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A Practical Guide to Google Analytics Enhanced eCommerce

woman orders online via enhanced eCommerce store

Relevant information that can be properly implemented will set you up for success within your online store. If your business is already eCommerce-based then you’re likely familiar with eCommerce marketing, even if you haven’t applied it yourself. Using data to create an effective eCommerce marketing strategy is essential for gaining engagement in your store and boosting conversions and sales. To access this data, you’ll need a process of obtaining, organizing and monitoring information and converting it into action steps.

Enhanced eCommerce takes your Google Analytics to the next level, allowing to you customize it based on your business sales funnel. This powerful plugin gives you access to additional metrics and dimensions that, when used together, can deliver crucial data and insight into your store’s performance. Some of these insights are transactions, behavior analysis, product impressions and more.

eCommerce vs. Enhanced eCommerce

The basic eCommerce plugin for Google Analytics will only track and record transactions. Usually, it will link to your purchase completion page and record monetary value spent as well as product details to track which products are your best sellers. This information is extremely useful and important for your sales and marketing team. But when it comes to creating strategies for boosting sales and conversions, it isn’t very helpful. 

With Enhanced eCommerce you’ll receive a more in-depth analysis of your store and user behaviors; not just the ones who’ve purchased. You’ll see what products customers are looking at and which they are adding to their baskets. You’ll also be able to see which products are often removed from baskets. Knowing who is dropping out of their purchases, and at what stage, can help you implement strategies to change that. You can use this information and pop it into Google Display Network to help remarket to those customers that you missed out on.

The basic eCommerce setup could generate data based on completed sales such as:

  • Number of products sold
  • The monetary value of purchased products
  • The conversion rate of the product
  • Combined impressions

The Enhanced eCommerce plugin will provide metrics and dimensions such as:

  • Products added to cart
  • Products removed from cart
  • Purchases abandoned at checkout
  • Views on products
  • Click-through on products
  • Detail page views
  • Use of coupons
  • Refunds issued
  • Purchase history
  • Views on campaign
  • Click-throughs on campaign

Is There Automatic Tracking?

No, there is no automatic tracking on Enhanced eCommerce. You’ll have a ton of metrics at your disposal as soon as you’ve installed a tracking code for Google Analytics. But you’ll need to set up eCommerce tracking yourself. To do so, you’ll need to load a plugin onto your website on top of just entering the tracking code. If you’ve got Google Tag Manager, it’s as easy as just checking a box.

Your original eCommerce reports will not break once you check the box. You’ll just need to begin implementing the appropriate tracking code.

Is It Worth It?

If you use eCommerce in any way, shape or form you will benefit from upgrading to Enhanced eCommerce. It will allow you to understand the payoffs of your promotions, improve your checkout process and track all the non-typical attributes of your products. The last point is particularly important as basic Google Analytics will not give you the depth of eCommerce specific data. Some of these insights include profit margins, stock status, and local order collection depots.

While implementing the plug can be complex, it’s worth it once you’ve installed it. Your whole digital team can benefit from the data, including Marketing, Sales, Product Development, Content Creation or UX.

What Vital Data Is Gained from Enhanced eCommerce?

Enhanced eCommerce delivers extensive data from the whole of your customers’ journey. It begins when they first view the product until they buy it. Your business will have access to every detail of the sales funnel. You’ll know if your customer found the item they searched for, how they came across your product in the first place, and if they used a promotion at check out.

There are three areas of reports that can be accessed through the Enhanced eCommerce plugin. These are product-focused, behavioral and promotional. We’ve included some examples of each to break down all three areas so you can see the benefits for yourself.

Product-focused reports will break down exactly what your customers are purchasing, or not purchasing, from your online store. You can sort the report by product name, brand, category, or SKU. This data will help you answer the following questions:

  • Which products are not selling?
  • Which products are frequently added to baskets but not purchased?
  • Which products are bought in multiples/bulk and which singularly?
  • Which products make you the most revenue?
  • Which products are your best sellers?

GA's eCommerce checkout behaviour dashboardThe next reports are behavioral. They will break down the shopping and checkout habits of your customers so you can better understand them. Accessing this data will answer the following questions:

  • Did users drop out of their purchase at the account registration step?
  • Are users locating what they are searching for, but having a hard time following through with the purchase?
  • Where are you receiving high-bounce traffic from? That is users who find your site and drop-off instantly.

If you seem to be getting tons of views on your products, but none added to carts, then you may want to consider the strength of your product descriptions. You can also add testimonials, tutorials, and reviews on the product page to add value and encourage users to follow through with a purchase.

eCommerce promotion order coupon screenshotPromotional reports will breakdown the effectiveness of each of your promotions so you can identify which are working, and which are not. Some of the data you will retrieve from these reports includes:

  • Are the majority of your audience bargain hunters? (Do they frequently only visit and purchase with codes?)
  • How did your last promotion perform compared to the previous ones?
  • Did your promotion drive revenue increase on a product that was not selling previously?

Will Enhanced eCommerce Deliver Access to Past Data?

Unfortunately, not. It will only begin tracking once it’s setup. The good news is that it will begin straight away, and you will not need to wait to access your insights.

How to Get Started With Enhanced eCommerce

Since you now know all the benefits of the Enhanced eCommerce plugin, as well as which information you can access, you likely want to get it set up. eCommerce, in general, is more complex than a simple digital analytics setup. You’ll need the combined efforts of both your development team and your marketing team. You’ll need to start by making a blueprint of your current customer journey. You’ll want it to echo the one modeled by Google Analytics and know what data you would like to track each step of the way. If you do this, it will be much easier once you get to the coding. When you’re ready to implement you can choose between on-page tracking or Google Tag Manager.

We would recommend going to the Google Tag Manager route and use the Data Layer. Within this layer, make sure any relevant data is available. You can also set up Google Tag Manager to track this data and relay it to Google Analytics each time there is an interaction. It’s quite inflexible to implement but still the best way to go about it.

Since it’s essential to do the coding correctly through the whole store it can be tough to do perfectly, especially without previous knowledge. There are a couple of ways to ensure its setup up properly.

  1. Manually- Manual setup is the first way to implement the code, and we don’t recommend it, though it may be necessary if your CMS is yet to provide plugin support or if your store is a custom-build. If you do need to go this route, then you should look to hire on a developer who is familiar with coding to ensure it’s done correctly.
  2. Third-party Plugin- Most main CMS systems are complete with plugins to automatically set up Enhanced eCommerce. All you will need to do is install the plugin and link it to your Google Analytics. Using a third-party plugin will allow you to both activate and disable action, elements or impressions that are relevant to your business. There are plugins available for WordPress, Magento, Shopify, and WooCommerce, among others.

Is Enhanced eCommerce Useful on a Non-eCommerce Website?

Even if you don’t run an eCommerce store, you can still benefit from Enhanced eCommerce. How? You’ll need to identify what your website considered a product and what is considered a transaction. As an example, if your website is a travel blog then your articles are your product. Having a consumer read the entirety of the article could be considered the transaction. Therefore, setting up Enhanced eCommerce will allow you to track how many consumers you have coming to your page, and how many are reading through your articles. It can track this either by time spent on the webpage or by flagging when a user gets to the bottom of the page.

Summary

If you run an eCommerce website the benefits of setting up the Enhanced eCommerce plugin are endless. If your current CMS supports plugins then definitely go this route, as it ensures ease of implementation and that it’s done correctly. Once it’s set up it’s an invaluable tool for gaining insight into your customers and making informed decisions for your business.

Author avatar
Aaron
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