May, 23rd 2017 | 5 min read

ecommerce sales report header 
Introduction - Sales report insighs

Because of the nature of ecommerce, online store owners have tons of customer data at their disposal. Yet, despite this vast treasure of knowledge, a considerable amount of e-sellers don’t collect or use their ecommerce data properly. In terms of sales, they are losing out on evaluating their revenue and overall sales within defined intervals. Why is this important? If you really want to increase your conversion rates and grow your business, you simply need to gather and analyze your customer data.

By keeping an eye on your sales performance, you will be able to gain insights into whether your store is generating more revenue year-over-year, seasonal performance and any other sales trends that you find useful. In this post, we’ll show you the necessary steps you need to take in order to create a sales report that truly reflects your store’s standing.

1. Know your goals

The first step to a proper ecommerce sales report is setting up goals (not the soccer ones). Simply put, goals are the critical tasks you want a visitor to complete on your online store. Just like in our previous post, we’ll focus on Google Analytics (GA). The principle is much the same with other offerings that provide in-depth insights, albeit by making a dent in your wallet. For this matter, GA is great as you can pair it with a platform like Shopify to further delve into the mysteries of ecommerce analysis.

Back on track - an example of a goal would be a specific time when a customer makes a purchase. Time is the prime option of customizing the sales report, meaning you can select a particular day or a time period. Adapting your report to set time frames helps determine if there are recurring time-based trends. In essence, you get both a numerical and graphic representation of that data, which allows you to identify trends and spot specific metric shifts. For instance, are there more sales in the first or second half of the month, is there a general trend toward sales increase and so on.

google analytics sales report

Overview of Google Analytics ecommerce report

Source: Shopify

Another example would be knowing the revenue per transaction or the number of products per transaction so you can identify if offering better quantity discounts or removing shipping costs for customers that meet a minimum amount can benefit you with better sales. 

In the screenshot above, you can see how Ecommerce reports look like in the Conversion menu. The information presented retains to your products, sales and conversions, helping you learn more about what the people who visit your site buy. This includes data like specific products and their revenue, quantity information for each transaction made,  number of days and sessions it takes to go through a full sale cycle and so on.

As Google Analytics needs a week-long worth of data at least to create a sales funnel (it cannot create it from past data), logically, that is your next step.

Click me

2. Set a purchase funnel

Each store has a few steps customers need to go through to complete a purchase. Not all of them follow through to the end so a purchase funnel will help you identify where visitors depart and try to improve those areas. 

Let’s say that every fourth customer who views your product page adds the product to the shopping cart. Out of that 25%, more than half splits and 12% ends up making a purchase. Now, you probably know you do better than a 12% conversion from cart to purchase, which is where the most of the room for improvement lies. Naturally, the highest exit rates mean the most conversion work but in doing so, you get a better picture of what needs to be done. Also, you get a look into how people move through the checkout process and learn from that.

3. Feel free to combine different tools for deeper insights

Once you know where the majority of your visitors leave in the sales funnel, your next step is to know why. This is important as you learn about the behavior, motivations, and needs of your potential customers. If you can pinpoint why they are hesitant to buy from you, you can effectively address those concerns with a better and more focused product or service and thus increase conversions. 

The way to achieve this is by gathering other types of data and combining it with the existing Google Analytics data. By other types of data, we mean advanced tools like mouse tracking software or simple, yet specific tools like exit intent polls, automated tests and so on. While the latter two are pretty straightforward, mouse tracking data offers several advanced layers of insights like: 

  • heat maps – these are highlighted sections of each page of your online store that display what interests your visitors the most and where they the most time;
  • click tracking – shows exact clicks and usually includes additional data like referral source (where visitors come from when landing on your website);
  • scroll tracking – shows scroll behavior of the users so you can see what parts of your pages are being seen and scrolled by.

mouse tracking software

An example of mouse tracking software - heat maps

Source: Mozello 

Understanding the behavior of your visitors can help you better understand which areas of your website need improvements in order to create a better experience for your visitors and convert them into customers. 

What to do with the information?

Sifting through mountains of data won’t mean much in the long run unless you turn it into actionable insights. Meeting satisfactory sales levels is an ongoing process so understanding your sales becomes crucial to helping you sell more. Only through understanding which of your products sell well will you gain a better understanding which of them are best suited for your customers and are in line with your marketing efforts. 

Creating a sales report is basically a backbone of ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics and one of the main reasons why businesses opt for it in the first place. Knowing which products your customers buy, in what quantity, the revenue generated by those products and lots of other insights can help a business get a complete picture of their sales cycle and further improve it, where warranted.


Conclusion

All of the elements we mentioned consist of a sales report that gives actionable and accurate insights into the sales aspect of your business. The truth is plain and simple - understanding the essential metrics of your store and your visitors is vital to growing and scaling your online business. Creating an ecommerce sales report can be a bit frightening at first with the thought of large quantities of data that turns into graphs and charts. However, if you do it right, the gains can be enormous and help you reach new levels of success.

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