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Archita Sharma on September 22, 2020 • 15 minute read
If you are selling products online, Shopify is definitely one of the e-commerce solutions to consider because it’s easy to set up, it’s secure and reliable, has powerful marketing tools, amazing app integrations, and much more.
But, how can you take advantage of all of these amazing Shopify features?
In this ultimate Shopify guide, you are going to learn which Shopify features to implement, which Shopify metrics to track and report on, and how to build a Shopify dashboard for seamless reporting.
Let’s get started!
Why do merchants prefer Shopify to set up their online store? Let’s hear what couple dozens of experts we surveyed have to say.
It’s necessary to make your visitors & customers navigate better on your website. And apart from that, showing your other products apart from what the user is viewing will help drive more conversion.
Melanie Musson of AutoInsuranceEZ says, “Consumer experience. Your consumers are what keeps you in business. Shopify simplifies their experience which ensures easier returns to you.”
Dan Young of Loud Digital says, “Shopify’s native ‘You May Also Like’ & Search function is excellent out of the box compared to most other platforms and drive more value out of every user.”
Any e-commerce platform when integrated well with your other apps allows marketing, sales & customer support to align better.
Ben Froedge of Store Strength says, “Standalone platforms with a lot of features are great. Even better if they are responsive to user needs and grow with their customers”.
But when they give others the ability to quickly provide needed add-on functionality, the ecosystem grows beyond what one company is capable of, and builds a community stake in success.”
“Shopify has apps for everything you need to take your store to the next level. From landing page builders to upsell apps you can everything you need”, says Nate Rodriguez of LIFTOFF Digital.
Adding to that, Zac Johnson of Blogging.org says, “This allows e-commerce sites to quickly differentiate themselves from other general online stores.”
Integration with Klaviyo: “One of the most powerful tools in E-Commerce is engaging with new and returning customers via email. So, in my opinion, the integration Shopify offers with tools like Klaviyo and all the data it feeds back and forth is extremely powerful in nurturing that sales cycle”, says Lindsay Moura of SilverTech.
Integration with Referral Candy: Liam Barnes of STEAK Life says, “Our business utilizes referral marketing, and the plugin Referral Candy is extremely useful to effectively integrate with our Shopify store and crucial to our success.”
In-built Abandoned cart recovery integration: Bryan Grey of Official Bryan Grey says, “People often forget around 99% of visitors to your website don’t buy anything on their first visit. With this feature, you can remind your visitors who have added things to a cart to come back and finish what they started. This is much closer to clicking that buy button and all they need is an encouraging nudge.”
You can check all the apps & integrations available for the Shopify platform on the Shopify App Store.
Related article: 15 Shopify Integrations to Supercharge Your Store
“Many inventory feeds are managed separately from the site that sells the products. This often leads to delays in changes being made. Having a site and inventory management all in one place leads to less confusion and more control for your business”, says Greg Trahan of Online Optimism.
Shopify makes it easy to manage the website and inventory under one roof.
Brenda Lackman of Ecom Queens says, “The most powerful Shopify feature is simply that everything is available in one place. Having everything in one place: the drag-and-drop website builder, the inventory, reporting, and order management ensures that the data is accurate because it all builds on top of each other.”
“Shopify checkout is probably the most powerful Shopify feature as it is designed using data from all of Shopify’s stores to make sure the checkout experience is as quick and seamless as possible”, says Mary-Rose Sutton of Mary-Rose Sutton Consulting.
Why is it important to have speed and safety measures implemented while checkout?
“The checkout can handle huge amounts of purchasing volume during flash sales and Shopify pay has made it even faster for people to make their purchase”, says Sutton.
Looking to set up your store based on the seasonality? Shopify lets you easily customize the theme the way you want it.
Julian Samarjiev of DULO adds, “Easy to develop themes and the fact that Shopify takes care of the whole backend”.
You’d always want to focus on understanding your customer base and targeting similar ones, right? It’s the same for Eric Bergman of Serendipit Consulting.
“For me having the ability to create customer profiles so I can see who my best customers are or the ones who buy specific items, so I know where to focus my marketing budgets towards and what kind of offers or incentives to keep them coming back”, says Bergman.
Shopify POS is a “Point of Sale” system for small businesses to help you combine your in-store & online sales.
Why do store owners love this feature?
“Through Shopify POS, users can make payments in the real world by a card reader. Regardless of where you sell, the sales are linked to your online account automatically which is super convenient in managing your account payments”, says Alejandro Rioja of So Influential.
