categories depending on the type of information they contain. The type of report you can access depends on your Shopify subscription plan.
If you have a live Shopify store, you'll see a real-time view of its activities. It includes a map of the world where you can see where the activity is coming from and key metrics to give you up-to-the-minute information.
You can use this feature to track everything happening in your store and sales from all channels. It's instrumental during major shopping seasons like the December holidays and Black Friday. It will give you excellent insight into the results of your promotions and marketing campaigns during these times.
Tips on Using Shopify Analytics
With Shopify Analytics, you can get answers to critical questions about your store. With this information, you will be able to create a data-driven analytics system for your store so you can measure its performance against KPIs over time. It will help you make smart decisions about your website and marketing campaigns. Here are some tips to action this:
Grow Sales With the Acquisitions Report
You can use the Shopify Acquisitions report to see where visitors come from. The report focuses on three things:
- Sessions over time - This shows how many visitors and sessions you have in your store in a time range. Comparing data over different periods will help you spot trends and amend advertising and marketing campaign timing accordingly.
- Sessions by referrer - This is where visitors come from before they arrive at your store. It shows whether they arrive at your store directly through a search or if they were referred. It's a more in-depth report than what you get from the Shopify dashboard and will help you know which sources are high performers. You could also experiment with new sources and track results.
- Sessions by location - This shows which countries visitors are from. If you use social media advertising, you can target specific countries based on the information you get from this report. It can also help you formulate advertising material that incorporates cultural references and appropriate images.
You'll also see which products are selling, which ones are returned, and who your best customers are. It will help you focus on tightening product lines and catering to customers who spend money in your store.
Understand your Customers With the Behavior Report
If you focus on people's actions in your store and how they interact, you can better target your marketing efforts. This report covers:
- Top online store searches - When you look at what shoppers search for in your store, you can use the information to adjust product titles and descriptions. It will help them find what they're looking for quicker.
- Top online store searches with no results - If you know what shoppers searched for that didn't get results; you can better understand product demand. You can extend your product range or change product titles and descriptions accordingly.
- Sessions by landing page - How many sessions started with a specific landing page on your site. It will help you see which pages are working for you to fix them. This report is also helpful if you compare pages to see which one performs better.
- Online store conversions over time - The percentage of visitors that make a purchase in a specific period. You can use this information to determine where a shopper drops off in your funnel and do something to change that behavior.
This covers the basics of using data from Google Analytics and Shopify Analytics for your Shopify store. As you gain more experience, you could explore more ways to get the data you need to drive conversions and scale your Shopify store.
Next, we'll take a deep dive into Google Analytics Heatmap tracking and why you should use it in your Shopify store.