There are tons of ecommerce analytics tools that exist today. They range from simple, basic traffic statistics to complex, and difficult to understand data charts.
Your data is the most important information you have access to when you sell online, and finding an analytics tool built for ecommerce can be tricky when many focus on on simple web analytics.
It’s important to get this part right. An analytics tool that’s too general may not show you the most crucial information- like data around your orders. An analytics tool that’s too complicated won’t do you much good if the learning curve is too steep.
Finding that Goldilocks-just-right analytics tool for your ecommerce store can be a challenge, but I’ve put together 7 criteria that you should absolutely not negotiate on.
After all, this is your business and your data. You should never settle for an analytics tool that isn’t the absolute best.
1. Your Analytics Tool Should Be Secure
I wish I didn’t have to say this- but unfortunately, I do. Any service using your data and the data of your customers should be secure (and should be GDPR compliant).
A security failure in your analytics tool, especially concerning your customer’s sensitive information can be a catastrophic crisis for your online store.
The best analytics tools will be transparent about:
- How your and your customers’ data is used within their platform
- Exactly what kind of data is collected
- Their responsibilities as data processors
- How you can remove this data from their servers, with the steps to take
- How you can get access to the data they have collected from you
While it may not be fun to read terms and conditions, and maybe even less fun to read privacy policies, it’s absolutely crucial to make sure that any analytics tool that you are considering takes your and your customers’ privacy seriously.
2. Your Analytics Tool Should Be Accessible & Easy to Set Up
If you’re looking at your data in an analytics tool, and you still don’t seem to understand any of it, there’s a real problem.
The entire point behind a great analytics tool is that it makes your data easier to understand. You should be able to visualize at least certain KPIs that you want to track, and it should be easy to figure out what those KPIs are.
If you’re slapped with a bunch of raw data that’s not even organized, run for the hills. You’ll spend more time trying to figure out what your data is saying than you will analyzing it.
Not only should it be easy to understand, but you should be able to easily toggle between time periods to watch the progression and growth of your ecommerce store. You should be able to segment your data to hyper focus on it.
Not only should your analytics tool be easy to understand, it should come without a learning curve. If it takes more than a day to set up your analytics tool, it might be time to walk away.
You should never have to sacrifice hours and hours to have a powerful analytics tool- as powerful doesn’t have to mean “un-user friendly.” A great analytics tool will be easy to set up and should only require a bit of code on the pages you want to track.
Also, your analytics tool should have modules and easy set up for popular ecommerce platforms (and a manual mode for ecommerce platforms that are slightly more obscure).
You shouldn’t have to be a developer, or need to hire one in order to install tracking, or configure your analytics tool. Analytics might be complicated, but the tool that shows you your data shouldn’t be.
3. Your Analytics Tool Should Make It Easy to Export Your Data & Offer Reports
There is no reason an analytics tool shouldn’t give you easy access to your data. You should be able to export and remove your data from the tool any time you wish.
It’s a huge risk to rely only on a tool for data- so regular reporting and exporting should definitely be a priority. A great analytics tool will make it easy to export data and offer reports that give you extra insight into your store’s performance.
It’s absolutely crucial to keep regular reports on your online store so you can be aware of how your business is progressing.
A great analytics tool will not only offer the possibility of exporting handy reports at whim, but also offer more in-depth reports with insights you can’t get from just looking at your data.
4. Your Analytics Tool Should Include Marketing Costs
Literally every analytics tool is going to show you typical web analytics like traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, time spent on site, etc. While these KPIs are important in their own way, and give you certain information about your customer behavior, you should expect more from your analytics.
A great analytics tool will show you marketing cost data. When you’re running AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn ads, as well as any other kind of paid advertising that you might be using, it can be a pain to pull analytics from each of these tools and create your own reports.
It’s time consuming to not have everything centralized- but a great analytics tool will pull your costs for you and display them alongside your other metrics.
An amazing analytics tool would do this for you, and include off-site costs as well.
With your costs all in one place, you’d save a considerable amount of time and you’d potentially save money by being able to compare your channels with more information at your disposal.
In addition, it shouldn’t be complicated to connect your marketing costs. Some analytics tools allow you to connect marketing channels, but it’s insanely complicated to do so. Don’t sacrifice your time for that when there are other tools that let you do this in less than three clicks.
5. Your Analytics Tool Should Show You Ecommerce Relevant Metrics
Simple web analytics aren’t enough for online sellers- nor should they be. While those metrics are great, you need a little more for a business that pivots on selling online.
You should have key order information that allows you to examine the exact journey your customer took to get from discovery to purchase. You should be able to see exactly how much they spent, what they bought, and what pages they landed on.
Any analytics tool that shows you less isn’t worth your time. It’s important that your analytics tool is built with ecommerce in mind so you can get the information that’s the most relevant to you.
6. Your Analytics Tool Should Be Multichannel in Every Way
Today’s ecommerce customer is multichannel: they’ll go through the gauntlet of channels before they decide to purchase.
An analytics tool that doesn’t separate your metrics by channel isn’t going to help you understand your customers and their customer journey.
A great analytics tool is going to show you that customer journey touchpoint by touchpoint. It will also show you each KPI by channel so you can make better decisions about how you budget based on channel performance.
Because your customer journey is going to be different based on the channel that your customer uses to visit your store. And each of those touchpoints is going to tell you something different about the decision making process.
7. Your Analytics Tool Should Use Data Driven Attribution
If your analytics tool is still relying on position based attribution (or worse, last click), it’s time to find an analytics tool that will show you the real value behind your channels.
Using anything other than a data driven attribution model means you’re potentially leaving money on the table, as position based models prioritize a touchpoint’s position in the customer journey in lieu of the value it actually contributes.
Understanding the real value behind your channels is important for being able to think critically about the time and money that you’re investing into those channels.
Data driven attribution is the key to getting that value through predictive analytics based on your customer’s behavior and customized for your online store.
Your data is the most important aspect of running your online business, and will give you a clear view of how your store is performing and the next steps to take.
This is why you can’t compromise on an analytics tool- anything that shows you less than you need to see isn’t worth your time or money. A great analytics tool can be the difference between struggling to understand your KPIs and being able to know exactly where to go next.
While there are tons of analytics tools on the market, if your tool isn’t accessible, secure, and built with your business model in mind, it just won’t do much for you.
Never settle for an analytics tool that’s less than optimal for your ecommerce store, especially when there are great analytics tools that will push you towards success.