This is Chapter 9 in our free How to Sell Online Ebook. You will also find other tips, methods, 
and tools that you can use to grow your own business in the other chapters. Enjoy!

You may have missed: The best options on how to deliver your products by cutting down supply chain wastage, managing customer returns, and automating your order orchestration in Chapter 8.

Few years ago, marketers and sellers are onerously poring over several data spreadsheets, manually going through row after row to figure out trends and insights. Today, instead of manually processing data, eCommerce analytics technology makes it possible to interact with data in a natural dialogue so everyone can get coherent answers and make immediate decisions.

With eCommerce analytics, you have access to vast information, but data on its own doesn’t get you that far. How you transform your data into actionable insights will make the difference. But, what eCommerce analytics metrics do you have to track, measure, and transform? What available eCommerce analytics platforms can make your life easier by running analysis in a secure and fast environment?

To leverage on analytics’ 1209% ROI, we have curated the analytics metrics that suit perfectly for online stores. Analytics can be complex and confusing with many types of metrics, but basically they fall into 3 stages in the customer’s journey: Traffic, Conversion, and Retention. Let’s see what types of eCommerce analytics metrics really matter in measuring the quality of your traffic.


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Stage 1: Traffic

Buyer’s Journeys: Awareness and Interest

Shoppers have arrived at your eCommerce store, now what? The following analytics metrics will help you take advantage of your site traffic when shoppers become aware of your store and show interest on your products.

1 –  Visitor Frequency Analysis

Visitor frequency specifies the total number of visits made by a user on your online store. By using this metric, you can identify the rate of new users and the returning visitors. Since new users have new users have different mindsets compared to returning ones, analyzing how they behave separately can help you craft a better campaign suited for each of the segment’s needs.

Recommended Tools: Google Analytics’ New vs Returning report segments visitor frequency type instantly with a dashboard of pre-configured eCommerce metrics. You can also use Adobe Analytics’ Visit Number Report.

Putting it into action: Let’s use the New vs Returning report. If you don’t own a Google Analytics platform yet, you can set up a free demo account to experience it.

1 – Go to Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning. It will show you a dashboard like below.

New and Return customers in GA

2 – Pay attention to three sections: Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. These sections will help you unlock data opportunities.

Use GA to compare new and return customers

Best Practices: Target new and returning visitors differently. Follow some best practices in visitor frequency analysis below:

1 – Capture new visitors right away. If you have high bounce rate and low average session duration, why not capture new visitors the moment they arrive at your store? Create an entrance popup asking for their email address so you can send relevant contents even after they bounce away.

email popup with Better Coupon Box

Slide Belts has an entrance coupon popup built with Better Coupon Box app to capture first-time visitor’s email address.

2 – Delight and reward your returning visitors. If you see that your returning visitors make up more than half of your total revenue, make sure to continuously meet and exceed your their expectations. Send them a reward coupon for loyal customers via email to make them come back and make repeat purchase with you.

reward email from mailbot

The Jewelry Lady store uses Mailbot app to create an automated reward coupon campaign that sends a reward coupon code to return customers who have made at least 2 orders.

2 –  Marketing Channel Analysis

Marketing channels are various groupings of your online traffic sources. Depending on the tools you are using, the channels are most commonly group as Direct, Organic Search, Paid Search or Referrals.

Setting up a marketing channel analytics will allow you to quickly identify where your target market is. Think about it, just because a channel is highly dense doesn’t mean that it is the most strategic location to put all your promotional efforts.

Recommended Tools: Google Analytics’ Channel Report gives you an overview of your marketing channel’s performance in terms of behavior and conversion. GinzaMetrics has an interactive Marketing Channel Performance dashboard.

Putting it into action:  The Channel Report from Google Analytics has a straightforward dashboard.

1 – Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. A dashboard similar to the one below will appear.

measure channels in GA

2 – You can deep-dive with each of the channel to reveal the sources that contributed to the channel’s performance.

GA channels report in

Best Practices: Conduct real-time monitoring of your promotional campaigns to understand the next actions. Some actions and insights to consider when using marketing channel analysis.

1 – Cut or Revamp. If a channel is not meeting your goals, either modify your strategy for that channel or remove it right away. Just because a channel is popular means that it is also a good investment for you.

