One thing my clients often ask is whether my services include adding a site analytics package (usually Google Analytics) to their site. My usual response is that not having site analytics on their new store is like purchasing a new car and not getting the tires.
Yes, I set analytics up to work with WooCommerce for you the day your site goes live. Today we’re going to walk through adding Google Analytics to a WooCommerce site, and then more importantly, what you can do with the information once your site has been running for a while. We’ll end by looking at a few options that are not Google Analytics but will give you similar features.
Adding Google Analytics to a WooCommerce Site
Getting Google Analytics setup on your WooCommerce site starts by having a Google Analytics account. Don’t worry, if you have a Gmail address or if you’re using G-Suite for your email, you have a Google Analytics account.
While there is a free version of the WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration, it doesn’t quite do everything we want. In particular, it doesn’t support Checkout Behavior Analysis. Checkout Behavior Analysis is an essential feature because we want to be able to visualize how people flow through our site so that we can identify snags in our purchase process.
To get Checkout Behavior Analytics, we’ll need to purchase WooCommerce Google Analytics Pro, and you’ll need to create a site profile in Google Analytics. Once you have both of those it’s time to navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Integrations where you’ll see Google Analytics Pro listed as an option.
Make sure that Enable Google Analytics Tracking is checked. If this is unchecked, then you will have no tracking on your site.
To add your site to your Google Analytics Property, you’ll need to click the button that says Authenticate with your Google Account. This will ask you to authenticate with Google Analytics so that your site starts getting analytics. You can also add your tracking code manually by checking the box under the authentication button.
While most people want to ignore the data that Site Administrators and Store Managers create as they work on the site, not everyone does. If you’re going to track those two users, then you can check the Track Administrators box.
If you think that any of your customers will be from the EU, then you need to make sure that you’ve checked Anonymize IP addresses to stay compliant with the law. Even if you don’t expect clients from the EU, it’s best practice to check this box now and avoid compliance issues later.
Those are the main settings you should be worrying about. Yes, you can change the naming of the various events that the plugin will track with Google Analytics, but most sites should leave the names as they are.
What Can You Do With the Data?
Now that you have Google Analytics setup on your WooCommerce site, we can dive into one of the most critical uses of tracking user purchases on your site: watching the funnel of their purchases.
Most sites have ways that they can increase their conversions. Pages that stop users from purchasing, buttons that could use a language update, or sometimes something is just plain broken. By looking at the funnel of purchases for your site you can identify these points and make it easier for users to purchase.
By default a funnel is made up of:
- A user adding a product to the cart
- Providing your billing email
- Selecting a payment method
- Placing the order (finishing the funnel)
A rule of thumb for eCommerce sites is that you want to remove every barrier you have to making a purchase. That may mean instead of offering a related product on your checkout page, you leverage Smart Offers to allow a one-click additional purchase after the user has completed their main product purchase.
I’ve also tracked and increased conversions on sites by removing all the checkout fields that we don’t need. That means if you’re selling a digital-only product, you don’t need their physical address. You may need their country and Zipcode/Postal Code to calculate tax, but the specific street they live on doesn’t matter. By removing all the extra fields on the checkout page, more people will continue with their purchase instead of feeling overwhelmed by the information they need to enter.
By having a funnel in Google Analytics, you can view your data periodically and make sure that you don’t have obvious problems with your site conversion process.
Not Every Site Needs Google Analytics
While Google Analytics has lots of power, it can also get confusing if you’re not a seasoned pro at digging through the information they provide. The truth is that not every store needs all the information that Google Analytics can provide. Luckily there are a few other options to enhance your site sales that don’t overwhelm you with data.
WooCommerce Customer History
The first option we’ll look at is WooCommerce Customer History. Just like the title says, this plugin tracks your users on your site. Much like Google Analytics, this means you can figure out where people are dropping off in sales as well as the popular pages for your customers.
WooCommerce Customer History also helps you by looking at the purchases a user has made and then calculating their lifetime value to your business. Maximizing the lifetime value that users have is a great way to increase the profitability of your store.
It’s generally much easier to get a customer to make a repeat purchase than it is to find a new customer. With repeat customers, they already trust you, so you don’t have to spend as much time convincing them to purchase from you.
WooCommerce Cart Reports
Another plugin that goes well with WooCommerce Customer History is Cart Reports. Where WooCommerce Customer History tells you what people purchased, Cart Reports shows you what they left in their cart. Some customers will find that a particular product is left in carts way more than others.
With Cart Reports, you can reach out to customers and ask them why they didn’t purchase. Maybe you didn’t have the right color or size. Armed with more information you can change your next product orders and make sure that you have the proper sizing to match your customer demand.
Cart Reports also allows you to email the user in an attempt to convert their abandoned cart to a sale. If you’re able to do this, it will report the converted sale on its dashboard so you can track the effectiveness of any cart reclamation campaign.
The biggest drawback to Cart Reports is that it doesn’t allow you to automate touching base with customers that have abandoned their purchases. You have to find each abandoned cart and manually contact the customer. On a small store or one with very high ticket items, manually reaching out may be possible. On a large store or one with many lower priced items, manually reaching out to users is likely too much work.
Recommendation Engine for WooCommerce
The second plugin that can help you make more sales is Recommendation Engine. While this doesn’t give you insight into the way your customers are purchasing, it does gather the information for its use.
Recommendation Engine looks at the products that your customers purchase together and then makes recommendations for other items in your store. If many customers purchase Product A and B together then when Recommendation Engine sees someone looking at Product A, it will show them that many people purchase Product B at the same time.
You can also configure Recommendation Engine to show customers:
- Products related to their purchase history
- Products other customers have also viewed
- Products that are regularly purchased together
It also provides a few widgets so that you don’t need to dive into the code of your site or hire a developer to add product recommendations to your site.
Alternatives to Google Analytics
If you want a robust analytics package but don’t want to use Google Analytics, there are still many other great options including.
Each of these options has their benefits and their drawbacks. No single analytics package suits every site. While Google Analytics has been the default, make sure you explore your options, so you know which one is best for your needs.
While I stand beside my assertion at the beginning that you should have an analytics package on your site, it can also be overwhelming. Most customers should have something like Google Analytics installed just in case they need to dig deeper into the information later.
By combining WooCommerce Customer History and Recommendation Engine, you can get lots of insight into how your customers are purchasing and increase the value they are buying. These two plugins alone can quickly pay for themselves as you improve your store profitability.