Improving Your Online Shop Using WooCommerce Analytics

sam hollis

Sam Hollis is a Web Designer, Business Owner, Dad,  Digital Marketing Expert and Podcaster

‘I’m always happy to chat and advice is always free’

Winston Churchill said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

As with all the best quotes, if fits as neatly into a conversation today as it did back then – A discussion on today’s eCommerce, for example.

Make reviewing analytics and reacting to them part of your business model.

The history of the web is crammed with failed businesses with beautiful strategies but no consideration of results. To avoid becoming one, and to stand out among your modern competitors, you need to make reviewing results (in the form of analytics) and reacting to them part of your business model. WooCommere is a popular eCommerce platform where doing this can make a lot of difference. Here’s how:


What are eCommerce analytics?

You don’t need to worry about all the data, as long as you know what to look for, what it means and what to do about it

In eCommerce, analytics are bits of information that tell you about your shop and the people using it. There can be lots of information, but it breaks down into five types:

  • Financial data – Your shop’s financials – sales, costs, average order value etc.
  • Product data – Stock levels, sales and characteristics of each item you sell.
  • Individual customer data – Customer spend / value, characteristics (gender, age, location), customer journeys and profile data.
  • Demographic data – All the characteristics of all your customers, compiled in one place to show (for example) if men are spending more than women, or what age group buys the most of a particular product.
  • Page data – What’s happening on a particular web page, including visitor numbers, traffic sources, actions taken and bounce rate.

It’s a lot to take in, but you don’t need to worry about all the data, as long as you know what to look for, what it means and what to do about it. Learn more about analytics and measurements in my blog on the subject.


How eCommerce analytics help businesses

Ecommerce analytics tell you how your shop is doing, how people are interacting with it and what is working well (or badly). This information can be used to adapt your strategy, products and content so that they work better in future. For example:

  • If a product is searching well > Source similar products or use a similar strategy on your other products.
  • If your shop is popular with older people > Change the content and offerings to suit them.


Analytics for WooCommerce Users

Your WooCommerce analytics tools are pretty simple to understand at a basic level. There are two main tools:

  1. The internal WooCommerce Analytics tool
  2. The WooCommerce Google Analytics extension

The first of these is available to everyone as part of WooCommerce, giving you a decent range of basic financial and product data on your shop and how it is performing.

WooCommerce Google Analytics lets you dig further into customer and demographic data, so you know what type of people are visiting your shop and what they are doing. It also lets you know where customers are coming from, so you can adjust your marketing to focus on effective channels, and how they are moving through your site, so you can get them where you want them.

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn:


WooCommerce Analytics – The internal tool

This tool provides complete financial and product data, allowing you to run your shop, monitor stock levels and performance, and optimise stocking. It also provides some basic customer data, including sign-in details, total spend, order values, purchase history and geographic location. This can be useful for monitoring and addressing individual  customers and localising your sales and marketing – If you have a lot of sales in the Yorkshire area, you may want to open a physical outlet there, for example.


5 Ways to improve sales using WooCommerce Analytics

Although WooCommerce Google Anlaytics is the real tool for improving sales, there are some ways you can boost them without:

  • Learn from best-sellers and experiment with non-sellers – If something is selling well, it could be because of where on your site it is, how it’s photographed, how it’s described and how it’s promoted. Learn lessons from your best sellers and experiment with products that are less hot.
  • Keep your stock optimised – Ensure you have a lot of products that sell well. This should be one of the first things you start doing.
  • Diversify the right stock – Find the products that are selling well and bring in similar ones.
  • Time your promotions – Learn the times, days and months when your shop performs best. Focus timed promotions to increase sales and customer spends around these times. When it’s quieter, you can focus on long term promotional development and remarketing (selling more to existing customers).
  • Optimise for customer spending styles – Are your customers big spenders or economical Erics, frequent flyers or occasional visitors ? Focus your stock and marketing on the level and spending style of your customer. You don’t want to be promoting cheap deals to customers who like the VIP, premium approach.

Check out WooCommerce’s own guide for more in-depth information on WooCommerce Analytics.

If you want to run a tight shop, use WooCommerce Analytics. If you want to run a great shop, get WooCommerce Google Analytics.


WooCommerce Google Analytics – The extension

Getting the WooCommerce Google Analytics extension involved in your shop is the key to really boosting your marketing and sales. Although basic WooCommerce Analytics provides a bit of customer information, the amount of marketing and sales optimisation you can do with it is minimal. This extension by comparison shows you:

  • Customer journeys through your site and actions – So you can lead them to your best products, as well as seeing where they’re getting stuck and where they’re leaving.
  • How customers are getting to your site – So you can focus on the marketing channels that are working well and develop the ones that are not.
  • Find out what customers were searching for when they found you – So you can better provide for their needs.
  • Learn everything your customer is doing in your shop – …including product views, cart additions and abandonments. The possibilities of what you can do with this are huge.


The tool for optimising WooCommerce sales and marketing

For WooCommerce Analytics, I listed 5 ways to improve sales using the app. For WooCommerce Google Analytics (WGA), I could write 5000 ways. That’s how powerful this tool is for marketing and sales optimisation. While WooCommerce Analytics is designed to let you run your shop, WGA is designed to let you boost it with sales and marketing. I’d strongly suggest using both unless you’re completely happy with your sales and not particularly interested in expanding.

You will need a Google Analytics account to use this, but these are free. And yes; for the sake of good form, I’ll include another top five list for sales optimisation in this app:


5 of the best ways to improve sales using WooCommerce Google Analytics

  • Remarket, remarket, remarket – Marketing to people who have clicked ‘buy’ on a product but not checked out with it, or abandonment remarketing is the single most effective form of ecommerce marketing. Proportional to spend, it gets many more leads and much higher returns than any other kind of marketing. WGA’s action and abandonment monitoring lets you do this to great effect – use it.
  • Diversify your stock even more – WGA tells you what people were searching for when they found your shop and what page they landed on. Whatever they were searching for, make sure it’s on their landing page and sales will boom.
  • Redesign your shop around customer actions – Imagine it’s a physical shop and use customer action reporting to make it as easy as possible for customers to get from where they enter to what they want.
  • Advertise effectively – Knowing what buyers were searching for when they found your shop is the key to highly effective online advertising. Target the keywords that lead to the most sales.
  • Fix the leaks – Find out where customers are leaving your shop without buying (bouncing) and stop it happening. You’ll need to figure out why by yourself, but it’s worth it: Fixing high bounce rates can turn a mediocre shop into a great one.

Download the WooCommerce Google Analytics extension here and find out more about Google Analytics in my video on the subject and in Google Analytics Academy.


To sum up …

If you want to run a tight shop, use WooCommerce Analytics – built into WooCommerce. If you want to run a great shop complete with highly effective marketing and sales optimisation, get WooCommerce Google Analytics.

The former will give you a good range of financial and product data to work with, while the latter adds in deep customer and demographic data and customer journey information, as well as many new ways to use all the info.

Remember, you can always get in touch with with any questions you might have.


Managing your online shop – More advice

If you liked this article, you might find these interesting