How To Use Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports Part 2: Shopping Behavior Reports
The Shopping Behavior Report segments all of your website sessions by the stage the user made in the buyer journey. If you have not set up Enhanced Ecommerce reporting in your Google Analytics account, this section will not be available to you. Follow these simple instructions to turn on Enhanced Ecommerce and start gathering this valuable data moving forward.
As you enter the Shopping Behavior report, you’ll see a blue bar graph that looks like this:
The blue bar represents the number of sessions that were involved in that specific step in the buyer journey. The first bar represents All Sessions, so that’s going to be however many site sessions happened in the selected period of time. While it defaults to All Users, you can segment this report down to any audience, whether it’s by traffic source, new/returning users, or a custom audience.
All Sessions then progresses on to four other behavior actions: Product Views, Add to Cart, Check-Out, and Transactions. The light gray percentages at the top of the graph reflect the percentage of total users that participated in that action, while the percentage in the gray arrow represents the percentage of users that progressed from the previous action. So in the example above, 19.52% of all users added to their cart, but in regards to the buyer journey, 34.36% of users that viewed a product, added to their cart.
Sessions with Product Views: This accounts for all of the users that viewed a product. With just this information, you can infer whether or not the user journey to getting to view actual products is successful. If this progression percentage is low, less than 40%, you’ll want to make some optimization updates on your homepage and landing pages to improve shopping progression.
Sessions with Add to Cart: This accounts for all of the users that added products to their cart. By looking at the gray progression arrow, you can also see what percentage of product viewers are adding to their cart. If this progression percentage is low optimization should be done on the individual product pages. The average add-to-cart rate is 5.2% and higher than 9% will put you in the top 20% of stores. Common areas of improvement are:
- Product Photography - Images should be high quality and taken with a solid background (preferably white). The more angles you take, the better. Try to show the front and back of the product at least, but shoppers appreciate video and lifestyle shots, as well. If your product is clothing or accessories, include model shots with sizing information.
- Product Details - All sizing and material information should be available in the product description. Shoppers should not have to scroll far or click into FAQs or other pages to find this information. Give as much information as possible on the product pages so users don’t have to leave (because there is no promise that they will come back).
- CTA - Is the “add to cart” functionality visible and easy to use? If it’s below the fold, shoppers might miss it if they do not scroll down. Adding to cart should be as easy as possible, the less users have to think about, the more likely they are to proceed.
Sessions with Check-Out: While this data is easily confused with the next progression, Sessions with Transactions, it actually reflects any type of check-out activity. That means loading check-out, inputting shipping information, billing or payment information, or placing an order. So Sessions with Check-Out does not always equal Sessions with Transactions, and it can be concerning if the progression percentage is low because it means users are not completing their purchases fully. This can be due to difficult check-out processes or because there are not enough types of payments accepted through your store. It’s important to also note the percentage of Check-Out Abandonment, noted in the red downward-facing arrow.
Sessions with Transactions: This data represents the number of completed purchases. You’ll want to note your conversion rate (the light gray percentage at the top), in the above example, it’s 16.34%. This number is the transactions divided by the total sessions, NOT the progression percentage. It’s important to note that these transactions might not have followed the entire buyer journey laid out in this chart, as a user might have abandoned their cart and come back in another session to make the transaction. The average ecommerce conversion rate is 3%, but this number depends on your industry.
You can better understand your shop’s check-out and transaction data in Part 3 of the Google Analytics Ecommerce Reports: Check-Out Behavior Report.