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Ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) tells you a lot about your website traffic and audience. Metrics like exits, bounces, and goal conversion rates; and insights on audience demographics, landing page views, and more give you quantitative data around what users are doing on your site.

PX insights and behavior analytics

But for online businesses, that information alone isn’t enough—which is where ecommerce website tracking tools come in, to help you understand how people shop on your website.

What is Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking?

Ecommerce Tracking is a feature of Google Analytics that tracks shopping activity on your website. You can use it to track and analyze transaction data, revenue, products you’ve sold, and more.

Ecommerce data in Google Analytics will give you specific insights into:

  • Products with a high (or low) number of sales

  • The average revenue and number of products per transaction

  • Your online store’s conversion rate

  • Changes and trends in transactions and revenue over time

You’ll find ecommerce reports under Conversions > Ecommerce:

You can also find ecommerce metrics in other Google Analytics reports, under:

  • The ‘Summary’ tab of most GA reports: in the ‘Conversions’ column, select the ‘eCommerce’ view to see metrics like ecommerce conversion rate, transactions, and revenue for dimensions that belong to that report. For example, this is a snapshot of the

     

    Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium report:

  • The ‘Ecommerce’ tab in most GA reports shows metrics such as average order value (AOV) and per session value. Here's a snapshot of the same

     

    Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium report shown above, switched to the ‘Ecommerce’ tab:

5 ways to use ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Ecommerce tracking is essential for tracking purchases and other sales data like:

  • Total revenue

  • Total number of transactions

  • Ecommerce conversion rate

  • Average order value

  • Cart abandonment rate

If you have an ecommerce store but haven’t enabled Ecommerce Tracking in GA, your analytics data will be limited. For example, you’ll see standard GA metrics such as users, sessions, and pageviews, but you won’t see whether a session ended with a purchase or not.

Standard Ecommerce vs Enhanced Ecommerce in GA

Google Analytics offers two types of ecommerce reporting: Standard Ecommerce and Enhanced Ecommerce.

Standard Ecommerce tracks typical ecommerce metrics such as revenue, conversion rate, average order value, and specific product performance.

Enhanced Ecommerce adds a layer of more granular data, including reports for specific checkout steps and stages of the customer journey. With enhanced ecommerce data you can also see the performance of coupon codes, affiliate codes, and other promotions to help you understand the impact of your marketing campaigns.

1. Track important KPIs

Ecommerce tracking lets you instantly gauge the pulse of your online store. You can monitor KPIs like revenue, average order value, and number of sales to answer questions like:

  • What is our revenue month-to-date and year-to-date?

  • Are there significant peaks or drops in sales?

  • How does revenue this week, month, or quarter compare to the same period last year?

2. Increase your sales and conversion funnel success

The Conversions > Ecommerce > Shopping Behavior Analysis report shows you how users progress through your sales funnel. It starts with All Sessions on the left side and progresses through product views, adding to cart, checking out, and making a transaction.

You can see how many users dropped off in each of the stages:

Use these insights to identify pain points in the customer journey. For example, if a lot of visitors are dropping off from a particular page, you may need to investigate so you can learn how to improve their experience and reduce dropoffs.

If you want to get more granular data for specific segments of your audience, you can click the 'Add Segment' button at the top of the report to select or create the segment you want to analyze.

3. Track sales and revenue from multiple channels

Ecommerce tracking adds a layer of useful metrics to reports other than those in Conversions > Ecommerce: you can drill into specific channels and their roles in your sales.

For example, in Acquisition > All traffic > Source/Medium, you can see how each channel plays a role in your ecommerce conversion rates, transactions, and revenue.

This will help you double down on channels that bring you the most revenue and revisit any that are underperforming.

4. Track your shopping cart abandonment rate

How many users are adding products to their cart and then leaving your site altogether? You can see your store’s cart abandonment rate in the Conversions > Ecommerce > Shopping Behavior report.

The cart abandonment rate is expressed as a percentage and shows the number of sessions that included cart abandonment. Use the cart abandonment metric to understand how much potential revenue you’re missing out on (later on, we’ll show you how to understand why it might be happening).

