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Consumer trends and interests change rapidly. With endless online shopping options and viral social media posts, customer attention focuses on new things every day.

Yet, 73% of customers still expect businesses to understand and meet their unique requirements.

In this quickly changing online environment, how can you predict customer expectations and deliver exactly what they want? Using eCommerce analytics gives you an advantage.

By collecting data that reveals what your customers are most interested in, you can improve where you focus your attention and resources. The goal is to create a customer-centric shopping experience and boost your online sales.

In this guide, you’ll learn all about eCommerce analytics, how it benefits you and how you can make the most out of it.

What is eCommerce analytics

ECommerce analytics is the process of taking data you collect from your eCommerce business and then analyzing it to improve performance. To illustrate, you can collect customer data such as demographics, search history and past purchases — then draw conclusions on what to name your newest product.

As customers shop online, they provide you with multiple opportunities to collect data. This could include product clicks, social media activities and even abandoned carts.

Each of these online interactions gives you actionable insights into customer behavior. Using this data, you can achieve your eCommerce goals by creating new ideas to remedy problems or capitalize on current customer experiences.

For example, you can identify trending product categories for your online store by tracking customer activity on your social media page. If specific products get more views or likes, you can offer color variants, limited editions or discounts to boost sales by capitalizing on the increased interest.

You can use eCommerce analytics to your advantage in many scenarios. Here are the most popular ways.

How eCommerce analytics benefits you

Analytics helps eCommerce stores in every aspect of business, including marketing, customer acquisition and product development.

Advantages of eCommerce analytics for your business.

By employing the right metrics and understanding how to analyze the data, you can use eCommerce analytics to:

Create stronger customer relationships

According to a Harris Poll survey, 82% of consumers prefer brands that align with their personal values. With eCommerce analytics, you can identify your target audience’s values, align your business strategies to them and build better customer relationships.

For example, an online apparel store owner can use eCommerce analytics to identify value-based trends, such as sustainable fashion. They can use that information to create a dedicated line of sustainable clothing and cater to customers who believe in eco-friendly fashion.

Develop personalized buyer experiences

Personalization is a great way to expand and retain your customer base. According to Elastic, 88% of shoppers return to brands that offer a personalized shopping experience.

This can include offering personalized product recommendations, birthday discounts and targeted advertising. Using eCommerce analytics with behavioral data helps you build those personalized experiences

Using data on past purchases and in-store clicks, you can predict individual preferences and create customer journeys unique to each buyer.

Identify customer abandonment points

If you own a social media store, you might have a large following, but not every follower buys your product. Maybe you’re used to receiving many inquiries and relatively fewer completed purchases.

In reality, customers might like your brand but delay completing a purchase due to reasons like pricing or customer service concerns.

With eCommerce data analytics, you can understand the exact reasons why customers aren’t ready to purchase yet. Then, you can use that information to fix the problem and increase your conversion rates while reducing your bounce rates.

Increase your marketing budget’s efficiency

Each marketing campaign will have varying degrees of effectiveness with different types of customers.

A campaign starring a new-age celebrity works well with youngsters but will have a lesser impact on older customers. Similarly, some running shoe advertisements only appeal to people already into fitness.

Using eCommerce analytics helps you place the right ads in front of the right customer groups. You can create customer segments based on demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioral data to better optimize targeted advertising.

This helps you use your resources better and get higher returns on ad spending.

Types of customer segments for targeted advertising.

Ideate new products, packages and offers

By analyzing eCommerce data, you’ll understand what customers want, and may even identify gaps in the current market. Your new product designs, service packages and special offers will be more in tune with customer demand.

You can also use analytics to predict future market gaps and quickly innovate new products, giving you a first-mover advantage.

Identify areas of improvement

While many eCommerce businesses ask for direct feedback, customers also express their opinions in actions. This includes changing how often they purchase, sharing their experience with friends and family or using social media to post reviews of your product and business.

Utilizing eCommerce analytics allows you to keep a closer watch on customer satisfaction and proactively address issues instead of waiting for negative results.

This helps boost your brand’s perception as a proactive, positive company that listens to customers.

While eCommerce analytics offers several benefits, it can get overwhelming with the diversity of metrics involved. Here’s a step-by-step plan to simplify eCommerce analytics and get started with data analysis for your store.

Steps to acquire and analyze customer data

If you want to use eCommerce analytics, you need to organize the right data, analyze it and implement the insights. Follow these steps to implement a systematic analytics plan for your eCommerce business:

1. Identify customer touchpoints

Customers interact with your eCommerce business through various touchpoints. This includes all your online sales, marketing and social media channels.

Examples of customer touchpoints for eCommerce analytics.

