Shopify

17 Valuable Ecommerce Reports To Optimize Your Site

17-valuable-ecommerce-reports-to-optimize-your-site

Finding the correct ecommerce reports and uncovering customer insights could mean the difference between slow and steady growth or skyrocketing sales. 

Yet an endless amount of valuable data to mine can be a problem. In the words of Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, “Most businesses are data rich and information poor.” 

To guide you, we asked our in-house ecommerce experts to give you the inside scoop on how to get the most out of your ecommerce website analytics.

What is an ecommerce report?

An ecommerce report shows you information about your sales and how customers make purchases. Ecommerce reporting tools help you make better decisions about how to help your business grow by learning more about your customers, products, sales goals, marketing campaigns, and inventory management.

17 most valuable ecommerce reports

  1. Shopify’s overview dashboard
  2. Sales reports
  3. Sales by channel or traffic referrer
  4. Sales by billing country
  5. Sales by product
  6. Sales by customer name
  7. Sessions by device
  8. Top online store searches
  9. Profit margin
  10. Finances summary report
  11. Sales attributed to marketing
  12. Sessions attributed to marketing
  13. Online store cart analysis
  14. Month-end inventory snapshots
  15. Product sell-through rate
  16. ABC analysis by product
  17. Fulfillment, shipping, and delivery times

1. Shopify’s overview dashboard

This report gives you a holistic view of your products and conversion funnel, which can be used in conjunction with Google Analytics. You’ll get a quick snapshot of: 

  • Traffic
  • Orders
  • Visitor data
  • Sales

It’s important to look at this dashboard regularly to monitor your store’s performance across all sales channels.

 💡 Tip: Suppose you’ve been running your business for a few years but still generate a high percentage of revenue from new customers.

In that case, you may need to develop a retention strategy or invest more heavily in a loyalty program. On the flipside, if your business generates most of its revenue from repeat customers, it may be time to invest in acquiring new ones.

2. Sales reports

Accessible through your admin under Analytics > Reports, Shopify Plus sales reports provide helpful insights on sales and product details that reveal your customers’ buying habits based on criteria that are important to you.

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💡 Tip: You can look at sales over time, or by product, SKU, vendor, point-of-sale (POS) location, or staff reports to see the orders placed on a particular day, week, or month. 

The information gleaned can reveal seasonal sales trends and influence future product promotions.

In addition, you have access to sales information based on campaigns you’ve run, billing countries, customer details, and more to help inform future business decisions—like where to open a new retail store, or which customer segments to target for future business growth.

3. Sales by channel or traffic referrer

These two sales reports help you see what channels and traffic sources contribute the most to your revenue. 

The sales by channel report data will help you identify which channel sources are successful or underperforming, so you can adjust campaigns and sales strategies accordingly. 

Go to the Sales Channels settings page in your admin to add any sales channels that aren’t yet enabled in the report, and you’ll be able to track everything in one place.

Similar to sales by channel, the data in the sales by traffic referrer report provides a high-level overview of the top sources of traffic (or websites) that are driving the most revenue. 

💡 Tip: The data from this report can help to inform where to invest in future paid ad campaigns, or which sites you might want to approach to set up an affiliate program.

You can also determine findings such as if your brand recognition is high (e.g., if a lot of your traffic is direct, which means people remember your URL), or if your SEO is working (e.g., if your search engine referral traffic is doing well or not).

4. Sales by billing country

Viewing this report, you’ll learn what countries contribute the most to revenue. 

The information can help you determine where to invest in new markets. You can also drill down into a country to see what province or state performs best for targeting Facebook or Google ads in the future.

5. Sales by product

This report, broken down by total sales, will help you identify your bestselling products by season or time period and can guide product discounts or promotions. 

You can also see which products are returned most often, which can inform future inventory planning.

6. Sales by customer name

Improving customer brand loyalty can lead to significantly increased average profit per customer. 

You can use the sales by customer name report to find out who your best customers are, overall or over a specific timeframe, so you can target and tailor any loyalty programs to them.

💡 Tip: You can nurture your relationships with these brand loyalists or ambassadors by curating special discounts, user-generated content, memorable experiences, outreach, and rewards. 

You can also export this data to create a list of remarketing or lookalike audiences to identify more shoppers who share their characteristics.

7. Sessions by device

This behavior report identifies what percentage of your visits and sales come from desktop, mobile, tablets, and more, which can tell about your user experiences across devices. 

💡 Tip: If conversion rates and the bounce rate on one type of device are significantly higher than on another, you’ve got a cross-device problem. 