5. See individual product performance

The Conversions > Ecommerce > Product Performance report lets you analyze sales data on specific products, and answers questions like:

  • How much revenue does each product bring ?

  • Do customers tend to buy more than one unit of the same product at a time?

  • How many people that view a specific product page add the product to their cart?

  • How many people make it through the funnel and complete their purchase in one session?

You can view and analyze product performance by product name or by product SKU.

How to set up Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking in 5 steps

Before you can start collecting data about your ecommerce sales and revenue, you need to enable Ecommerce Tracking in GA and add tracking to your online store.

Here’s how:

1. Click on the Admin button

In your Google Analytics account, click on the Admin button in the bottom left corner.

2. Navigate to the correct view

Next, make sure you’re working inside the correct view.* In the View column, click on the dropdown at the top to select the view you want to enable.

* A ‘view’ is a subset of a property in your Google Analytics account. It can have its own configuration settings and view filters. View filters are useful for excluding internal traffic from your reports or for tracking subdomains.

3. Click on Ecommerce Settings

In that same View column, click on the Ecommerce Settings button.

4. Enable Ecommerce

Click the on/off toggle to Enable Ecommerce.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll see the option to Enable Enhanced Ecommerce Reporting, which gives you additional insights and the ability to create customized labels for the steps in your checkout process.

Enhanced Ecommerce isn’t required, but is recommended. Enhance Ecommerce gives you data about how your users progress through the checkout process.

Next, hit ‘Save’.

5. Add the ecommerce tracking code to your site

Finally, you need to add code to your site to collect your ecommerce data and send it to Google Analytics. If you’re not comfortable editing HTML and coding in JavaScript, you’ll need assistance from a web developer. You can also refer to Google's support and developer documentation:

7 common ecommerce metrics you’ll need to know

To get the most out of ecommerce data, you’ll need to understand the following metrics:

1. Product revenue

The Product Revenue metric shows the total revenue earned from individual product sales in a given period.

In the Conversions > Ecommerce > Product Performance report, you can see products sorted by Product Revenue, along with the percentage that each product contributed to the total revenue.

If you’ve enabled Enhanced Ecommerce, you can also see revenue from each product category.

2. Unique purchases

The Unique Purchases metric indicates the total number of times a product (or set of products) was part of a transaction. Keep in mind, this metric doesn’t show you how many units of a specific product you’ve sold, but rather how many GA transactions it appeared in (with each purchase given its own transaction ID).

For example, you may sell 100 units of Product A, but it only has 70 unique purchases. This means that 100 units of Product A were purchased within 70 separate transactions.

3. Quantity

The Quantity metric reflects the number of units of a specific product sold in a given period.

Following the example above, Product A had 70 unique purchases, and the quantity sold was 100.

4. Average QTY

The Average QTY metric shows the average quantity of a specific product sold per transaction. The metric can show you if your customers typically buy a product in bulk quantities.

Average QTY is calculated by dividing the number of total units sold (quantity) by the number of transactions they were sold in (unique purchases):

Average QTY = quantity / unique purchases

For example, if 100 units were sold in 70 transactions, your Average QTY is 1.43.

5. Ecommerce conversion rate

Ecommerce Conversion Rate is the percentage of sessions that resulted in an ecommerce transaction. Your ecommerce conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of sessions by the number of transactions and multiplying by 100:

Ecommerce conversion rate = ecommerce conversions / sessions * 100

For example, if you have 500 sessions and 20 transactions, the ecommerce conversion rate is (20/500)*100 = 4%.

You’ll find your ecommerce conversion rate in the Conversions > Ecommerce > Overview report.

6. Average order value (AOV)

Average Order Value (AOV) is the average value of transactions in your chosen period. You can calculate AOV by dividing your total revenue with total transactions:

AOV = total revenue / total number of transactions

For example, if you have a total revenue of $5,000 and it came from 100 transactions, your AOV is $5,000/100 = $50.

7. Time to purchase (Standard Ecommerce only)

If you’re using Standard Ecommerce reporting, you have access to the Time to Purchase report. Access it from Conversions > Ecommerce > Time to Purchase, where you’ll see the total number of transactions for the period you select.

You can then see how many days—or sessions—it took for these transactions to take place, which is useful for understanding the length of your sales cycle and identifying any outliers.