2 – Understand your triumph. You need to analyze why a specific channel returns the highest conversion. Is it because of the audience demographics or the campaign you ran? Take those strengths and apply them to your underperforming or promising and promising channels.

3 –  Site Search Analysis

Site search analysis gives you a grasp of how your visitors use your online store’s search function, which terms they have entered, and how your search results lead into engagement.

It will enable you to manage your search term associations and search-based merchandising rules effectively. You can adjust relevancy settings, influence search result orders to boost specific products and overall improve your shoppers’ search experience.

Recommended Tools: Google Analytics’ has a Site Search capability to understand what your visitors are looking for. IBM Digital Analytics also offers an On-Site Search report.

Best Practices: Search terms will give you a glimpse on the needs and wants of your customers. Follow some of the best practices to site search analysis below:

1 – Identify underperforming terms and fine tune them accordingly. Identify which search terms do not add up to your conversions. Once identified, fine tune your search results to correlate the rightful offers to the searched term.


FootSmart used IBM Digital Analytics’ On-Site Search report. They began monitoring underperforming search terms and fine tuning their site search to return more relevant results. The initiative resulted in an 82% conversion improvement in just 6 months of implementation.

2 – Uncover new product ideas. On-site search term analytics will also tell you what your visitors cannot find in your store. For example, if you are an online flower shop and you received a thousand of searches for “red tulips” but you are currently not selling them, it tells you that it might be worth trying the idea of selling red tulips to take advantage of this unlocked opportunity.

Stage 2: Conversion

Buyer’s Journeys: Consideration, Purchase

Getting a high traffic but no one is buying? In this stage, we have the eCommerce analytics metrics that will guide you in successfully converting your shoppers who are currently considering to buy or about to make a purchase.

4 –  Funnel Performance Analysis

In a Funnel Performance analysis, you are looking at your visitor’s progression through the various stages of conversion, starting from product page views, add-to-cart sessions, check-out sessions, and ultimately converted transactions.

Because shoppers’ behaviors are complex undertakings, we will be focusing our efforts on three funnel performance metrics that are closer to conversion:

  • No Cart Addition Rate: Percentage of visitors who had product view sessions but did not add any item to their cart.
  • Cart Abandonment Rate: Percentage of visitors who added items to their carts but left the site without proceeding to checkout.
  • Checkout Abandonment Rate: Percentage of visitors who have gone through the checkout process but did not continue the purchase.

Recommended Tools: The above metrics can be tracked using Google Analytics’ Shopping Behavior Analysis which beautifully views them into a single dashboard or alternatively use KissMetrics Marketing Funnel.

shopping behavior analysis

To view above dashboard using Google Analytics, go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Shopping Behavior.

Best Practices: Let’s dissect each of the funnel performance metrics by understanding what possibly constitutes non-conversions and how you can decrease high abandonment rates in the future.

1 – No Cart Addition Rate: If you have a high number of visitors checking product pages but aren’t adding items to their carts, it might be rooted from the poor product description or overall ineffective product page. Make sure to redesign your product page by monitoring how your visitors scroll and click when they are browsing your site. Use eye tracking software such as Cool Tool or CrazyEgg to do this. You can also start implementing the best practices to an effective product page.

2 – Cart Abandonment Rate: If shoppers are leaving after adding products to their carts, this might indicate the various reasons why shoppers leave their carts such as unexpected shipping costs, long shipping time, comparison shopping, expensive price, or complicated navigation. If you are near or above the 68% shopping cart abandonment, you need to examine the reason why and create a plan to prevent this from happening.

exit intent popup

A proven way to combat shopping cart abandonment is using exit-intent popups. Exit-intent technology happens when a visitor is just about to leave your site a popup message will appear convincing the visitor to take an action such as cart completion. You can use Better Coupon Box tool to create responsive exit-intent popups on both desktop and mobile devices.

3 – Checkout Abandonment Rate: If users abandon during the checkout process, you may have unnecessary steps or last-minute surprises like high shipping costs that shoppers are not expecting. The possibilities are endless, that is why Google Analytics created a separate in-depth report to help you analyze this problem using the Checkout Behavior Analysis.