These metrics indicate that screen size might be negatively impacting user experience. As a result, this data may substantiate a website redesign to provide a mobile-first customer experience.

8. Top online store searches

Improving your site search can dramatically increase conversions and revenue. The top online store searches report identifies what people search for the most within your store. 

Notice that in the below example, account-related searches are high, indicating visitors and existing customers are struggling to find it, which may necessitate navigational changes. 

Category searches—like “mens” and “plus size”—also indicate possible issues with navigation.

💡 Tip: These final two reports will be of special interest to your accounting and finance teams, as they will help inform future budgeting decisions regarding your investments in ecommerce and other sales channels based on associated costs, liabilities, profits, sales, and more.

For example, profit margin reports help you avoid major ad expenditures on low-profit margin products, which could result in a negative return on investment. 

You can also identify high-selling, low-profit-margin products to bundle together with a high-profit margin product that’s not selling well. Likewise, the reports can assist with planning for future BOGO (buy one, get one) promotions.

9. Profit margin

The Profits section under Analytics > Reports, reveals costs, margins, and profit. In particular, the profit margins report enables you to drill down by product, variant SKU, and point-of-sale location to get a detailed view of your business’s gross profit and margins.

Note that these reports only work with the new “cost per item” feature enabled for your products in your Shopify reporting via the admin.

10. Finances summary report

Found under the Finances section within Analytics > Reports, this report is useful for accounting purposes and can be exported to your accounting software. 

The Finances summary page summarizes your sales, payments, liabilities, and gross profit data for the selected timeframe. Each section has links to related reports.

The Shopify Plus team often gets asked to explain how the “total sales” number is calculated on the platform. This report breaks it down for you line by line.

💡 Tip: You can also view this report more granularly and tweak the date range to suit your needs. Plus, you can narrow the data down to specific channels (e.g., POS sales in a province or state).

Like other analytics tools, you can add or remove different metrics (e.g., average order value, order quantity or return quantity), dimensions and filters (e.g., order ID, and sale kind) to all of these reports. 

You can also select a date range (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and YTD) as far back as your account started. You can customize reports to whatever you want to track.

In addition, you can export the file as a spreadsheet, or print the page for accounting purposes. 

Finally, you can save them as a custom report that will be dynamically generated based on the date you access it. Set it to a dynamic range so it automatically updates whenever you check the report.

11. Sales attributed to marketing

This report is one of the best ways to determine marketing performance. It shows you the number of sales that can be attributed to trackable marketing efforts. So if you’ve set up UTM parameters in Google Analytics, you’ll be able to use them to track your marketing results.

They’re categorized by “marketing event type,” meaning the channel in which your marketing takes place. So you can see, for example, whether you’re driving more sales through your Instagram posts or your PPC search advertising.

12. Sessions attributed to marketing

This marketing report shows how much web traffic is generated from each marketing campaign you run.

Attribution for an activity could involve a Facebook ad, an email drip campaign, or an influencer marketing campaign. Combining the sales and sessions attributed to marketing will give you an overall idea of how well your site converts visitors to sales.

Visitors to your site are not included in this figure. This is because visitors can return at least 30 minutes after their first visit to have multiple sessions. 

13. Online store cart analysis 

Keeping track of what your customers do with items in their shopping cart is extremely valuable. This report gives you ideas for upsells, bundles, and new marketing campaigns based on the products customers frequently add together.

People who buy your products, such as coffee makers, might add accessories like filters to their carts after they make a purchase. 

That’s a fairly straightforward example, but there are other less obvious match-ups that you might not notice at first glance. This report can be invaluable when looking for creative sales inspiration and wanting to increase your average order value (AOV).

14. Month-end inventory snapshot

Month-end inventory snapshots show how much stock you had at the end of the month for each product variant. This report includes product title, variant title, variant SKU, and ending quantity. With a month-end inventory snapshot, you can get insights to monitor inventory shrink, or determine sales performance by variant. 

15. Product sell-through rate

Product sell-through rate is the percentage of your total inventory sold during a certain period. It’s simple, easy to understand, and a key indicator of how things are going for your store.

It’s the total number of items sold divided by the total available, expressed as a percentage. So if you sell 50 items out of an inventory of 200, that’s 25%. 

The amount of available stock accounts for any restocks or additions during the selected period. It doesn’t reflect returns or other adjustments, just sales.

The amount sold is recorded on the last day of the time period. Because of the way the data is processed, the most recent time period you can look at in this report is two days prior.

16. ABC analysis by product

Wondering how each product variant is contributing to your overall sales? Use an ABC analysis report. In this report, each variant is given a grade (A, B, or C) based on the percentage of your total revenue it contributed to over the past 28 days.