Running an e-commerce online store makes you stay on top of your numbers – sales, orders placed, inventory details, and a lot more. It becomes necessary to depend on a platform to access all your Shopify metrics.
Raihan Kabir of Web Inspecto says, “Analytics is the most powerful Shopify feature that is not present on other eCommerce platforms.
“Because Shopify brings store details in front of the owner in detail. They made it simple and easy to understand for anyone.”
What can you view on the dashboard? “You can get different data sections about Total sales, Online store sessions, Returning customer rate, Online store conversion rate, Total orders, Online store sessions by traffic source and location, Top pages view, etc.
So by this data, any owner can understand how their store performs, what steps they have to take if there are any issues, and on which part they have to take care of most to increase sales.”
Interesting bit: You can get details for every section differently for present-day or years or specific dates you need. You can also export a custom report in PDF.”
While Shopify is for SMBs, Shopify plus focusses on large enterprises looking to set up an online store.
“Shopify Plus allows you to focus on growing your business instead of stressing over your website. Plus offers merchants unlimited bandwidth and can process up to 8,000 orders per minute per store. It’s also hosted with scalable SaaS (cloud-hosted software), making highly variable checkouts and flash sales flexible and easy to manage” says Muhammad Mateen Khan of PureVPN.
Wouldn’t you love it when you get a notification of new sales on your Shopify store via your mobile?
“The most powerful feature of Shopify is its availability on mobile phones. Almost everyone owns a smartphone and the ability to access an online store at your fingertips without needing to Shopify leads the market when it comes to the e-commerce industry” says Shari Smith of Shari-sells.
Making informed business decisions while running an online store is important for success. But there is a vast range of metrics and your data can be mind-boggling, if not segregated well. Here are the metrics that you should track for your Shopify store:
1. Website traffic: The overall traffic to your store’s website.
“The most important Shopify metric is your website traffic because that’s the metric that everything else depends on. If you don’t have enough traffic, your conversion rate and many other metrics don’t mean much”, says Brenda Lackman of Ecom Queens.
2. Sales by traffic source: Sales by traffic source show the number of sales coming from each traffic source. This way you can understand which channel to put in more effort.
3. Total Sales: Revenue made with a filter option for channels, days, and products.
4. Average Order Value (AOV): The average order value (AOV) shows you how much an average customer spends in a single transaction on your store.
5. Average profit margin: The profit margin metric helps you understand how profitable your business is. It’s calculated by subtracting your total expenses from your total revenue and dividing that number with your total revenue.
6. CAC: Cost per acquisition metric is the cost required to acquire a single customer. You may further want to filter this metric based on channels of marketing to understand your acquiring strategy better.
7. Conversion rate: Involves added to cart, reached the checkout, and purchased metric.
Your site-wide conversion rate is the percentage of total store visitors who actually make a purchase.
The conversion rate from a website visit to add to cart, to checkout, and lastly to purchased help you in understanding where the drops off are taming place, so you can work on fixing that.
Nick Dimond of SEO Kings says, “Your site’s conversion rate is so important, it keeps track of the percentage of people who come to your site and take an action you want (like adding to cart or making a purchase).”
8. Returning customer rate: Simply put, this is the ratio of repeat customers vs. new customers (first-time customers).
Brenda Lackman of Ecom Queens says, “Often overlooked metric is the percentage of repeat customers. Building a long term requires that your customers stick, that they’ve enjoyed the experience, and come back to shop again.”
“If you’re just driving traffic but customers aren’t sticking, it will be a never-ending hamster wheel to get any sales. Brands that are successful in the long term have customers that are loyal fans and return again and again.”
9. Top products by units sold: This metric helps you understand the most popular product among all the products in your store. You may want to increase the costs on these to increase revenue and add discounts on the less popular ones (to sell them off too).
10. Top landing pages: Broken down by traffic numbers, understanding the most frequently visited pages on your store lets you further optimize the conversion rates. Nobody likes missing out on heavy traffic, right?
11. Total orders: These are the number of unique orders made by various customers in your store. This can be filtered based on days/months/year.
12. Average order size: The average of the total number of products added to one order.
13. % of Orders with 1 item: “A metric that is used a bit less often, that I’m a big fan of is % of orders with only 1 item. These orders are prime for upselling and a high % thereof presents a great opportunity to increase average order value fairly easily”, says Teara McGinn of BrightBird Experts.