The Checkout Behavior Analysis visualizes the progression of users through each of the steps of the checkout process. For example, if you observe that most of the shoppers leave at the first stage of the checkout process where account registration is required, you might want to consider adding a guest checkout option. The various reasons to checkout abandonment, so make sure you apply the best practices to effective checkout design to improve your checkout performance.

simple guest checkout

To prevent Checkout Abandonment due to required account registration, Havaianas has an alternative “Checkout as Guest” option.

5 –  Product Performance Analysis

Analyzing individual product performances is a crucial stage in the conversion funnel. How many times was a product viewed or added to someone’s cart? What products are not performing as expected? With these information, you can see which products gained enough traction to put on your trending list. You can also check which products need new marketing promotions.

Recommended Tool: Google’s Product Performance Analysis provides valuable insights as to how visitors are engaging with your products and the overall purchases made for your individual merchandises. The dashboard below can be generated by going to Conversions > Ecommerce > Product Performance.

google product performance

The more interesting portions of the report are the following:

  • Cart-to-Detail Rate: Product adds divided by product detail views
  • Buy-to-Detail Rate: Unique purchases divided by product detail views

detailed report by GA

Best Practices: You can use the Cart-to-Detail and Buy-to-Detail rates to understand if your product pages did encourage users to add the product to their carts or see if your cart design influenced shoppers to complete the purchase.

For example, if you have 80% Cart-to-Detail rate but your Buy-to-Detail rate dropped to 10%, it tells you that you that something in your cart or checkout process is preventing your shoppers to complete the purchase. They could have last moment realization that they want another product instead of the one on their shopping cart or possibly the shipping cost is just too high.

Zappos example


Zappos’ shopping cart drives up average order value by recommending more products that the customer might be interested in. It also highlights strategies to keep the customer interested with free shipping. Suggested tool for you to implement cart recommendations as Zappo: Personalized Recommendation app.

Stage 3: Retention

Buyer’s Journeys: Use, Advocacy

The retention stage will provide you with the right eCommerce analytics metrics to ensure that your product purchasers are encouraged for repeat purchase and product advocacy.

6 –  User Retention Analysis

User retention analysis allows you to identify the group of individuals who returned to your online store for the nth time (day, week, month). By analyzing when your customers first visited your shop and the next time they’ve arrived at your online store again, you can unlock patterns and trends which will give you meaningful insights as to what course of actions you need to employ.

Recommended Tool: Using Google Analytics’ Cohort Analysis, you can segment your visitors from their acquisition date and then subsequently check their User Retention rate. The user retention rate is the number of users in a specific group who returned in the nth period of time divided by the total number of users in that group.

acquisition and retention report

Putting it into practice: If we analyze the data above, you can unlock trend on the returning purchasers’ behavior. The densest days of returning purchasers are Day1 and Day 2. This means that recent buyers are more likely to return on the first and second day after they made a purchase. To take advantage of this situation, you need to create a campaign that encourages them to return even more so. For instance, give them a discount deal that can be redeemed only within two days.

Lazada shipping email

To keep the engagement alive, Lazada sets up a triggered campaign by emailing the delivery status of a recently ordered product. Within that email, new products are being promoted to prompt customers to return to the site.

7– Social Influencer Analysis

Social influencer analysis helps you track individuals who can inspire action to a certain community. Influencers are generally common individuals with huge social media following. Once tapped, these influencers can amplify your contents, increase product awareness, and overall act as your brand ambassador advocating positive impact to your store. In fact, influencer marketing generates 37% higher retention rate compared to other acquisition channels.

Recommended Tool: Buzzsumo has Influencer Analysis tool to help you find the key influencers to promote your content. The tool is easy to use with the following key features:


  • Filter by Type: You can easily filter the type of influencer you are looking for such as bloggers, journalists, regular people or existing influencer.
  • Filter by Location: To better suit your brand, you can also filter your results by location like city or country.
  • Understand the level of influence: Decide who is the right influencer for you by the influencer’s authority, the number of followers, retweet ratio, reply ratio etc.

eCommerce Analytics Made Easy

eCommerce Analytics, in itself, is a huge and complex undertaking. Focusing on what really matters to your store like the proven analysis above coupled with the right eCommerce analytics platforms to use can save you a lot of time and effort. But, remember that data won’t get you anywhere if you don’t start interpreting it and transforming data insights into tangible actions.

What’s next in Chapter 10: Learn how your online store can sustain customer loyalty by understanding the motivations, and the actions and strategies needed to retain customers.