Every touchpoint reveals insights into customer behavior and is a valuable data source for eCommerce analytics. To maximize data collection for analytics, you must first identify your customer interaction points.

2. Set analytics goals, then establish metrics

Set your analytics goals and identify the metrics required to achieve them.

For example: If you want to increase your customer retention rate, you could track recurring orders to get a sense of your existing loyal customers. Then, if you calculate their average order value (AOV), you could identify specific high-value customers and build strategies to retain them.

Targeting specific goal-aligned metrics helps you allocate your budget and resources to a particular goal and give direction to your data analysis plans.

3. Set up eCommerce analytics tools

You’ll need tools to accurately track the metrics that match your goals. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have limited built-in tools for metrics such as post impressions and audience engagement.

However, these metrics alone aren’t sufficient to analyze sales and revenue for an eCommerce store. Using an eCommerce-oriented tool like Google Analytics offers more in-depth metrics like customer lifetime value and conversion funnel efficacy.

Google Analytics helps you measure eCommerce metrics.

4. Gather reports and insights

Most eCommerce analytics tools generate reports based on your goals. If you are using multiple tools to track different metrics, you’ll need to integrate all the reports to generate actionable insights for your business.

These insights help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your eCommerce business by connecting customer behavior trends with metrics such as sales or monthly revenue. You can also use visualization tools to simplify the reports for better understanding.

5. Use insights in eCommerce strategies

Once you have goals, data and insights, create eCommerce strategies using the insights. The new information will help you address business issues and achieve your goals in digital marketing, reputation and, ultimately, sales.

For example, imagine your analytics report shows a high customer abandonment rate after searching for a particular product. This could mean your business doesn’t carry the product or the product doesn’t show up in search results.

If you do carry the product, you can formulate a strategy to fix the search feature. If you don’t offer the product, you can expand your product line to fulfill customer demand if interest is high enough.

Overall, this step-by-step approach helps you get started with eCommerce analytics. However, you’ll also need to choose the right data to make the most out of eCommerce analytics.

Read on to learn which metrics will offer the best insights for your business.

Which metrics should you focus on?

There are tons of eCommerce analytics metrics you can track. But some stats will grant you more value than others. Your choice of metrics should be heavily influenced by your business model, industry and current goals.

An eCommerce store that only uses influencer marketing would benefit from tracking post impressions and customer retention — not so much from traditional ad click-through rate (CTR).

Similarly, suppose an owner runs their online business solely through a social media page. In that case, they can’t track many types of audience engagement, like average time on page, returning visitor sessions and bounce rate per page.

That level of control typically requires setting up an eCommerce website using WordPress or a similar platform, which is not difficult.

To optimize your use of customer information and make data-driven decisions, here are some metrics you should consider tracking.

Website traffic

Measuring the number of visitors your website receives over time is one of the most versatile eCommerce metrics you can track.

Note that you can segment your visitor counts based on source, demographics and recurrence.

That data helps measure the effectiveness of your marketing channels by comparing where your website traffic is coming from. If Instagram is your main marketing channel, but only a small amount of your traffic is from Instagram, consider rethinking your approach to increasing your website traffic.

Tools like Semrush let you calculate the number of visitors to your business website.

Semrush helps you optimize marketing strategies by tracking website traffic.

Shopping and checkout data

Customers leave your eCommerce store at various points in the sales funnel. Shopping and checkout data give insight into these behaviors by tracking buyer journeys and the checkout process.

For instance, you can track your shopping cart abandonment rate to understand why people leave your store after adding products to the cart.

While 42% of customers abandon shopping carts due to unexpected costs, you may be losing sales due to fewer shipping options or insufficient security trust from customers.

Similarly, you can track checkout abandonment rates to gain insights into where your checkout and payments process need improvement.

If you’re investigating customer journeys, analytics on social media platforms only scratch the surface. The easier option is to craft your user experience on a web eCommerce solution like WooCommerce, which allows much more personalization and data collection than you’re allowed on social media.

Average order value (AOV)

This metric is the average cost of a single order placed by your customers. A higher AOV indicates more revenue even if the number of conversions is less. Your eCommerce analytics software will calculate AOV by dividing the total revenue by the number of orders placed over a period.

AOV helps you analyze how much customers are willing to spend per order.

Once you know AOV, you can identify strategies such as discount sales or freebies to increase dollar values per order.

Formula to calculate average order value.

Repeat purchase rate

This measures the number of purchases made by returning customers. If you have a high repeat purchase rate, it indicates high customer satisfaction and retention.

Repeat purchase rate is typically found by dividing the number of purchases made by existing customers by the total number of purchases.