It’s unlikely that every product line will contribute equally to your profits. And the balance might change throughout the year, especially if certain items sell more or less depending on the season. 

So this is a useful way to track what makes the biggest impact in different months, and plan your activities around them.

A-grade items are your top-selling products: the ones that collectively account for 80% of your revenue. B-grade products account for the next 15%, and those with a C-grade make up the remaining 5%.

How you interpret this report will depend on the nature of your ecommerce business. For example, you might find that C-grade items require more resources than they’re worth in terms of revenue. Or if you’re regularly selling out of A-grade items, you might want to invest in higher stock levels so you don’t miss out on sales.

17. Fulfillment, shipping, and delivery times

Customer satisfaction isn’t just dependent on your product—how it gets to them matters, too. And if it’s taking longer than expected, you’ve got a problem to solve.

Thefulfillment, shipping, and delivery times report shows you the time it takes for orders to be completed and the time taken for each step of the process. It covers the entire process, from order to delivery, so you can see which parts are meeting or exceeding customer expectations, and which aren’t.

You can see, for example, how many orders were fulfilled within three hours of being received. Or you can see shipping times, such as how many reached their destination within two days of the order.

Tips for analyzing ecommerce data

1. Remain consistent in your evaluations

Whether you already have one setup or are just getting started, it’s important to remain consistent in what you are evaluating. 

For example, whenever you look at sales trends, always use gross sales, net sales, or total sales to benchmark and monitor the changes over time. Measuring your store’s performance against a well-defined set of KPIs will also help you improve your business, without drowning in data.

2. Keep an eye on your checkout funnel

Jessica Kohl, Merchant Success Manager at Shopify Plus, recommends that you also keep an eye on your online store conversion rate and conversion funnel.

“Checkout funnel analysis helps to identify the percentage of customer drop-offs at different stages of the checkout. Doing so indicates different barriers and areas that need improvement to increase their trust, reduce fear, or investigate strange occurrences like shipping costs being higher than the product cost when you have a sale,” says Kohl. 

“If you discover specific barriers to conversion, you can use Shopify Scripts to customize and solve for different issues, like offering free standard shipping for VIP customers or first-time customer discounts.”

3. Check search results with zero results

You should also use a “top online store searches with no results” report to identify potential sales that are falling through the gaps. If you are seeing many searches left unmatched, then you should implement a smart search tool on your site, like Fast Simon

“Insights into how customers are searching for your product also lead to more intel on ways you can name products or keywords to use in your search PPC campaigns,” says Kohl.

4. Segment customer lifestyles by purchase

“As a data-driven organization,” says McGregor Button, VP Marketing at Linksoul, “we love having the ability to drill down into an individual customer profile, see all of their touch points across devices, and understand which touch point led to a sale. We love seeing a customer’s entire lifecycle and segment it out by different purchases.”

Best ecommerce reporting apps

In addition to Shopify’s own reporting tools, it integrates with many third-party apps for merchants needing more specialized functionalities and templates. 

Shopify’s App Store has reporting apps for everything from inventory management to customer lifetime value and marketing analytics. Here are some popular apps to try:

Making the most of your ecommerce reporting

The performance reports suggested in this post will help you develop an information-rich ecommerce analytics system.You’ll be able to understand everything about your store, from each customer’s journey to how well your marketing strategy is performing. 

Log into your Shopify store and go to Analytics > Reports on the left-side menu to generate reports. Here, you can choose a report from the list, or click “Create custom report” in the top left corner.

Ecommerce reports FAQ

What is the purpose of an ecommerce report?

You can spot problems in your store faster with ecommerce reports. They’re designed to help you make smart decisions about your inventory, pricing, product variants, and other important parts of your store. 

What should be included in an ecommerce report?

Ecommerce analytics reports will include data about sales trends, marketing campaign success, product performance, ecommerce site conversion rates, inventory status, and similar stats. 

Is Google Analytics good for ecommerce?

Yes, Google Analytics does have a range of features to aid ecommerce store owners. It helps them understand which marketing channels their online customers are being sent from, how they behave, and which parts of their site contribute the most to their sales. 

What’s the difference between an ecommerce report and an ecommerce dashboard?

An ecommerce dashboard usually shows you a collection of important metrics at a glance. It’s great for seeing key metrics like overall sales within a time period, or the amount of orders that were returned recently. But an ecommerce report gives you a specific data point that you can dive into. It’s a more comprehensive tool to uncover deeper insights about how things are going.

This originally appeared on Shopify Plus and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.

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