Chapter 1: Why you need analytics
In a physical store, you can see your customers come and go. You can talk to them face to face and help them find what they’re looking for. In other words, have direct contact with them.
An online store is different. You don’t see your customers. You might not even know they visited your store.
But there are, in fact, several ways for the online merchant to “see”, better understand and so ultimately better serve their customers. Website analytics is one such way, providing you with statistics that show you what’s happening in your online store.
Without any analytics, you are driving blind. With the right use of analytics, you will know how well your marketing is working and how effective your website is at turning visitors into customers. As you use these insights to make changes to your marketing and your online store, analytics will also show you what’s working and what’s not.
Introducing Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an excellent, free service provided by Google. It provides wide-ranging statistics for all types of websites, including online stores. Several features make it particularly useful for ecommerce merchants:
- Ecommerce tracking tracks your revenue and, among other things, shows you how your customers found your store and which advertising is providing the best return.
- Goal tracking and funnel visualization helps you optimize the checkout process so that a higher proportion of the visitors to your site make a purchase.
- Dashboards save you lots of time by providing you with an overview of your most important statistics, all in one place.
Google Analytics is not the only way of measuring the effectiveness of your store and its marketing. As far as advertising goes, for example, you should consider the conversion tracking that is part of Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and Microsoft Adcenter. But Google Analytics will certainly get you off to a great start.
Why I wrote this book
This book came about as I worked with clients and was surprised to discover how few of them used Google Analytics and that those who did were not using it to their full advantage. So with this book I set out to create an easy-to-read, easy-to-follow guide that would be useful to those same clients and others like them.
I’m not a Google Analytics expert by any means, I’m just someone who has been using Analytics for years in my own online businesses. In fact, I use Analytics day in day out to understand my businesses and generate increased sales. My hope is that this book can help you achieve great success with your business too.