Formula to calculate repeat purchase rate for an eCommerce store.

If you have mostly new customers and very few repeat purchases, revamping your user experience could improve customer retention and increase sales.

Granted, revamping the user experience is hard when you’re limited to using a pre-established social media platform. This is another instance where a website eCommerce storefront is optimal.

Customer retention rate (CRR)

Customer retention rate (CRR) shows the number of customers you retain over time. If you offer a subscription model, CRR is the percentage of people who stay subscribed each month.

You can calculate CRR using the formula by subtracting new customers from total customers at the end of the period and dividing by your starting customer count from the beginning of the period.

Formula to calculate customer retention rate.

Good customer service and personalization are crucial to maintaining a high CRR. According to a Yotpo survey, 36.5% of customers will continue buying from a brand due to good customer service.

Though repeat purchase rate sounds similar to CRR, they are quite different. For example, if a customer used to buy your candles once a month but now they’re purchasing twice a month, the repeat purchase rate has grown. However, the CRR remains the same, as they still only count as one customer among your total audience.

Ad click-through rate(CTR)

Ad click-through rate (CTR) is the number of people who click through your ad to visit your eCommerce store.

A high CTR also means your marketing efforts are creating a greater degree of ad relevance. It indicates that the right audience is seeing your ads and likes the ads enough to visit your storefront or landing page. However, CTR doesn’t show conversions to sales compared to your ad spends.

Customer feedback

Though customer feedback is not quantitative, it should be an integral part of your eCommerce analytics. With feedback, you can directly integrate customer perspective into your eCommerce sales and marketing strategies.

You can measure customer feedback using several key performance indicators (KPIs) like the customer satisfaction score (CSAT), net promoter score (NPS) and customer effort score (CES). Each of these metrics measures a user experience in different ways.

For example, NPS indicates how likely a customer is to promote your business among their family and friends. A higher NPS means more referrals from your existing customers. For an eCommerce store, the average NPS score is 50 on a scale of -100 (no one recommends you) to 100 (everyone recommends you).

Net promoter score scale for eCommerce analytics.

Keep in mind that tracking every metric isn’t feasible. You have a limited time, focus and budget. Focus on a few metrics to reveal a useful perspective that centers around your business goals.

When you choose metrics for your business, consider your business type, goals and target audience.

How to make the best use of eCommerce analytics

These tips will help you get the best outcomes through eCommerce analytics:

  • Track data after implementing changes. Compare data and metrics before and after implementing data-driven changes to determine the most effective strategies.
  • Don’t forget internal data. While customer interactions provide a lot of data, you can also reveal valuable insights through internal processes such as finances, logistics and human resources.
  • Gather data over a long time. Data collected over a short time may contain seasonal trends and deviations. Long-term data collection improves accuracy and reduces outlier results.
  • Don’t stop analyzing. You must continue to implement and assess eCommerce analytics. Continue measuring KPIs and implementing changes to yield the best results.

You can also simplify and automate eCommerce analytics by using AI tools, platforms and dashboards. They give real-time insights into your eCommerce business and help fast-track your decision-making process.

Final thoughts: An Introduction to Using eCommerce Analytics

Using eCommerce analytics helps you create seamless customer experiences that consider customer journeys, requirements and pain points.

But social media stores and marketplaces don’t give you the complete analytics experience as they have limited tools and data.

As your business grows, you need to track in-depth, diverse KPIs, which is possible when you switch your social media store to a full-fledged website.

With Bluehost, you can build your own website using an eCommerce-oriented platform and save time with essential growth tools like order tracking and fulfillment. You’ll have full control of the storefront, the highly insightful web analytics and the hosting tailored to WooCommerce.


Can eCommerce analytics predict sales?

Yes, eCommerce analytics can help with forecasting sales. By analyzing historical sales data, parallel markets and customer demands, you can estimate future sales and revenue with considerable accuracy.
Sales forecasting helps you make informed decisions about inventory and budget planning instead of relying on intuition.

What are the best eCommerce analytics tools?

It depends on your analytics goals and requirements. Google Analytics is a widely-used tool that tracks a wide range of metrics, such as bounce rate, session duration and returning visitors. It’s easy to set up and customize Google Analytics for your business website.
Other analytics platforms specialize in particular areas of eCommerce analytics, like Klaviyo and Hotjar, which are commonly used to track email marketing and website activity.

Are there any privacy concerns or legal considerations when using eCommerce analytics?

Yes, most countries have regulations for customer data collection and use. With eCommerce, you must ensure data privacy and security that complies with each applicable jurisdiction. Data usage transparency, ethical data collection and usage of verified analytics tools also help you build customer trust.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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