Archive for Marketing Guides

How Does Google Analytics Work For eCommerce Websites?

The average ecommerce website owner relies on a number of different avenues to evaluate their online store’s performance, and to determine what might be done to improve it. This could include things like reading user surveys, customer posts on social networks, and frequently asked questions, but these can only offer so much insight. The most valuable information is real user data that must be collected by specialized software. The statistics and metrics gathered by these types of software arm the ecommerce website owner with robust and actionable data. Since 2005, Google Analytics has become the most popular analytics software due to its ties to the Google search engine and Google Adwords. This, combined with the fact that it is completely free for the majority of its users has given Google Analytics a dominating market share. A paid premium version does exist for enterprise ecommerce websites.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a web analytics software and service that tracks all website traffic to your website. The data gathered can then be viewed in a number of intuitive, customizable reports. It is by far the most frequently used analytics software around, due to its robust feature set and alluring price tag (free for the majority of users). Additionally, GA isn’t just for websites; it can be used with mobile apps, digital kiosks and more.

How Does Google Analytics Work?

Simply collecting data can be valuable, but without meaningful extraction that data is just a pile of numbers. As such, this data must be analyzed and displayed in a meaningful way. Google Analytics utilizes a four step system to accomplish this feat:

1. Data Collection

The first step, of course, is to begin collecting data in real time as users navigate and interact with the website that is being tracked. After JavaScript code is placed in your website’s markup, it is able to collect and transmit information back to Google Analytics servers. Tracking of more sophisticated actions on the website, such as certain events or interactions, may require specific snippets of JavaScript to be placed within that specific element. For ecommerce websites, this data is collected in real time.

Every time a visitor arrives at your site, the JavaScript code is executed by the user’s web browser. At this point, as much information about the visitor as possible is collected, including date and time of the session, device type, operating system, screen resolution, location, etc. Some of this information may not be readily available to the JavaScript code depending on the specific settings of any given visitors browser and computer. After this initial information is collected, the code creates and stores a few cookies with some basic information about that visit on the visitors hard drive. Since Google has now required all searches be run under the https protocol, even less user information is available to the JavaScript code.

2. Data Processing

Raw data is only valuable if it is processed and displayed in a meaningful and understandable way. After data is collected by the JavaScript code, it is sent to Google’s service for data processing. This is when Google computes the data into useful metrics that can be used to evaluate site performance. Google has a number of “reports” that show different facets of the information collected, accessible within their GUI dashboard.

For an ecommerce site, one of the most important metrics available is revenue. Data processing allows you to view what search engines your revenue is being generated from, the average dollar value per transaction, etc. These are the types of meaningful metrics that are available only after the raw data is processed. It is then displayed in the Google Analytics admin, often combined with graphs and / or other visual elements to make for an even more intuitive experience.

3.Data Configuration

After your analytics data is processed, the data is manipulated to satisfy your specific settings and configuration. For example, you may have chosen to exclude your office’s IP address from the data so that your company’s use of the website does not affect your data. Once this data has been processed, it is sent to the a Google database for storing. Once this data has been processed, it cannot be altered. This is why it is important to create several different views of your website in Analytics, leaving an unfiltered view of your website’s data so that you always have the most accurate raw data, just in case you ever need to go back and look at something that your configuration may have prevented from tracking.

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Setting up custom filters allows you to exclude specific IP addresses and much more from affecting your analytical data.

4. Data Reporting

Google Analytics presents this information to its users utilizing a web interface typically accessed at This data can also be retrieved by a third party interface using Google’s Core Reporting API. For most purposes, Google’s interface is robust and intuitive enough, but some of the gigantic ecommerce sites may decide to choose a third party software that can better be customized to their exact needs. In fact, some of these companies don’t even use Google Analytics to collect the data, but use a third party service for that as well.

Google Analytics provides the ecommerce website owner with invaluable metrics and insight regarding how users are interacting with their website. From there, the webmaster is able to make informed decisions on how to best improve their ecommerce store.

A Comprehensive List of Must-Have Ecommerce Website Features

When it comes to eCommerce websites, it’s all about functionality, features, and design.

But what features are really most important for your success?

Let’s explore.

There are features you must have if you’re running an online business and have an eCommerce website. The features below are some of the standard eCommerce features for online stores and shopping cart platforms.

The success of many websites is determined by not only the products offered and how well the website is marketed, but also by the features the website offer both the customer and the website owner. As a business owner, it is important that you have the tools to manage your website and that the administrative features fit with your business processes. For example, if you offer payment terms to your customer, you’ll need to be sure the platform you’re using gives you the ability to set a credit limit for a customer. Before diving into an eCommerce project, think carefully about the features needed, or you’ll be regretting it later!

The Most Important Ecommerce Features Include:

  • Content management capabilities
  • Promotion and discount code tools
  • An easy-to-use checkout
  • Search engine optimized code and layout
  • Reporting tools
  • An integrated blog or articles section
  • Email marketing integration
  • Multiple payment options (Credit card, PayPal, PO, Terms, etc.)
  • The ability to scale up with your platform

Read all of the eCommerce features details below. For more information on our services visit our eCommerce website design page.



