Knowing and understanding your store performance is key to growth, and the more you expand, the more important it becomes. And while hearing the word “analytics” might make you want to stick your head in the sand, it doesn’t have to be complicated or boring!
The WooCommerce Analytics dashboard provides all the essential metrics you need and presents them in a visually pleasing, easy-to-understand way.
The following information is a summary, but you can view the full documentation to learn more about how data is calculated and how to customize reports.
Getting around: the key elements of WooCommerce Analytics
The WooCommerce Analytics dashboard is made up of three sections: Performance, Charts, and the Leaderboard.
The Performance section provides a snapshot of your store during a specific date range compared to a previous period. By default, it shows month-to-date performance so you can immediately see if sales are higher than the same month last year. But you can also choose data from the last week, quarter, or year.
The Charts section displays more details about the period you’ve selected, which can help you dive deeper into your store performance.
You can choose to show:
- Total Sales
- Net Sales
- Average Order Value
- Items Sold
- Discounted Orders
- Gross Discounted Amount
- Total Tax
- Order Tax
- Shipping Tax
- Gross Sales
To display the most relevant data for your store, look to the right of “Charts.” There, you can choose between bar graphs and line graphs or click the three dots to toggle specific reports on or off.
Clicking any of the charts will give you more information. For example, if you click the Orders chart, you’ll see a wider view of sales at various points throughout your chosen period. You’ll also see a list of each and every sale, which you can download as a CSV file.
The final section of the dashboard is the Leaderboard, which displays your top-performing categories and products.
Using chart and performance data to improve your store
The most important reports vary depending on your business, but let’s take a look at a few common ones and how you might interpret them to gain valuable insights.
Sales are the heartbeat of your store and, while they might not always equate to profitability, they are a quick way to assess your performance. First, check your total sales in a given month compared to the same month last year. In the Performance section next to each metric, you’ll see either a red or green box with a percentage. Aim to always keep this box green.
To get a glance at long-term trends, simply modify the date range. If you’ve never looked at analytics, you might be deceived by a red box this month and think you’re doing a bad job. But if you select a range starting with the beginning of the year, you might see that you’ve actually grown and it’s just a slow month.
The longer the date range, the more applicable the data becomes. Let’s say you’ve been in business for at least five years and, on January 1st, hired a new marketing manager. By selecting a period that goes back five years, you can see if the new manager has made an impact on sales.
Why is the date range so important? If you just look at one slow month, you might decide that the marketing manager isn’t helping. But if you see an overview of the last five years, you might see that your sales are down year over year, and the new employee is actually reversing the process.
Average order value
You know that it’s easier to keep existing customers than to find new ones. But if you want to increase revenue without new customers, you’ll need to increase average order size or purchase frequency.
Average order size is important for any strategy. Maybe you’re running a new Google Ads campaign. Though you find it expensive to acquire customers this way, your average order value is high enough that it makes the campaign profitable. This metric also helps you evaluate other marketing strategies like upsells and cross-sells.
Again, look at a wider date range to see if your average order value has increased or decreased over the years. What changes could account for the difference?
Returns are a quick indicator of customer satisfaction. Unhappy customers return products, don’t make repeat purchases, and don’t leave reviews (or worse, leave negative reviews).
Perhaps you’ve recently changed suppliers. The margins on your products have improved as a result and everything seems great. But returns have doubled since your new partnership, so you may need to reconsider and determine if the improved margins are worth the cost of returns and loss of loyal, repeat buyers.
The same thing goes for a change in return policy. Offering no-hassle returns can increase customer confidence and boost sales. But if the cost of processing returns swells too much, it can hurt your bottom line.
But it can also help you predict future returns. Do you have a massive cyber week sale on the horizon? An unexpected rash of returns could negatively impact cash flow. By looking back to last year’s sale, you might know to expect returns to swell 15% above average.
Discounted orders and net discounted amount
These are two different reports that tell you a lot about customer behavior and the impact that coupons have on your store.
Coupons and discounts are powerful ways to motivate customers to buy, but they can also be a liability if shoppers expect or abuse them. This report can help you spot both.
Are people redeeming substantially more coupons this month than last year? This might be cause for alarm or totally acceptable. Use the chart view to see if there are any days that peak significantly. If one or two days account for the majority of discounts, what could be the cause? An email with a promo code or a flash sale might be innocent explanations.
Look at a longer time period to see if you’re increasingly issuing discounts. Consider whether this will cause coupon fatigue, which occurs when customers are no longer motivated by sales because they’ve seen so many.
Have discounted orders increased by 10% every month for the last two years? You might worry, but make sure you compare that to the Orders report. If the number of orders increase at approximately the same rate, there’s really been no change.
These aren’t all of the available reports. Make sure you explore the full list at the top to see what might be most relevant for your store!
The last section of the Analytics dashboard is equally as fascinating. There are four leaderboards:
1. Top Customers, Total Spend
Knowing who your best customers are could change your eCommerce business entirely. Here are three ways you can make the most of this information:
The first is to reward them! Loyal customers can be hard to come by and marketing gets expensive, so when you find someone who’s truly passionate about your store, you want to keep them forever. Offer them a special gift, give them access to exclusive products, or treat them to discounts.
Secondly, you can also learn a lot from your loyal customers. Reach out to them with a survey or simple email and ask why they love your store and how you might improve.
Finally, this metric can be another indicator of your store’s health. In most cases, your best customer’s total spend won’t be much higher than someone in the middle of the pack. Why? If a few customers make up the majority of your revenue, losing one could have a major impact. A greater number of customers that spend about the same amount results in more financial security.
There’s one caveat: if you expand the date range to a year or more and almost all of your customers spent a similar amount, this could mean that you don’t have any repeat customers. Explore ways to get shoppers to come back again and again.
2. Top Coupons, Number of Orders
Which promotions worked best this quarter? Are any coupon codes floating around on the internet and being abused? You can easily answer these questions with the leaderboard.
If you’re struggling to determine what kind of promotion to run next, expand your date range to identify your all-time greatest performers. What do the top coupons all have in common?
Use this information to become a master promoter.
3. Top Categories, Items Sold
Get a quick view of the kinds of items that are your best performers. You can also modify the date range to evaluate trends and see if certain categories perform better during different times of the year. Maybe last year your best category was earrings, but this year, they’re near the bottom. What might be causing this trend and what can you do to bring back your earring sales?
4. Top Products, Items Sold
Similar to categories, you can quickly determine your biggest winners and identify trends to continue your growth. If you sell seasonal items, you might use last year’s data to predict what will perform well this year. You might spot an over-performing product in a category that, as a whole, is near the bottom. What can you learn from the success of that product that can boost its entire category?
Powerful data, simplified for growth
The Analytics dashboard was developed by eCommerce experts, with input from store owners who sell everything from consumer goods to professional services. It was designed to give you a quick overview of information that will help you grow your store.
Take a moment to identify the most important metrics for your business and regularly spend time evaluating that data to make the most of your success. You don’t need to be a data scientist — just get started!