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How To
July 7, 2021
Get the most out of Shopify Analytics
Learn how to extract insights that help you scale your Shopify store

Running an eCommerce store is very much like flying a plane - you can reach unprecedented heights, but you won't be able to do it blindfolded. 

You have to see where you are going to touch the skies.

E-commerce analytics gives you the guidance to make the right choice and scale your online store to new heights. 

In this article, we will take a deep dive into Shopify Analytics

What is Shopify Analytics?

Shopify offers analytics as an out-of-the-box default service to all Shopify store owners and admins. 

You don’t have to do any custom coding or additional work to access a rich ecosystem of dashboards and analytics reports for business intelligence provided by Shopify.

The specific reports you can see in Shopify Analytics will depend on your Shopify plan

How does Shopify Analytics help you grow and scale your online store?

The analytic reports offered by Shopify are not going to help you scale your store by itself.

You have to actively analyze the data to get insights into how to make better decisions.

How do you go about extracting insights from Shopify analytics? Where do you start?

There are three main approaches for turning data into insights:

  1. Answer your most pressing business questions with data. Start with a business need - an operational nag that is bothering you - and find an answer. “What product should I reorder?” - check the most sold products by SKU. “Are my discounts too high” - analyze the profit margin reports. And so on.
  2. Fix leaky funnels. Every purchase is the result of a set of steps that we call a “funnel”. Your customers might have gone through the advertising funnel: See a Facebook ad > click on ad > land on product page > add item to cart > initiate checkout > finish checkout. Or they might have gone through an email upsell funnel: receive email > open email > click link with discount > land on product page > add item to cart > initiate checkout > finish checkout. No matter which funnels customers went through, no funnel is ever perfect. Users go through funnels until they encounter a friction point, a distraction, or something that makes them say “Nah, not today”. Your job is to use conversion reports to understand what those drop-off points are and fix them, so you stop leaking potential customers. 
  3. Obsess over improving the baseline. How do you scale a store? One purchase at a time. Obsess over the key data that tells you a story about that purchase. How many visitors have you had this month? How many of them converted into customers? What was their average order value? Each of those data points can be turned into a key metric. Use that key metric as a baseline and start brainstorming what activities would make the metric grow. Use data as a feedback loop that tells you if you are growing the right metrics for your e-store scaling.

All three approaches are recipes for success. But they need data to make the recipe work. Let’s take a look at what data and reports are offered by Shopify Analytics to help you turn your raw data into scaling insights.

[GUIDE] The most important parts of Shopify Analytics

Shopify Analytics has three main reporting views that you can access from your store dashboard:

  1. Analytics > Dashboards. This view takes you to the Overview dashboard that offers all the key metrics at a glance. You can use the date filter on top to show metrics for a different time range. 
  2. Analytics > Reports. The reports dive deeper into the metrics presented in the Overview dashboard. You can slice and dice the reports here by their topic (Sales, Orders, Acquisition, …)
  3. Analytics > Live View. Live View gives you real-time insight into what your store visitors are doing right now. Look at them browsing and shopping.

Let us dive deeper into the Overview dashboard and take a look at the most important metrics there:

  • Total sales. Shows you the total revenue (or gross sales) in the filtered time period. The visualization below the metrics showcases sales over time (by hour/day/week). 
  • Total orders. The number of orders (or transactions or purchases) that came from across all sales channels.
  • Online store conversion rate. The view takes you through your checkout funnel. From how many (and what percentage) users added items to the cart to what number and percentage of visitors converted (purchased). This is the most important conversion funnel for you to optimize. 
  • Top products by units sold. List of products by the number of items sold. Signals which products are more popular and are flying off the shelves. 
  • Sales by social source. The number of sales that originated from social media channels, such as Instagram, Facebook, etc.
  • Top referrers by sessions. The top external websites that drove visitors to your store. Use it to understand who to partner with and what type of content engages your visitors.
  • Online store sessions. The number of visitor sessions. You can think of it as traffic to your store. Keep in mind, the same user can produce multiple sessions, so this metric is not directly related to the number of visitors, rather, it tells you how much traffic was on your store.
  • Online store sessions by location. The number of store sessions by country. Get an idea of where your visitors are coming from. Super useful to understand where to expand next, whether you need product translations to make your store more user-friendly, and all other considerations when localizing your digital presence. 
  • Average order value. Gives you a dollar estimate of the average order size. Takes all orders - including taxes, shipping, and discounts (but not refunds!) - and divides their value by the number of orders. 
  • Top landing pages by sessions. Identify the landing pages where visitors first entered your e-shop and what volume of sessions can be associated with any given landing page. 
  • Returning customer rate. The percentage of customers that have placed more than one order from your store, out of customers that placed an order within the selected date range. This informs you if your orders are mostly driven by new customers (low %) or by repurchasers (high %). 
  • Online store sessions by device type. Gives you a breakdown of the type of device your visitors were using when browsing your store. The split between mobile devices and desktops can inform you of the customer experience of your soon-to-be customers. 

The metrics in the Overview dashboard give you a big-picture outline of your store’s performance. 

