Distributors with eCommerce sites have an enormous amount of data at their disposal, which increases every time someone visits their site. However, many don’t take advantage of this rich resource because they aren’t quite sure what to do with it.
That’s where analytics come into play. By tracking and measuring multiple data points related to a businesses’ website and marketing efforts, B2B professionals have access to invaluable insight related to how their buyers shop and engage with them. That insight can then be used to build a better user experience that drives engagement and supports a profitable online channel.
With help from the analytics experts at Matomo, this Beginner’s Guide to Analytics provides distributors with foundational advice for collecting and analyzing web and marketing data to understand the customer journey throughout all the different interactions they have with them.
Use an analytics dashboard to track progress against key metrics like number of monthly eCommerce orders, average order value, conversion rate, and more.
WHY USE ANALYTICS?
The success of an eCommerce site is determined by not only online traffic and sales, but also by alternate channels and marketing outreach. Effective omnichannel engagement is a key factor in a company’s overall profitability. In fact, according to Forrester, 60% of B2B executives say their customers spend more overall when they touch multiple channels.
Let’s say you’re getting a high volume of traffic coming through from your social media channels, but are they converting?
Many organizations use free tools like Google Analytics to track key web metrics, such as unique visitors, time on site, and top pages visited. However, Google Analytics does not track web activity by authenticated user (post-login). For that, companies often look to other analytical tools that integrate with their eCommerce platform. An open-source web analytics platform such as Matomo (formerly Piwik) gives organizations a comprehensive view of their data, as well as complete control to break down and evaluate their site’s effectiveness. Explains Matthieu Aubry, Founder of Matomo, “Analytics show you how all your channels are performing, where your audience is coming from, and if there’s an opportunity to invest in digital marketing on the channels where your customers are actively participating.”
For instance, if you’re wondering if social media is bringing you any ROI, eCommerce analytics can identify if you’re receiving a high level of engagement that is converting followers to buyers. It also shows if the time you spend on Facebook or LinkedIn marketing is translating to financial benefits.
In addition, analytics help monitor a business and correct data in the background. “Matomo gives you the tools to help understand the challenges that are preventing conversions,” notes Aubry. “Without these types of analytics, you’ll be in the dark and will have to guess how to remedy the problem.”
GET RESULTS BY TRACKING THE BASICS
If you want to paint a clearer picture of your eCommerce efforts, it is essential to track and analyze both web and marketing metrics. Marketing analytics focus on the events and content that influence and attract potential buyers, both on and off your site, such as SEO, calls to action, social media, and e-mails. Web analytics measure things related to visitor interactions and experiences that happen on your site, like page load times, bounce rates, and transactions. Make sure you’re familiar with and measuring every channel that can convert customers so you can reap the maximum benefits from them all.
Key web metrics to track include:
- Unique visitors – how many unique people come to your site over time. The goal is to get this trending up. You can also correlate events – such as a sales promotion, marketing campaign, or media coverage – with spikes in traffic.
- Pages per session – the average number of pages people look at during a single session on your site. Ideally, more page views equate to better engagement.
- Time on site – similar to pages per session, time on site can be used to measure buyer engagement.
- Bounce rate – the percentage of visitors to your website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate may indicate your messaging on that page is boring or not resonating with your audience.
- Top pages – the website pages that people visit most often. You will want to put even more emphasis on the content on these pages.
- Top exits – the website pages from which visitors most often leave your site after a session. There may be a problem with these pages, either technical or with the content.
For sales and marketing metrics, those starting out with eCommerce analytics typically look to measure:
- Abandoned carts – how often buyers place items in their shopping cart, but don’t follow through with the online purchase. Providing this information to sales can enable them to reach out to specific customers to see if they can close the business.
- Average order value – the average of all orders placed via your eCommerce This is a key metric to watch over time. Increases in order value indicate increased trust with placing large orders online and demonstrate your ability to up-sell related items on your site. You can compare this to orders placed offline and look for ways to improve.
- Average order volume – another key metric that reveals adoption of your site across existing customers and new business.
According to Jake Thornton, Marketing Manager at Matomo, distributors also need to identify which site content and digital marketing channels are driving conversions and, just as important, which are not driving conversions. “It may be that the funnel process to the checkout is too complex and needs simplifying, or maybe the call-to-action buttons aren’t clear enough,” says Thornton.