14. Shopping cart abandonment rate: the % of orders that were abandoned after adding items to the cart.
“Shopping cart abandonment has to be one of the most important metrics out there. If you can see that people are adding items to the cart, but not fully checking out, then you know there is a problem”, says Zac Johnson of Blogging.org.
Now that you’ve learned about what each of the Shopify metrics means, let’s dig into the tips to build a Shopify dashboard. It’s equally important apart from just tracking the metrics, how well you present them to your client, or for yourself.
“A reporting dashboard is a great way to have an overview of what’s happening in your store. So make sure you add meaningful widgets and reports that provide you the right insights into your store”, says Alejandro Rioja of So Influential.
But why are dashboards so important?
“Explore the reporting dashboard and learn the ins and outs. You can use the data from the report wisely to make your store successful”, says Shari Smith of Shari-sells.
Here are a few tips to do it efficiently:
While it’s self-explanatory on why you need to focus on reporting on your end goals, it’s all the more important when you’re running a Shopify store for a merchant (as an agency).
Dan Young of Loud Digital says, “Focus on the customer’s goals if they want brand awareness then showing how many sales you’ve driven is probably not the most important metric.”
While revenue is the PRIMARY end goal for all Shopify stores, it’s also necessary to report on secondary metrics to help you make informed decisions.
Lindsay Moura of SilverTech, says “Focus on the end goal… revenue! Then build a story around all the secondary metrics that help you achieve positive revenue growth such as conversion rate and ROAS (return on ad spend).
How do you go about this?
“Include the most important metrics in the beginning, and then drill down into the less important metrics as you continue. This way, you can at any point have a snap-shot of how your store is doing”, says William Chin of ProLightingRental.com.
“Arrange the dashboard with your most important metrics at the beginning with the supporting metrics next. Don’t just pile everything in a big mess. Make it easy to see and read”, adds Eric Bergman of Serendipit Consulting.
“Identify 2 levels of metrics:
First, 1-2 KPIs, which measures performance. That will be a lagging indicator that shows your past work is paying off.
Second, find metrics that rise or fall leading up to something happening. If you see those leading indicators climbing, you know you are moving in the right direction NOW. This turns any dashboard into a system for both measurement and prediction”, says Ben Froedge of Store Strength.
“Shopify provides fairly meaningful graphs in its analytics if you are building a reporting dashboard I would give this tip: provide information you can’t easily see inside Shopify”, says Kaleb Ufton of Ekoh Marketing.
“There are a few things which need to be calculated from outside sources or aggregations which could be quite useful, this is where the value comes from with external dashboards”, says Ufton.
Editor’s note: Looking to report on your Shopify metrics? Check out Databox’s Shopify Template to get you started for FREE.
If you’re managing a simple store, “I don’t think you need to get fancy. Do it with pen and paper, Excel, or whatever makes you happy. Plenty of young people I meet love being old fashioned with physical spreadsheets!”, says Nicole Russin-McFarland of Haus of Film.
“One tip for building a meaningful reporting dashboard is to see your top-performing and lowest performing products/pages. This will allow you to prioritize what needs to be optimized and what is working well”, says Greg Trahan of Online Optimism.
“When building a meaningful Shopify reporting dashboard, you want to first decide what metrics are important for you and your business.”
“Those are the metrics that you want to look at first, and most often. Having too many fields or metrics in the mix can make reporting confusing, and take away from what really matters”, says Brenda Lackman of Ecom Queens.
“It shouldn’t be too in-depth on any particular area, but enough to raise any points that may warrant further investigation”, says Bryan Grey of Official Bryan.
“Turn up the signal cut the noise. Don’t cram a dashboard full of every possible metric or try to make it super pretty” says Ben Froedge of Store Strength.
Froedge adds, “Focus on what helps the stakeholder make more informed decisions. Data only helps when it can be understood, digested, and integrated into decision-making processes.”
Related article: 21 Tips for Building a High-Converting eCommerce Funnel
CJ Xia of Boster Biological Technology says, “To build a meaningful Shopify reporting dashboard, you need to know what’s going on day to day. Understanding what’s happening helps you make the best decision possible for your Shopify dashboard.”
These 7 tips on creating Shopify dashboards will help you simplify the process of running your online store. By trying out some of these expert tips, you’ll be able to build the right foundation that will set you up for success.
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