Launched during the Google Analytics’ partner summit, Google has taken a fairly huge step in customer understanding by releasing ‘Enhanced Ecommerce’ functionality across the platform.

This latest update is a major change to specifically understand customer behaviour and the effectiveness of merchandising efforts, away from attempting to understand products within GA using transactional data alone and covers a number of new opportunities.

The changes include a series of funnel based reports, widening of the use of the Product ID dimension and Google Tag Manager support for the new functionality, all available through any standard GA account (Universal Analytics only).

So what’s so different?

Well. In a recent briefing, Head of Google Analytics Premium, Jody Shapiro, emphasised ecommerce retailers trending towards a much richer understanding of shopping habits, sales regeneration activities, understanding on and offline and the effective segmentation of customers.

Google is pushing towards new analytics functionality allowing for improved data collection, organisation and analysis, and activation of that data.

The move to Universal Analytics and the measurement protocol has enabled new data sets to be sent to GA either through tags or data layers, or through importing directly.

This latest change is not just GA re-purposing ecommerce to import more product data, it allows for a much more in depth analysis and evaluation of that data, as described on its blog.

What examples of insights are there?

First off, you will be able to build customisable funnels that relate to customer behaviour within your shopping process (mixing individual product views, behavioural events and transactions) to gain a true reflection of performance.

Merchants will be able to understand how far through the buying process customers are getting allowing definition of your most travelled paths, biggest exits, look for the biggest wins… all standard optimisation stuff, but this time on enhanced data sets.

Cross these new funnels and reports with your existing (and new) customer segments. Do customers from different regions demonstrate behavioural issues when they experience your delivery options? Do new visitors struggle with registering before making a purchase?

Link to Adwords and Google Ad Network allow for segments to be created directly from the funnels allow identified behaviours to become target groups without leaving the analysis.

Checkout abandoners are the most obvious, but drop outs at registration or any other stage of the process are easily identifiable for remarketing efforts.

Extend the amount of metadata available for products, and new product orientated reports allow you to understand performance by product groups, brand and category – do different products perform better when listed in a different way? What are the similarities in sales across brands?

The changes include new reports for:

Shopping behaviour

Providing assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the whole purchase funnel, starting at product views, the whole shopping experience can be mapped.

Customisable to accommodate the specific elements unique to your checkout, this will show user flow through key elements such as product views, add to cart etc. are available.GA Shopping Behaviour

Checkout behaviour

Specifically looks to identify the path through the checkout process, which are more customisable than previous goal based URL analysis by allowing specific events to be sent to GA to integrate as key moments of the checkout process.

GA Checkout Behaviour

Product performance

This provides a counter point to the aggregate performance of all purchases by allowing evaluation of individual products, split into two sets of metrics from sales performance (revenue, quantity etc.) to shopping behaviour (product views, added/removed from cart and details to cart ratios).GA Product Performance

Product list performance

One element that has always frustrated is managing intra-site marketing.

GA address this with product list performance reports, allowing evaluation of how products perform when grouped with other products using new dimensions such as the Product List Name and Product List Position.

GA Product List Performance

Coupon and affiliate marketing

This allows tracking of transactions that include product or order coupons as well as conversions that are a result of affiliate marketing, associating metrics for revenue, unique purchases and average product revenue per purchase / average order value.

Along with these report changes, it is also now possible to import product data into GA to reduce the amount of data required with each interaction.

By using a unique product ID you can associate the product metrics with new dimensions such as product brand, and a five level hierarchy for product category, all of which can be pre-loaded along with any sensitive metrics such as margin, which you would not like to be sent through the publicly available measurement protocol.

What can I do to get this?

The features are being rolled over the next few weeks, so you’ll be getting it soon.

It appears as a view level setting in your Analytics admin, along with a series of custom labels for your checkout process.

Ecommerce Set Up Setting

There are some specific changes that you’ll need to make to take advantage of this. These include:

  • Conduct a review of your site from a shopping and product, rather than page, perspective. Get an idea of what the key elements in your shopping funnel are, how you group your product sets, what key behaviours are important to you…
  • Tagging changes. As you would expect, if you want to be able to track these new interactions, then you’ll need to send them in the tags, or add them to your data layer.All this information is in the associated guides and phased implementations to work yourself into the new structure is possible. Also, GTM support is available.
  • Increased meta data. Previously, products could be categorised and SKUs added, however the new extensions to this data, and the ability to upload reference information can be exploited. Work through how you can create regular uploads of this information and what structure is required.

I’ve only covered the main report changes in this blog post and will revisit once we have had a chance to fully implement the functionality.

There appear to be a number of opportunities available for Econsultancy, especially around conversion rate optimisation and user behaviour.

As we are wouldn’t class ourselves as merchants we’d love to hear your comments on what is valuable or important from this latest update, along with what you feel about the direction Google Analytics are taking with their development plans…

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