2 tools to get the qualitative insights you can’t get from Google Analytics

Now you know Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking can help you understand what customers do when they shop on your website. But what GA doesn’t tell you is why they shop a certain way, or how you can improve the experience for them (and increase conversions).

For example, GA gives you quantitative data on your sales and revenue, but it doesn’t give you any actionable insight—you have to keep investigating if you want to figure out how to increase those numbers.

You’re left wondering:

  • Why are customers only buying one unit of Product A at a time, but two or three units of Product B?

  • Why do 90% of users exit from a product page?

  • Why do 75% of users abandon their shopping carts?

  • What makes a user decide to purchase? How can we replicate the experience they had so more customers will convert?

Enter Hotjar, the behavior analytics tool to complement GA’s analytics data (if we may say so ourselves).

You can use Hotjar to stack quantitative insights from Google Analytics with qualitative data about how your users are experiencing your site, why they behave a certain way at different stages throughout the ecommerce customer journey, and what’s stopping them from converting.

Here are two tools that'll help:

1. Recordings: see why users exit and abandon their carts

Session recordings let you review individual, anonymized user sessions as they go through your ecommerce site.

You can see what a user experiences as they browse your site from page to page—see how they interact with product pages and the checkout page, up to and including the moment they purchase or (gasp!) exit.

Recordings show you clicks, hovers, taps, and mouse movements across multiple pages of your site.

What to look for:

  • Do users click between a product page and an informational page (think: shipping rates and delivery times) multiple times before adding a product to their cart?

  • Is there a part of your checkout process users linger on, such as choosing a payment method?

  • What are users doing right before they leave? Which page are they on, and how do they interact with different page elements leading up to the moment they exit?

  • Are users scrolling up and down looking for something? Are they rage-clicking or u-turning, or jumping from page to page?

You can filter session recordings by specific pages visited (like product pages) and exit pages (like checkout pages) to watch the purchase experience as if it was happening in real time.

Here’s how you can use insights from GA to determine what will be your most useful session recordings:

  • Find landing pages with lots of pageviews and high bounce rates (in Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages): what are the users doing or looking at before bouncing? Is there a UX problem—like a confusing design or broken link—that needs fixing?

  • Look for product pages with low Cart-to-Detail Rate and low Buy-to-Detail Rate (in Conversions > Ecommerce > Product Performance): why are so few users adding these products to cart and buying them after viewing the product page? Is there information missing or steps that are being overlooked?

Once you've identified your pages of interest from GA, watch recordings on those pages to learn how to optimize the user experience—possibly by clarifying product descriptions, adding shipping and returns information, or tweaking UX elements like buttons and formatting.

2. Surveys: give your visitors a voice

If you want to know what’s going on in the minds of your customers, ask them! Here are a couple of examples of where and when to survey your customers (or prospective customers):

Survey visitors on pages with high exit rates

Learn what doesn’t work: launch an on-site survey after specific behaviors—like scrolling halfway down the page or just before the visitor leaves—so you can target the most relevant audience.

Ask open-ended questions like:

  • What’s stopping you from buying today?

  • What’s missing from this page?

  • What’s the ONE thing we should change on this page?

When responses start rolling in, update these pages and see how the changes you make impact exit rates.

Survey your customers right after they convert

Learn what does work: use on-site surveys to ask customers about their experience after they complete a purchase, and use the qualitative insight you get from their responses to tweak your product pages or the checkout process.

Here’s what we recommend for post-purchase surveys:

  1. Ask customers about their overall experience on a 1-5 or bad-to-good scale.

  2. Based on their answers, ask what would improve their experience or what they loved most about their experience.

  3. Finally, ask, “What almost stopped you from completing your purchase?” so you can understand why some of your visitors might not be converting.

Improve the user experience for your customers (and increase conversions) 📈

Give your customers the shopping experience they deserve: Hotjar Session Recordings and Surveys give you the insight you need to make the right changes to your site.

FAQs about ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Editor's note: Google recently launched Google Analytics 4, which includes minor changes to some reports; however, this article is still relevant for standard GA. As more users migrate, we will release updates to this and other articles as needed, with references and steps to obtain results in GA 4.