Development of Automated eCommerce Reports That Put Focus on What Really Matters
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-saving
You 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 discipline
Data 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 onboarding
Having 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 downtime
In 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.
Many 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 report
To 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
Due to the ever-increasing demand for the systems to talk to each other, most of the SaaS developers make sure to use field labels & API names, that further can be matched easily with other systems.
Such a convergence of data from different sources helps users to get a bird’s eye view of all of the major processes, as many of the otherwise disconnected data points are related somehow in fact.
Major reports for eCommerce website
eCommerce 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).
Business Intelligence systems for eCommerce are often used to gather data and provide comprehensive reporting in visually appealing graphs and charts.
There is a set of eCommerce KPIs and metrics that are industry-wide standard. But depending on the factors above, owners may choose to direct more focus to certain types of data.
These are the most common eCommerce report types:
Providing 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
Usually these dashboards will have a percent deviation to the previous period as well as a column with MTD or YTD data – month to date and year to date cumulative data.
Product-related data is vital for bigger operations. One of the major losses in eCommerce happens along the lines of inventory management.
On one hand, you don't want to have too many items in your warehouse, tying up a lot of cash in stock you are not certain to be in a position to move.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you run out of a popular item in high season, you will lose sales and will have wasted marketing budgets as well.
Most of the product data comes from website tracking, warehouse management, and inventory management software.
You want to be looking at your top products sold, slow-moving items, major deviations in demand, average bill size, pricing, available inventory, and customer reviews.
Customer behavior reports
eCommerce user analysis is important because it signals the successes of your marketing and retention efforts: you want to make sure your return customers are growing proportionally to your new customers.
Keeping an eye on loyalty programs is also vital, as loyal users buy more and spend more.
Understanding your customer demographics is critical for efficient marketing efforts.
Orders, discounts, refunds, and average charges are all the lifeblood of any eCommerce project report.
eCommerce sales reporting provides a myriad of insights. Versatile actions can be taken based on this set of figures and trends with corresponding enhancements that result.
Data collected from diverse marketing channels like social media, email, and google ads is the foundation for business development.
While CEM will be looking closely at the data, a business owner should also have a bird’s eye view of major marketing metrics to enable adjustments to the strategy if needed.
Cashflow is one of those silent business killers. Too many startups have great traction and a market-tested idea, but no funds to get the business off the ground.
Keeping an eye on payments, cash flow, and debts portfolio will allow springing into action before it's too late.
Page loading speed is a make-it-or-break-it factor for eCommerce. Any type of technical delay has short-term and long-term consequences.
The data is too technical for a layman like a CEO, so a CTO should have those dashboards as a screen saver and multiple alerts set to raise timely awareness about any critical situation.
Custom development of automated reports for eCommerce
eCommerce owners have a few things to put up with, and whether they like it or not, data is one of them.
This is why developing company-wide standards for automated reporting is such a big deal. You do it once and reap benefits for the years to come.
If you need to integrate google analytics eCommerce reports with your online store’s CMS, choose eCommerce reporting tools that are right for your business or develop a custom automated solution for your online business – Zoolatech can help.
With a Silicon Valley management and development team in Ukraine, we offer jaw-dropping value-for-money in custom software development solutions. Want to know how little your custom automated reporting integration will cost? Talk to our chatty sales team.