Understanding the Basics of Ecommerce Analytics

It is a fact that, today e-commerce has taken a revolutionized status, which has touched every aspect of our lives. Retail takes about 7% of the world economy and along with e-commerce they share is even more, which calls for an analytical approach, towards it, for better profitmaking prospect. Previously, tracking the visitors of a web page was not realistic. Later, the only solution which could be reached was establishing counters to web pages, to just count the volume of page views. But this was never enough to make an analytical study based on real time data. Real analytical capabilities, was reserved to large organizations, who could afford it. But that’s not the case for today’s vibrant e-commerce market place.

Today there are a host of web metrics and tracking mechanisms available, to make the study more insightful.  Armed with the latest analytical tools, the owners of the e-commerce website can track the number of people visiting their page at a given time and a detailed view of their likes and dislikes. Therefore, e-commerce giants make analytics their primary mechanism, to upgrade their operations, by capturing voice of customer better. In a concise manner, e-commerce web analytics is that branch of study, which gathers, analyzes, and reports web traffic information, along with a detailed study of the traffic behavioral pattern.  However, with many web analytics programs available in the market, customers may just be puzzled with choices. Let us look at the foundations and some examples of leading analytics, to guide us to our final choice of one.

The stepping stone of any analytics is the collection of data, as it is taken from the source and then collating them in a fashion, which would be meaningful to the user.  These are known as log analyzers, which collect the information and store it in a specific sequence, for further processing. Analytics applications are programs, which are used to process raw data, into detailed reports. Therefore, it is imperative that log analyzers are a bit more technical, as they work with raw data, compared with analytics applications, which are user friendly. There has been a debate, going on for e-commerce analytics, whether a business house should go for a paid version of analytics software or should they rely on the unpaid versions. Well, needless to say that any software which is paid will have more capabilities in terms of web traffic analysis, than a free version.

For, small business houses in terms of turnover, Google analytics or Yahoo analytics, can be of great help. They are free web based tools, which gives fair amount of research based analytics support to the users. However, if a company really wishes for an in-depth analysis, then there are a host of paid products to choose from. However, it would be worth-a-while here to mention that the analytic metric should contain the following parameters, in lucid manner. Perhaps the most important being the number of visitors, coming in to view the web page at any point of time. This would clearly indicate how well ones business has spread its roots into the market, both vertically and horizontally.

The next, important parameter on the list is “Specific Page Views”- which denotes the content of the pageviewed frequently. This would give a clear idea on the area of business which is on demand by the customers. In terms of e-commerce, it can be the category of merchandize most viewed. Building on this knowledge, the e-commerce organization can push in more products, sales, discounts on that category and also make other less viewed categories, more customer centric. Referral sites are a big boost to smaller business category, as they clearly show the type of incoming customer web traffic, diverted from other sites.For example, if a potential customer is seen visiting the sports goods section of the website, from a sport medicine web page, then it can be easily concluded, that sport medicine is also one of the items in demand along with sport goods, and the said organization may target sport medicine customer traffic, to boost sales. Bounce rate for a web page, denotes the number of visitors, who has just touched the page and diverted himself to other page, before the first page could be loaded. This gives a detailed behavioral pattern and insight to make the page better.

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