Automated reporting is a blessing to the eCommerce industry which is overwhelmed by data even as it depends on that data every day. Analysis paralysis is omnipresent among etailers for a reason: those with the audacity to start their online store are mostly driven by the passion and creative urge to bring an exciting product to the world. They often lack knowledge of the analytical side of online sales. Are you drowning in all the sales metrics and multiple dashboards, tired of switching between tools, and paying a small army of analysts to clean up data? Do you want to make sense out of retail data analytics and business intelligence once and for all? Read on about how automated eCommerce analysis reports can help your company keep your head above this over-the-brim full digital data pool.
What is automated reporting in eCommerce?
Automated eCommerce reports are a set of pre-programmed reports that combine data from different sources in a comprehensive format to be automatically compiled and distributed via email to assigned recipients at set periods.In simple English, these reports are integrated with all major software solutions managing your online real estate and gather multiple data points that have to do with user behavior on your site and across social networks. Once the data is collected, it is formed into neatly organized thematic reports and dashboards as per your liking and company strategy. They are scheduled to be sent out to a list of recipients by email at a specific time.
Benefits of automation in retail analytics
Time & resource-savingYou only need to invest time, mental effort, and resources once to integrate all the systems and channel data into one analytical engine – be it custom-made or a third party product, like a BI system. Once that is done, you only spend time immersing yourself in the fresh data sets, drawing insight from them, and adjusting your policy accordingly.
System and disciplineData is not exciting. Quite frankly, data is boring. The majority of people will have to make an effort to check out the daily stats and to drill down to check for inconsistencies. When you have your analytics all nicely scheduled at certain time intervals, you can set aside this time slot on your calendar for the reporting session to ensure proper attention is paid to this vital process.
On the same page + fast newcomers onboardingHaving an eCommerce performance report sent to everyone ensures all members of your team are always on the same page. Everyone is exposed to an agreed format of data at a specific time of the day, week, month, and year. Onboarding a new team member is easy in terms of exposure to information with the different roles having access to different data sets agreed upon according to the particular role.
Timely alerts about breaches, mistakes, hiccups, and downtimeIn online sales, time is a critical parameter. When an entrepreneur gets access to daily reporting and alerts set up for critical shifts in business patterns, the damage from potential mistakes and system failures is reduced to a minimum.
Easy-to-comprehend formatsMany of the software solutions offer to aggregate your data sources into rather digestible formats. Those graphs and charts have an incredibly compelling visual appeal to them, so that even a newbie can spot the trends. Check out some of the visual formats from the assortment offered by grow.com:
Data sources for eCommerce business reportTo be in a position to put together a helicopter-view type of reporting, eCommerce software developers need to get a lot of tracking systems interacting with each other. It is essential to integrate as many systems as possible with each other for the most comprehensive picture. As a minimum set, these software solutions are recommended as part of your daily reporting:
- eCommerce store
- Google suite of tools: Google analytics, ads, console, Tag Manager, etc.
- Facebook & Instagram Business Manager with Facebook Pixel tracking
- Other social media business accounts (LinkedIn, Twitter)
- CRM and/or ERP
- Delivery, warehouse, and inventory management software
- Email marketing software & other marketing messaging tools
- Call tracking software
- Payment systems & gateways
- Company excel sheets
Major reports for eCommerce websiteeCommerce analytics reports are diverse in scope and a business owner needs to be selective, choosing only the most pertinent one for review. The focus of a company owner on specific reports will depend on:
- The stage of development of the business (marketing is more important at the beginning, while costs and inventory management are critical for bigger operations)
- Number of SKUs served (for niche single-line products marketing reporting is almost always at the forefront)
- Competitiveness of the niche and products (the more competition there is in your niche, the stronger the focus that should be placed on the USP: price, delivery speed, customer service, etc.)
- Company hierarchy and duty distribution (a “one person show” operator will need to keep an eye on all types of analytics, while a multi-level organizational hierarchy allows department heads to focus on their own KPIs and leave the owners with major dashboard review only).
eCommerce DashboardProviding the highest-level overview, this report will have key metrics from each of the departmental tools, for example:
- Sales metrics: revenue made; items sold
- Marketing: top channels, channel mix, organic vs paid advertising
- Product data: top 5 product categories, top 3 biggest negative deviations
- Financial input: Payments received, outstanding amounts due, cash flow status snapshot
- Customer analytics: number of users, repeat vs new, loyalty discounts
- Technical alerts: downtime and any issues