Google Analytics adds more e-commerce data and reporting tools

Allison Enright BY ALLISON ENRIGHT Editor

The new Enhanced Ecommerce reporting tool lets e-retailers see more metrics about shopping behavior and conversion. “Merchants will be able to understand how far along users get in the buying process and where they are dropping off,” Google says.

Google Inc. is making it easier for e-retailers to collect more granular data about how consumers behave on their sites and to generate reports about that behavior. The company announced Wednesday Enhanced Ecommerce, a Google Analytics reporting tool designed specifically for e-retailers.

Using the tool, e-retailers can run reports that measure how many visitors view individual products, add or remove them from their shopping cart and abandon or complete transactions. It can also show conversion rates by product and average order value as well as track refund activity. E-retailers can also run Enhanced Ecommerce reports by brand or product category, or create custom reporting, Google says. Enhanced Ecommerce is part of the free version of Google Analytics. It is currently in beta, or test, mode and will roll out in phases over the coming weeks and months, Google says.

“Merchants will be able to understand how far along users get in the buying process and where they are dropping off,” according to a Google Analytics blog post. Google announced Enhanced Ecommerce, along with added features allowing users to import their own data and export customized tables with raw data, at the Google Analytics Summit 2014. Google says a free online training course will soon be available through Google’s Analytics Academy for e-retailers who want to learn how to run the new reports and analyze the data.

Knowing how to set up and run e-commerce-specific reports has been a challenge for some online retailers, especially smaller companies that typically don’t have someone dedicated to the task. “We’ve identified that our key audience [for Google Analytics] is marketers,” Justin Cutroni, Google Analytics evangelist told Internet Retailer earlier this year in a conversation about Google Analytics usability for e-retailers. “They are not programmers but they need data to make decisions. We are investing really heavily in education.”

Retailers can also track on-site promotion activity to measure, for example, the click-through rate on sales banners. Retailers can also generate reports about revenue and transactions coming through affiliates and product coupon redemptions. (The July issue of Internet Retailer magazine will feature a survey about e-commerce technology trends. Please click to take part in the short survey.)

E-retailers have been able to collect many of these measurements prior to Enhanced Ecommerce, but they required much more technical know-how, says Danny Gavin, director of marketing at jewelry e-retailer Brian Gavin Diamonds. “Google Analytics, as a basic structure, is used to answer questions like ‘Where did my traffic come from and where did it go,’” he says. “But for a lot of the actions that happen on a site—you can track them but a lot of people don’t—you had to create special reports.” With Enhanced Ecommerce, he says, “Google has these reports in there already.”

Google gave Brian Gavin Diamonds advance access to Enhanced Ecommerce and helped the e-retailer set up tags that will help it get the reports it wants because Danny Gavin and Google’s Jesse Nichols will co-present in a session about analytics on June 12 called “Building a web analytics framework that grows with you” at the Internet Retailer 2014 Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.

Google Analytics is the analytics program used by the greatest number of North American e-retailers ranked in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 and Second 500 Guide. More than half—553—of the top 1000 e-retailers, measured by sales, use it—213 in the Top 500 and 340 in the Second 500.

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