If you have a store on the Miva Merchant platform, then you are likely engaged in eCommerce activities on your website. And in all likelihood, you have also used Google (Universal) Analytics to measure site performance. But the key question to answer is whether you are using Google Analytics at the level it can be used for Miva powered ecommerce sites. Read on to find out how to amp up web analytics for your Miva site.
eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics
First off, there are two modes in Google Analytics for eCommerce tracking. Strictly speaking, these are modes available in Universal Analytics. But since the product is popularly called Google Analytics, we will refer to it as such. The two modes are ‘standard’ mode and the ‘enhanced ecommerce’ mode. Let’s clarify the difference between these modes. The standard mode provides a simplistic view of eCommerce that provides basic information about the products purchased, the transaction value, shipping/tax information etc. With enhanced eCommerce, it becomes possible to track visitor activity at a very detailed level. For example, one is able to measure sessions with product detail views, the percent sessions with adds to cart, the percent of sessions that made it to the first step of checkout etc. In short, enhanced ecommerce allows building and tracking of “conversion funnels” to understand visitor behavior.
Why Use Google Analytics
The purpose of using Google Analytics is not to track and report on key metrics such as visitors, revenue, and transactions. Such information can be easily obtained through server logs or even the native Miva Merchant interface. The purpose of using web analytics should be to understand user behavior with an intent to improve the experience so that it results in measurable business performance improvements.
The most important way to do this is by building conversion funnels and then segmenting traffic in meaningful ways. Here are some key ways to segment traffic – by browser type/platform, by channel used to visit the site, by type of product shopped, by first time vs repeat visitors, customers vs non-customers. The reason we want to segment the conversion funnel using these segments is to identify pockets of people on the site that could convert better if the right motivation is provided.
Here are some essential guides to Google Analytics in general:
Maximizing Google Analytics For Miva Merchant
The Miva platform is highly flexible and can provide a large set of data for tracking. The trick is to know what data should be leveraged from Miva for analytics tracking.
Regardless of the type of eCommerce platform, here are three essential areas to track in Google Analytics:
- Sessions, transactions, revenue, AOV, and conversion trending over time
- Channel level traffic, revenue and conversion trending over time
- Category and product level revenue & conversion trending over time
The basic metrics such as sessions, traffic by channel, and even revenue are readily available in the enhanced ecommerce Google Analytics without much customization. However, to get to that next level of tracking, a significant amount of customization is needed depending on the platform your site is on.
For the Miva Merchant platform, these customizations can be done manually by a developer or you could avail of all these essentials by leveraging our Google Analytics module.
To maximize the use of Google Analytics for your Miva storefront, here are the key things to keep in mind:
- Look at the full picture
- Segment visitors in meaningful ways
- Develop useful ways to segment products data
- Track highly detailed conversion funnels
Let’s look at these topics in more detail.
1. Look at the big picture
Given that Miva is primarily an eCommerce platform, you may have a second platform such as WordPress that powers the content portions of your site (e.g. blog.website.com). In such cases, it becomes important to look at traffic from across both these sub-domains as belonging to the same domain. Without this step, traffic from the content sub-domain will show as referral traffic for the ecommerce site in Google Analytics.
The way to avoid this is by setting up cross-domain tracking on both platforms. First implement the cross domain tracking portion on your blog/content subdomain. For the Miva Merchant site, just enable the cross-domain tracking option in our Google Analytics module as shown below:
The only step left at this point is to apply a filter in Google Analytics to make it possible to differentiate between the Miva Merchant site and the blog site. Here’s a screenshot showing how this filter needs to be setup:
This setup will now allow you to be able to track pages by domain. You can always trim back the hostnames to minimize the prefix that will be applied to each page.
2. Segment visitors in meaningful ways
Segmentation is the cornerstone of robust web analytics. Segmenting data allows us to find patterns of behavior that were previously not evident. Some of the built in segments in Google Analytics are useful for visitor segmentation. These include location, technology, and new/repeat visitor segments.
What is not directly available in Google Analytics is the ability to differentiate between customers and non-customers. The reason this is a very important segment to look at is customers who are familiar with your brand and site will convert at a very different rate compared to visitors who have never purchased on your site before.
To be able to segment customers and non-customers, we have created functionality in the Miva Merchant Google Analytics module. It is as simple as checking a checkbox to start tracking customer ids in Google Analytics.
The way this works is that users that are not logged in and not cookied will be assigned an id that is based on a timestamp. If the user either logs in or purchases, the id will be updated to a Miva Merchant generated id. So you will then be able to create a segment using the string pattern that resembles Miva Merchant customer ids as the customers segment. Note that you will need to define dimension1 in Google Analytics as a visitor level dimension.
3. Develop Useful Ways to Segment Product Data
As mentioned before, analyzing category and product data for revenue and conversion performance is critical for those looking to improve their ecommerce site’s performance. By understanding the patterns in shopping and purchase behavior, it is possible to identify areas for improvement. For example, if a group of products consistently showed a lower than average product detail to carts ratio, then one can design ways to encourage visitors to add products to cart for that group of products. Of course, the key here is to be able to identify this group of products.
This identification can be done by segmenting products in ways that are relevant to your business. Miva Merchant provides a way to store information in custom fields at the product and the category level. By passing this information into Google Analytics, one can group products for analysis. For example, if a key factor for your business is size of the merchandise, then you could use a custom field to assign small, medium, and large size values to products. Once this data is passed into Google Analytics, it will then be possible for you to analyze revenue, conversion, and click performance for small, medium, and large sized products.
To enable this type of analysis, add custom fields to products or categories, populate them with values, and turn on custom field tracking in our Google Analytics module as shown in the screenshot below.
4. Track Highly Detailed Conversion Funnels
One can think of the process of shopping on a site to be a funnel with the top of the funnel being entries to the site, and the bottom being a purchase on the site. An ecommerce site’s conversion funnel has multiple parts:
- Entries via landing pages
- Category page views
- Product detail views
- Adds to cart
- Proceed to checkout as guest or logging in
- Selection of shipping options
- Selecting payment type
- Completing the transaction
Each of the above is a step in the conversion funnel that needs to be measured using conversion and abandonment rates. See our essential guide to ecommerce analytics for more information on ecommerce conversion tracking. For the Miva platform, this level of detailed conversion tracking is built into our Google Analytics module. Once implemented, you will be able to track detailed conversion metrics for pages including CTGY, PROD, ORDL, OSEL, OPAY, INVC etc.
Once you have implemented these four key performance tracking essentials for your Miva storefront, consider investing time to learn how to measure site performance using Google Analytics. Check out our knowledge base for advanced Google Analytics techniques.
In summary, to fully leverage the power of web analytics to optimize your Miva store, implement analytics right, and then invest time in learning how to use the advanced features in Google Analytics.