When you want to dive deeper, you can check the more detailed reports organized by topics:

  • Sales. Here you can find answers to questions about the best-sold products, how sales differ by the product vendor or the discount, which traffic referrer brings the most sales, are there differences in sales for different billing locations and checkout currencies, etc.
  • Orders. Orders reports offer you insights into the fulfillment operations and returns.
  • Customers. These reports open a window into who your typical customer is: who are the loyal customers, how many customers out of your customer base are returning purchasers, where are your customers based on the globe, and so on.
  • Finances. Finances help you run a smooth operation. Take a deep dive into total sales, taxes, and payment information. 
  • Inventory. Inventory reports help you track and understand the movement of your products for more efficient inventory management.
  • Acquisition. Acquisition reports deep dive into what factors drive traffic to your store.
  • Profit margin. Profit margin helps you keep an eye on the end profitability of your operations by product and product SKUs.
  • Behavior. The behavior reports offer introspections into store usage that were not present in the Overview dashboard. Namely, the Top online store searches and Top online store searches with no results reports tell you a story about what your customers searched for (and should be showcased higher on your page) and what search term queries returned no results. The latter can inform your product procurement - if a lot of customers search for a specific product that you do not offer, make sure to add the product to your product portfolio and test it.
  • Marketing. The marketing reports help you understand what marketing campaigns drive traffic to your store, and what marketing efforts actually succeeded in converting that traffic to orders. 
  • Custom reports. Shopify offers a lot of reports by default. But if you cannot find a report with the data you need, you can always create a custom report and explore the stories behind the data points. 

The eCommerce platform offers a wide range of analytics dashboards, but Shopify Analytics has certain gaps that cannot be filled by Shopify alone. 

Sooner or later you will ask business questions that cannot be answered by Shopify reports. 

Shortcomings of Shopify Analytics

Shopify Analytics does not enable you to:

  1. Drill down further into metrics. The analytics tool is powerful, but when you want to dive deeper into the metrics you cannot. This is why Shopify users often connect their stores with their Google Analytics account and enable enhanced eCommerce tracking that gives them more information (such as interest reports). 
  2. Enrich data. Often you want to inject additional data into your existing ones to get a better understanding of what is happening. For example, you want to add customer information to their orders, so you can segment the orders by customer personas or demographics. Shopify - unfortunately - does not allow data enrichment. 
  3. Cross-analyze data from different platforms. If you want to calculate important eCommerce metrics such as Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) or Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), you have to combine data across all your data sources. For example, you can calculate CAC by summing all your marketing expenses from Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and Linkedin Ads (three separate data platforms) and divide that by the number of new customers (from Shopify).

Luckily, devoted tools can help you bridge the gaps of Shopify Analytics.

Keboola was built to help you get more value from your existing data without additional sweat or engineering prowess. 

Keboola can help you bridge the gaps in Shopify Analytics

Keboola is a data platform that helps you extract value from your data automatically without spending weeks on heavy lifting the data yourself.

How can Keboola help you get more out of Shopify Analytics?

  1. Keep all your existing Shopify Analytics insights. You do not have to say goodbye to Shopify and start working in Keboola. You can just reuse the data from Shopify Analytics within Keboola. Below we present a simple tutorial of how to connect the two platforms to start analyzing data today.
  2. Join all your data sources in one place. Keboola connects natively to over 250 data sources and destinations, including advertising platforms (Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Linkedin Ads, …), marketing and communication tools (Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Mailgun, …), social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook pages, Twitter, ...) and a myriad more. You can use Keboola to bring all your data sources under one roof and have all the necessary data to create your own dashboards that showcase a holistic picture across all your endeavors. 
  3. Automate the heavy lifting end-to-end. The philosophy behind Keboola is “set it and forget it”. Once you set up a pipeline that extracts data from a source, analyzes it (yes Keboola has tools for that as well), and visualizes it, you can set the pipeline on autopilot. 

Let’s take a look at how to set up data extraction from Shopify to Keboola.

[TUTORIAL] How to get your data from Shopify to Keboola?

Send your Shopify data to Keboola in 3 simple steps. 

The entire configuration will take you approximately 10 minutes. 

At the end of this tutorial, you will have all the detailed Shopify information at your disposal to analyze, slice and dice, and enrich with information from other sources to extract better insights for your online shop.

STEP 1: Get your Shopify store ready for collecting data by enabling private apps.

Start by enabling private apps. Private apps are custom-designed applications - such as Keboola’s Shopify extractor - that allow you to work with Shopify data directly.

To enable private apps:

  1. Log in to your store as the store owner.
  2. From your Shopify admin, go to Apps.

3. Click Manage private apps.

  1. Click Enable private apps.

5. Read and check the terms, and then click Enable private app development.

STEP 2: Create a private application.

Create a private application that will have the rights to export data from Shopify to Keboola.

  1. Click on the button “Create private app”

2. Give your app a name (we called it “Keboola Data Connection”) and enter an emergency developer email.

  1. Enable “Read Access” in Admin permissions for “Orders”, “Products”, and “Customers”

4. Click “Save” at the bottom of the page and confirm your private app on the pop-up.

5. Upon successful app creation, you will find API credentials under “Admin API” on the top of the page. The credentials will allow you to access your data programmatically from Keboola. Keep API credentials confidential just like you would any other password

STEP 3: Set up Keboola to receive Shopify data.

  1. Log into your Keboola account. If you do not have an account, create a free one. 
  1. Click on “Components” in the navigation bar > search for “Shopify” in the search bar > click “Enable this”. You will be taken to a configuration page for the Shopify extractor.
  1. Enter your admin password for the private app you generated beforehand and the name of your shop into the configuration panel. Click “Save”.

4. Click “Run component” on top of the page to start exporting data from Shopify to Keboola. You can check whether the run has successfully completed under “Jobs”.

5. Keboola will now automatically extract data from your Shopify store and create tables rich with information about your orders, products, and customers. You can find all the automatically generated tables under the tab Storage.

All the raw data is now at your fingertips. 

Start building your own analytics dashboards to better understand your customers’ behavior, order dynamics, and product trends.

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