In addition, he stresses you also need to track and measure every interaction point. “Let’s say you’re getting a high volume of traffic coming through from your social media channels, but are they converting? If they are, which types of posts and messaging are getting higher conversions? Is there something on your website that is inconsistent from what the social post says? This is where you begin understanding patterns of behavior from your users, because all of these pieces play a role in how customers convert,” explains Thornton.
eCommerce analytics provide insights on all types of buyer behavior across channels. As you mature your analytical capabilities, you will want to start collecting and measuring the following data points:
- Micro conversions – they can help to build a picture of how people use your site and give you a clear indication of the steps they take before making a purchase. Consider tracking every time a person adds your website as a favorite, downloads a file, abandons their cart, or visits your site.
- Macro conversions – micro conversions are used to lead to macro conversions – the main goals of a website – which include online transactions, contact made via a URL, or the completion of an online form.
- SEO – continually look for SEO keyword trends and opportunities across multiple search engines (not just Google) including Bing, Yahoo, and so on. Be sure to analyze your data on a regular basis to see how your SEO is performing, and set benchmarks and targets that you want to reach using data-driven decision-making.
- Pay-per-click advertising – if you purchase pay-per-click ads on search engines or social media, this metric will help you track their profitability. Test campaigns in Google AdWords to see which ones are providing you with the best possible ROI. If you are a large business and already getting the most out of Google, consider investing in Bing Ads.
START WITH THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
One of the most common missteps companies make when engaging in analytics for the first time is that they start with raw data. Some companies hoard data with no idea how to make it actionable. Just because you can collect data doesn’t mean you should.
Instead, start your analytics journey by asking questions that will aid your business decision-making. Which channels are driving the most conversions on our site? Are online order values lower or higher than traditional orders and why? Keep it simple at first, then expand as your comfort grows.
You can be confident that the changes you make will improve your site because you can rely on the data rather than the guesswork.
Once you know the questions you need answered, turn to your analytics tools. But be aware that some tools have their limitations.
Free tools, such as the unpaid version of Google Analytics, use data sampling which means, once traffic or sales reach a specific limit in a given month, the tool makes data decisions based on trends and patterns rather than actual real data. A tool like Matomo never samples data – it captures and tracks your data, and your data only.
In addition, look for platforms that integrate the whole website analytics experience into one product. “Matomo has everything integrated into one platform, “ says Aubrey. “This allows you to see your customer journey at every touchpoint – from their visits on your social media page or home page, to when they watch a video, click on a product page, or add a product to their wish list.”
Full-line electrical distributor North Coast Electric (NCE) utilizes the Matomo tool with their eCommerce platform, CIMM2, from Unilog. NCE B2B Analyst Beau Babcock says average order value, abandoned cart value, and order value by month are of particular interest to them. “Our sales associate logins and actions are also useful for tracking employee engagement with the web store,” says Babcock.
NCE has found Matomo to be a real asset that helps them understand their customers’ journeys and find opportunities to build a better experience for everyone who visits their site. “Currently, we get more complete information in a more consumable format from Matomo than from Google Analytics,” says Babcock.
Another B2B company, Hill & Markes, uses analytics to classify traffic on their eCommerce site into one of four categories: New Visitors vs. Returning Customers and Researchers vs. Buyers.
“A researcher is someone who logs into the website, interacts with content, but still places the order via their sales rep or a customer service rep,” says Mike Powers, eCommerce Manager at Hill & Markes. “Nearly 10% of our total login account is attributed to researchers. We can identify nearly 2,000 customers who – on at least one occasion – logged into the website, but ordered through the traditional method. So we use our analytics to determine who these people are and how we can get them to complete an order online, which is much more cost effective for us.”
ADVANCE WITH ANALYTICS
Unilog has made the leap to analytics easier for distributors and wholesalers by building an integration between its eCommerce platform and Matomo’s software. In addition, Unilog can report on important data such as how many times a particular customer logs on to your site and what search terms they use most often.
There is a wealth of information available to you from your eCommerce site, so start taking advantage of it. Ease your way into analytics by starting with a few simple business questions pertaining to your eCommerce initiative that you want answered. Collect and measure the relevant data points against goals you set and take action to improve. Once you get comfortable with the process and tools, you can gradually build from there.
You’ll soon find that even small data measurement efforts will reap benefits.
Unilog is a global technology company that delivers powerful, affordable eCommerce solutions for the B2B marketplace. Our cloud-based eCommerce platform and product data enrichment services help distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers increase online sales, reduce cost to serve, and enhance their digital channel. Unilog is an ISO 9001:2008- and ISO 8000-certified company with North American headquarters outside of Philadelphia, PA and international headquarters in Bangalore, India. For more information, visit www.unilogcorp.com.
Matomo (formerly Piwik) is a leading open-source web analytics platform used by more than one million websites and apps in over 150 countries, and available in more than 50 languages. Their unique analytics products and services help you to configure, monitor, and make the most of your web analytics. For more information, visit https://matomo.org.