For a great number of aspiring entrepreneurs, e-commerce is one of the quickest and most efficient platforms for achieving success online. It’s basically the go-to option for everyone who is determined to get their hands on some real money ASAP.
There are numerous examples online which prove that, if you’re smart enough, you don’t really need to have your own product in order to run a successful e-commerce business. There are literally thousands of businesses out there that have made it big solely by drop shipping products from third-party manufacturers or buying and reselling merchandise from different distributors.
In order to create an e-commerce business, all you need is an online store and a plan. Thanks to services like Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce, setting up your e-commerce business has become as easy as pie.
But these are just the technicalities.
In order to actually develop a profitable e-commerce business, you need to do a lot more than just find products to sell, set up a website, and run different marketing campaigns.
There’s far more to it than meets the eye.
Running an e-commerce business demands making millions of decisions on the go concerning your website, product curation, user experience, marketing, etc. There are loads of different things that can make or break your e-commerce business at any given time, so it’s imperative that you constantly monitor all aspects of your business.
For example, while we are on the subject, the whole drop shipping business model can easily become your worst nightmare, if you don’t keep a close eye on your funds. You need to have in mind that “small expenses” are usually the ones that ruin businesses in this particular niche. Purchase price (the price you pay the manufacturers for their products), advertising, store maintenance, software licenses and renewals, wages (if you have any partners or employees) – these are all factors you need to have in mind when starting your e-commerce business. All you really get from any particular sale is a small percentage, so you have to learn how to operate within these borders and spend money only where it will bring you great ROI.
Having all that in mind, it’s now quite easy to understand why people who run e-commerce businesses tend to be quite demanding clients. Especially when it comes to marketing and reporting. If you’re a marketing agency or an independent contractor, I’m willing to bet that your e-commerce clients usually eat up the biggest chunks of your time. Most of them are profit and success-driven, and they need your help with making sense of their data and transforming it into new intelligent business strategies that will stimulate growth in almost every relevant department of their business.
Every good client report needs a good structure, just like every meeting needs a good agenda.
That being said, we at Reportz have decided to put an end to this problem. In the following segments of this article, we will provide the ultimate e-commerce reporting blueprint that will save you a bundle of time and help you successfully serve your e-commerce clients:
1. The Outline
As it has already been mentioned in the previous post on our blog: What are the Key Elements of Great Reports?, there are certain elements that every report needs to have in order for it to grab the recipient’s attention. First and foremost, it needs to have an objective, a.k.a. the reason why the client has invested in your services in the first place.
Secondly, it needs a good narrative that highlights all the themes and changes that have occurred since the time you have started working on a particular account up to the day you are mailing the report.
Also, the tone, format, and visuals of your report need to be tailored specifically to the recipient’s liking. The use of language, data, supporting images and graphics – all these elements should be adjusted to the people who are supposed to read your report. If, for an example, your client likes communicating in a more informal tone – do your best to match their preferences in this department, because that could make your client more receptive to the ideas and numbers that you’re sending them.
Always begin your reports with a summary. The practice has shown that most people use this segment to determine how much of your report they are actually going to read. The summary section enriches the document with context and outlines all the structures of the content presented in the report itself.
Even though everything written above seems like a 2-minute job, when you group these activities and calculate the minutes you have spent working on them – you’ll instantly notice that these things tend to eat a lot of your time. That’s why we at Reportz have invested our resources into developing theme-oriented templates. For example, as you can see from the screenshot below, we have created numerous preset dashboards, with predefined widgets that have everything you need in order to produce top-notch industry reports.
Once you select the template that best suits your needs (in this particular case, let’s say that is the “SEO E-commerce Template”), all that remains to do is connect the sources and start working on your report.
On the left side of your dashboard, you’ll see an option where you can easily additionally customize your dashboard, in case the template isn’t a 100 percent insync with your objectives.
2. Traffic Sources Report
This particular section of your report should be dedicated to helping e-commerce businessmen understand how well their current campaigns are working and how to improve their site content, advertising, or other forms of engagement.
This is where you should display visits from different sources and channels, like organic, paid, visits by device, and try to make sense of where visits are coming from and why. Yes, I’m talking about organic, paid, and referral traffic. Geolocations are also important here. Every single one of these metrics can be collected and displayed from the client’s Google Analytics account.
All you really need is to import your GA data using our custom widget option, and there you can filter, merge, display, and rearrange your numbers any way you like. Each dashboard is basically a giant, flexible blank space where you can add literally an unlimited number of widgets.
The key is to generate all the data and analyze where most of the client’s traffic is coming from – be it a search engine, a publication they collaborate with, or even a directory or any other channel you advertise through. Once you do that, the client will have a clear idea who he needs to target with his future marketing efforts, as well as how, and why.
3. Search Visibility
Every e-commerce client is interested in learning about their overall visibility in Google search. They all want to know which phrases lead people to their site and what particular landing pages are performing better than others.
This is quite logical when you think about it. Even though non-branded keywords matter, the ones that actually contain your brand name are your golden goose. People searching for your brand are far more likely to convert than those who are just searching for phrases and topics that are closely or loosely related to your business. This means they are aware of your brand and they have decided to engage with what you have to offer.
To track these metrics precisely, you can use a couple of different tools like Google Search Console, AdWords, and SEMRush. Top impressions, clicks, queries are all accessible via Google Search Console. All you have to do is open:
- Search Traffic > Search Analytics > Queries
- Check the “impressions” checkbox
- Remember to adjust the date range to match your needs.
That’s it. Naturally, you can follow all this data via Reportz using our Search Console widget.
This is the segment that will probably generate the most interest for your e-commerce clients. Tracking sales and revenue is basically a standard procedure for every type of business. E-commerce included. Regardless of what they do or sell online, all online retailers are interested in getting their hands on rich user data that will help them track more advanced KPIs at a behavioral level.
They are interested in knowing where the money comes from, which part of the sales funnel is working best, and which actions typically lead a sale or conversion.
Understanding these particular details will help your e-commerce clients make sense of their sales and revenue data, and thus – your worth in this particular equation.
Apart from tracking total revenue, revenue from organic, revenue per source, average ordering value, conversion rates by channel via your Reportz dashboard, you should also focus on spotting trends that tend to convert more visitors into actual shoppers/consumers in this segment of your report.
Tracking macro and micro conversions is important for every e-commerce business, and tracking the relationship between them should be a part of your regular routine.
4. Best Performing Products/Services
If your client has a big e-commerce business with a big product portfolio, keeping an eye on the bigger picture can be quite difficult for them. Especially when it comes to changes in their customer’s demands.
Even though most of your clients probably have a good sense of which product categories are performing better than others in their online store, they still need precise data to provide insight on how to position their products to maximize their search visibility.
This is where Google Analytics can help you once more. GA now has a Product List Performance Report, which you can easily integrate into your Reportz dashboard. It allows you to closely monitor how groups of products are performing in your online store. By collecting and analyzing customer engagement metrics for product lists, you can learn what you need to do in order to better place your products and maximize CTRs and conversion rates.
The Product List Performance Report groups products together based on search results or suggested products, which provides a clear picture of how well specific products are doing, compared to others.
It’s a cool and powerful feature, that will surely bring extra value to your reports and provide the client insights that could actually help them make better business decisions in the near future.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope it has provided everything you needed to know on how to create perfect marketing reports for your e-commerce clients. Even though each client is different and not all reports should look like this, our article still covers some of the most important elements that tend to end up in 90 percent of all e-commerce reports.