7 Steps Guide to Choose the Right eCommerce Analytics Platform

The last few years have seen a lot of eCommerce businesses growing rapidly. One of the most important reasons behind this growth is that a lot of people have switched to buying online. To offer their customers a seamless shopping experience, it has become crucial for online retailers to choose the right technology solutions too. 

Deciding which analytics platform to choose to enhance your business may seem complex and challenging; because let’s face it, how good or bad the user experience is depends on how smoothly your eCommerce portal is functioning. And, while coming to a decision is challenging, once you finally do select the right platform, believe us your work will be simplified a lot!

So, why is choosing the right analytics platform so crucial for your eCommerce business? 

When you operate online, there are plenty of activities that you need to keep a tab on. For example: how are customers reaching your eCommerce store, which pages are they visiting most frequently, which pages are they dropping off too quickly from, which channels are getting you the most organic and paid traffic, amongst many others. An eCommerce analytics tool helps you to grab all this crucial data so that you can:

  • Capture, store and organize all the relevant customer data to improve engagement and effectiveness on your website.
  • Map your business performance on the back end, and make process changes accordingly if needed. 
  • Make strategic business decisions based on the data collected to propel your marketing strategy further

Today, many analytics softwares are also integrated with other business tools to take your analytics game to a whole new level!

What all should you keep in mind when selecting the right analytics platform for your business?

Some of the most fundamental questions that you must ask yourself before opting for an analytics software are as follows:

  • Why do I need an analytics tool?
  • What sort of data do I require this tool to give me?
  • What kind of business actions will be driven by this data?

Let us deep dive into this! There are certain parameters that you need to keep in mind before finally zeroing in on an analytics platform of your choice. Some of the most important ones include:

1. Business and website goals:

A major part of choosing which analytics platform suits you best is by understanding your business needs first. Matching your business needs with your marketing strategy and business processes is vital to your success. 

For example: If your goal is to expand your business nationally, you will need a tool that tracks geography-wise data of visitor, page view, conversion etc.

Moreover, the data captured on an analytics platform is very crucial, and you might lose a lot of it in migrating your analytics software. Therefore, it’s important to always keep your long term goal in consideration when selecting a web analytics platform. Other than the defined goals, every business may also have some unique requirements. Hence, choosing an analytics platform that allows scope of customization to fit your exact analytical requirements is a great idea.

2. Data volume:

Depending on the volume of business you have, the volume of data will also get affected. As and when the business grows, the volume of transactions, the number of users you are trying to support, and the depth of analysis will all increase. In such cases of huge volumes of data, the analytics platform may not record all data and start extrapolating. Even if it records all of it, some data might still get missed due to heavy data load. This will eventually hamper the platform’s performance when creating and viewing reports. Therefore, when selecting an analytics platform for your business, it is very crucial to also consider the volume of data generated.

3. Pricing:

With every strategic move that you make, the first thing that you base your decisions on is the pricing factor. And this matters, whether you are an established eCommerce chain or a new one testing the markets and looking to expand. Depending on the type of analytical platform you go for (hosted or self-hosted), the price will vary and there will be a monthly charge that you will have to incur. Hence, while selecting the platform, you should plan for at least 2-3 years in the future, sometimes even longer. This is because shifting from one platform to another, as mentioned above, will lead to losing a lot of valuable historical data.

4. User Interface and Visualization:

One other major consideration while selecting an analytics platform is ease of usage and navigation. This is because you will base a lot of your business decisions on what you see on the platform. Hence, it must be user-friendly to the extent that even non-technical users should be able to create and understand the various dashboards and complex reports. Furthermore, if your dashboards are not visually appealing and are difficult to comprehend, it may have a negative impact on usage. The idea is to make your work easier, and not complicate it further!

5. Advanced Analytics:

Along with the basic results and details that you get through the analytics platform, you might need more elaborate analytical functions as well. The tool should enable you to collect custom and advanced-level data throughout the customer journey. It should also provide the functionality of creating custom reports using the available data, to make decision-making easier for your marketing team. At the end of the day, by incorporating such tools in your eCommerce business, you should aim to enable your stakeholders in making quicker and more accurate business decisions.

6. Multiple Sources Of Data:

Initially you might have an ecommerce setup that is confined, but you might want to expand; and in this case you might diversify into different business channels (Mobile apps, Stores, 3rd party marketplaces, etc.). When this happens, you would require an analytical platform that is open to compiling and analyzing data from different sources, and across different formats. An ideal analytical platform will allow you to switch and integrate data from different business sources and give you scalability. It basically gathers data from various systems onto a single dashboard so that you get a complete view of your business performance. 

7. Ability to Export Data via API:

As you grow your business, it will become harder for your marketing team to take decisions manually by looking into the data or performance graphs. Lots of insights will still be hidden. At a later stage, you may even want to incorporate personalization on the website. As a result, you might need some extensions or external tools. Your analytics platform should enable you to easily export and send data, otherwise a lot of re-work will be required to get all the data on the portal from various sources. This factor should be considered depending on the stage where you are at, and can be critical for any business that is too big.

All in all, the most important factor is mapping and keeping a track of how well your business is performing. The key takeaway is that you understand your business model and base your selection criteria on the kind of analytics you need. Having said that, the choice of analytical platform is good as long as it suits your business model and future growth plans. 

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