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Why do you need e-commerce (for stores and non-stores)

This article builds on the previous topic, Why do you need conversions, in which I described the different types of conversions in general. Transactions and data collected in Analytics in e-commerce reports are of a different type.

This time, I will focus on them. Here I present the collected information and describe to whom it can be useful, because, contrary to appearances, not only standard stores can benefit from this solution.

What you'll find in this article (you can jump straight to the part you want):

E-commerce: standard vs. enhanced

What you can find in the reports that you do not have in the store

For whom e-commerce may be useful

Analytics E-commerce FAQ

E-commerce: standard vs. enhanced

Simply put, in standard e-commerce, the data is sent from the order confirmation page and concerns the completed transaction. In enhanced e-commerce, data is sent from all steps of the shopping funnel, i.e. from product pages, from adding to cart, from the checkout (sometimes in separate steps) and finally from order confirmation page.

What data is sent?

Let's look at the code that is implemented on the end of the transaction:

The form of the code is predetermined, but of the data fields, some are mandatory and others are optional. Below you can find a brief overview:

Transaction - mandatory data:

  • transaction_id

  • value

  • currency

  • tax


  • shipping

Products (items) - mandatory data:

  • id - Product ID, e.g. SKU

  • name - product name, eg Darth Vader Black Helmet, Winter Weekend for Two

  • quantity - the number of purchased items

  • price - unit price of the product, only number, no currency


  • list name - sales list, e.g. Black Friday

  • brand

  • category

  • variant

  • list position - if you use lists such as Black Friday, this is where you enter the position of the product you purchased on that list; we count positions as in the code, from 0.

Analytics is prepared to accept all of the above data, but as you can see, only a part is needed to create a report.

In case of enhanced e-commerce, the data is similar, but relates to different situations:

On the products page: details about the main product from the page and others displayed in the panel below or next to it (so-called "impressions");

On the "Add to cart" button: details of the product being added to the basket;

On the checkout pages: details of the products ordered and indication of which step is the order ("step: 1", "step: 2", etc.);

By adding an e-commerce tracking code at all stages of the shopping funnel, you can find out what the customers were interested in, what they put in the cart, and what they ultimately bought.

And here we come to what the true value of E-commerce Reporting in Analytics is.

What you can find in the reports that you do not have in the store

You can analyse the path taken by the customer when placing the order.

In case of standard e-commerce, you can see from which source the people who made the purchase/order/reservation came. From the reports view, you can see which products are bestsellers, and effortlessly check which days and times the best selling times are, because the tables adjust the order of the presented data to how you sort them in columns. So, you can see which products or transactions made the most revenue, which were purchased after clicking on the ad, etc.

Enhanced E-commerce gives you even more interesting information, as it shows the number of sessions per order step. Just by using the Conversions > E-commerce > Shopping Behaviours report, you can see what the differences are in the number of visitors to successive pages along the conversion funnel. The first column from the left shows all sessions, above is the number of views, and below is how many sessions ended there. Another, usually lower, are product page views, and then - much lower - a column representing adding to the cart, checkout and finally the transaction itself. It is normal that the last three steps have significantly lower numbers. You only need to worry when one of the steps on the left has fewer views than the next one... See the screenshot below:

Missing data in "Sessions with Add to Basket" doesn't mean your customers magically skip this step. Rather, the code in the "add to cart" button is not working properly. So, this note on the report makes me take the phone to the webmaster and ask him to check what's going on in the cart page.

The last three columns should be about the same height. If there is a large session difference between the checkout and the transaction itself, it is worth looking at the page where the customer places the order in search for what may discourage him. Is the page loading slowly? Is the data entry form complicated or unreadable? Or maybe the shipping cost discourages him or the third-party payment service doesn't send him back to the store? Sometimes it is worth going through the purchasing yourself to feel the same as the customers.

For whom E-commerce may be useful

As you can see, e-commerce reports give a lot of interesting data for various types of conversions that have unique IDs. Therefore, it is not only traditional purchases such as shoes, clothes, cosmetics, machines, and trees, but also other orders. An example of a conversion tracked by an e-commerce code could be a service reservation: meetings, visits to the office, media package, parties in the escape room. I have already seen the use of e-commerce for booking travel services, trips and accommodation. The transaction does not always mean a purchase, sometimes the conversion is already a registration. The data collected in Analytics, however, allows drawing valuable conclusions for the company's further operations.

Mark, who rents rooms at MyBeautifulSeaResort, recently added a booking form to his blog and is now considering how to measure its effectiveness. Jolanta from the psychology micro company has registered visits from her website and is glad to see that so many people found her through Facebook, where she advertises. Monika, who teaches Norwegian courses, has created a sales page and watches where her future students live. Some come from Poland, some already live in Norway, and some connect to Asia Minor, which makes her think about what topics they may be interested in during lessons, what are welcome or not recommended behaviours in a multicultural environment.

And what do you need e-commerce for?

Analytics E-commerce FAQ

This article does not deal with the technical side of e-commerce implementation, but I take the opportunity to answer a few frequently repeated questions.

Q: I have 100 transactions in the store and only 94 in Analytics, why?

A: Not all users accept cookies of the website and in this case Analytics code does not track them. Another group are people who use ad-block extensions. The effect in both cases is the same: the JavaScript code does not fire and Analytics cannot see the sessions. On average, it is about 20% of sessions.

Q: Almost no transactions are recorded although the code has been correctly placed on the order confirmation page. Why?

A: Take a look at the shopping funnel - do customers end up on an external payment service and aren't automatically redirected to the order confirmation page? The data is collected only when the customer displays the page with the e-commerce code after completing the transaction.

Q: I have double the number of transactions as compared to the actual orders. What does it mean?

A: Most likely, the e-commerce tracking code was not only on the order confirmation page, but also, for example, in the last step before payment. Decide where you want to measure transactions and stick to that one place.

Q: In my company, some orders are via the on-line shop and some by phone. How can I make Analytics see them all?

A: You have the option to import additional transactions into Analytics via the Data Import option in Administration > Property. Remember that the source / medium of the transaction is then what you provide. For more information, see About Data Import from Google.

If you have questions or topics that are not covered here, and you are particularly interested in, write to me, I will be happy to help.



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