Google analytics e-commerce May 28 2014.jpg
Google has taken up the challenge of shedding light on retail behavior by adding enhanced e-commerce capabilities to its analytics platform.

By combining analytics and e-commerce, Google claims it will be able to offer marketing and customer experience managers insight into not only what their customers are thinking, but also how effective their marketing campaigns have been.

Google E-Commerce Analytics

The release was announced late last night at the Google Analytics summit in San Francisco, which produces analytics nuggets every year, and which continues today for the second and final day.

According to a blog post, this beta offering is a complete revamp of how Google measures the e-commerce experience by offering insights and metrics on shopper behavior and conversion rates.

The new capabilities offer a look at "product detail views, ‘add to cart’ actions, internal campaign clicks, the success of internal merchandising tools, the checkout process and purchase."

In effect, the new beta offers insights into just about every step a shopper takes from the point they land on the retail site to the point they leave the site.

Also announced -- for those that need to brush up on their analytics skill set -- Google announced a new Analytics Academy course that will bring students through interactive examples of analysis of a fictional retail company as well as provide techniques that they can use in their own companies.

Google Analtyics e-commerce capabilities.jpg

E-Commerce Features

A few improvements stand out from the list of features aimed at marketers. Among those features are:

  • Unified Channel Grouping: This ensures that all the traffic that comes to your site are classified in-line with your unique channel definitions.
  • Analytics Dimension Widening: Now called "Data Import," this builds on an existing function by allowing users to import more of their own data into analytics -- including product details, customer preferences and more.
  • Custom Tables: For premium users only, with this feature users can configure tables according to their business needs to retrieve unsampled data.

There are a number of other enterprise features that also come with the Premium service. Four new APIs include a Provisioning API to create new GA accounts (invite only), AdWords and Filters API to manage configurations, and the Embed API to surface key reports and dashboards.

If a number of content management vendors like e-Spirit and Elastic Path have been focused on developing the e-commerce customer experience through the provision of targeted content, this addition to Google Analytics offers users insights into how effective their marketing efforts have been.

On a wider scale, it also marks the ongoing expansion of the e-commerce experience beyond the simple addition of adding a shopping cart to a brand's website.