Catalog Management


  • Search and sort to easily find categories
  • Manage categories and sub-categories
  • Feature categories within navigation or on the homepage
  • Set categories as “active” or “inactive”
  • Set page URL’s and SEO elements for categories
  • Manage categories thumbnails and images


  • Manage brands
  • Feature brands on the homepage
  • Set brands as “active” or “inactive”
  • Set page URL’s and SEO elements for brands
  • Manage brand logos


  • Search and sort to easily find products in certain categories or with specific attributes
  • Easily manage and edit products
  • Product fields include name, SKU, product details, additional details, list price, your price, weight, stock, minimum quantity order amount,  handling fee and more.
  • Ability to select options such as featured, free shipping, reviews allowed, require moderation for reviews and more
  • Add and manage main product image and additional product images
  • Microsoft Word-like editor for managing content block, such as product details
  • Feature products on the homepage
  • Set products as “active” or “inactive”
  • Add products to a single category or multiple categories
  • Select product brand
  • Add and manage product options and option groups
  • Add and manage related products
  • Add and manage accessories
  • Attach and embed YouTube videos
  • Manage (approve and delete) product reviews
  • Set product page URL and SEO elements for products

Content Management


  • Manage content pages and create new content pages
  • Edit pages using a Microsoft Word-like content editor
  • Add images and manage uploaded image library
  • Image editing and cropping tool
  • Set page as “active” or “inactive”
  • Set page URL and SEO elements


  • Manage blog posts
  • Set blog publish date
  • Set post as “active” or “inactive”
  • Add blog summary and full blog post using Microsoft Word-like content editor
  • Add images and manage uploaded image library
  • Select blog category and author
  • Attached blog posts to product pages
  • Set post URL and SEO elements

Homepage Banners

  • Manage homepage banners
  • Set banner sort orders
  • Set banner URL or leave unlinked
  • Set banners as “active” or “inactive”


  • Manage your main navigations including header, side and footer
  • Add drop down to main navigation
  • Manage SEO elements on links such as link title
  • Set links to open in same or new window

Auto Email Messages

  • Manage main email template design
  • Set messaging for order status emails
  • Set messaging for thank you email on product reviews and blog comment submissions

Review Management

  • Manage all product reviews
  • Set reviews to “approved” or delete reviews

Comment Management

  • Manage all blog comments
  • Set comments to “approved” or delete comments 


Customer Management


  • Search and sort to easily find customers by first name and last name
  • Manage customer accounts
  • View customer details and previous orders
  • View individual customers product reviews
  • Add private comments to a customer
  • Delete customer accounts
  • Reset customer passwords
  • Export customers to Excel
  • Export customer subscribed to email newsletter to Excel (import capabilities for 3rd party email systems)

Order Management


  • Search and sort to easily find orders by specific variables
  • Manage and updated order status
  • View order number and all customer information
  • View order information and purchase details (products, tax, shipping, addresses, etc.)
  • Add private notes to the order
  • View shipping and billing address maps
  • Create and manage custom order statuses
  • Receive email when order is placed
  • Export orders to Excel


Discount & Promotion Management

Discount Codes

  • Create and manage discount codes
  • Add discount codes to categories, brand or products
  • Add discount codes that affect shipping
  • Set codes as “active” or “inactive”
  • Ability to set percentages off, amount off or a set price
  • “Auto Apply” discount codes when product added to cart option
  • Set and manage dates code is active
  • Set minimum and maximum quantity requirements for discount codes
  • Set number of times code can be used before automatically becoming inactive




  • Interactive administrative dashboard with charts and statistics
  • Ability to change dashboard statistics to reflect specific date ranges
  • Dashboard date-range reports include store sales by amount, store sales order volume, new customers vs. returning, top selling products, top selling brands, most used discount codes
  • Dashboard general reports (not based on date range) include low inventory reporting, total products in store, total categories in store, customer count, lifetime orders and lifetime revenue

Single Reports

  • Single reports, outside of the dashboard, include sales by date range, top selling product by date range, low inventory by quantity and new customer by date range.


Search Engine Optimization Management

Dynamic Titles

  • Manage all dynamic title tag structure throughout the website
  • Configure dynamic title and META tags for categories and sub-categories
  • Configure dynamic title and META tags for brand pages
  • Configure dynamic title and META tags for product pages

Specific Titles & Meta Information

  • Configure site wide default title and META tags
  • Configure homepage title and META tags
  • Set unique title, META tags and URL information for specific content pages, category, brand or product pages



Shipping Options

  • Set store static shipping rates based on weight, dollar amount and zone
  • Set specific price or percentage of order
  • Live shipping rates based on shipping address utilizing UPS, USPS and FedEx
  • Set and manage shipping discount codes and promotions
  • Set free shipping on individual products
  • Set your stores origin of shipment zip code and country code
  • Active and deactivate shipping carriers
  • Manage UPS, USPS & FedEx available shipping services (ground, first-class, express, etc.)

Payment Options

  • Active and deactivate payment types available
  • Manage account settings
  • Manage PayPal account settings
  • Allow offline payment option

Taxes & Locations

  • Manage countries available
  • Manage tax rates for each US State or Canadian province by percentage
  • Activate and deactivate countries
  • Set shipping zones per state or province

Email Configuration

  • Set email server configuration and store email address
  • Fields include server name, server port, username, password, enable SSL and store email address
  • * Email will be configured during development

Administration Users

    • Add and delete administration logins with name, email and password