What sites are referring traffic to your store? Where in the world are your visitors? How did your Black Friday Cyber Monday marketing campaign perform last year? What products are people searching for most?
You have a lot of questions about your business, your customers and your marketing efforts. Fortunately, answers to many of those questions are in your Shopify reports and analytics.
Understanding Shopify Analytics and reports
It’s the end of the day (or week, or month) so you open up your analytics tool and jot down some key metrics. “Traffic is up 2% week over week. Nice!” You pat yourself on the back, maybe do a little dance in your chair.
That’s data reporting. Up is good, down is bad.
Shopify’s analytics and reporting tools help you analyze your store's recent activity, get a better understanding of who’s visiting your online store, analyze performance metrics (like load times), and a whole lot more.
Want to learn more? Check out our Conversion Rate Optimization Starter Guide for 2022.
Where can I find my Shopify reports?
You’ll find both analytics dashboards and full analytics reports in Shopify. Log-in to your Shopify store and you should see them on the left-hand menu.
Different reports are available to you depending on your Shopify plan. Everyone has access to the Overview dashboard, finance reports, and product analytics. Depending on your Shopify subscription plan, you may also be able to access other types of reports.
Here’s a breakdown of which plans include which reports:
Don’t have access to the reports you need? No problem—when you upgrade to a different Shopify plan, additional reports will provide data from the time you started using your Shopify store.
Types of Shopify reports
If you open up your analytics, you’re going to be staring down a lot of data. That kind of volume gets overwhelming quickly. To focus your efforts, here’s a breakdown of the types of Shopify reports available to store owners:
Acquisition reports focus on visitors to your website and include three key metrics:
- Sessions over time: This shows the number of visitors over a given time range.
- Sessions by referrer: This shows the number of visitors and sessions referred by source, such as an affiliate link or Facebook ad.
- Sessions by location: This shows the countries and regions from which visitors are accessing your online store.
It’s important to note that the number of visits and visitors is based on cookies, one that identifies the device (visitor) and one that identifies the length of the visit. What this means is that one visitor can generate multiple visits.
Also note that a visit automatically ends after 30 minutes of no activity or at midnight UTC. Data can sometimes take a few minutes to refresh, so if you’re not seeing the most up-to-date information, try re-opening or refreshing the report.
Behavior reports focus on the actions your visitors take, providing a wide variety of insights that can help you create better promotional bundles and more effective targeted upselling.
The data found in behavior reports can help you make more informed decisions about how to organize your store, by highlighting key areas for improvement. Behavior reports can provide a ton of useful information:
- Online store conversion over time: Shows the percentages of online store visitors that have made a purchase over a selected period of time.
- Online store speed: Shows how your store performs against industry standards and other Shopify stores.
- Product recommendation conversions over time: Shows how well your store is converting product recommendations into sales.
- Top online store searches: Displays the search terms your customers use when looking for products or pages in your store. There’s also the Top online store searches with no results report, which shows the most common searches that yield no results.
- Sessions by landing page: Shows which pages your visitors land on when first visiting your online store.
- Sessions by device: Shows the type of devices most-often used to access your website.
- Online store cart analysis: Shows products your visitors most-often add together in their cart, providing great ideas for product bundles and upselling opportunities.
Understanding how visitors interact with your store can help inform a wide array of business decisions. You can use your understanding of product relationships to help plan how to stock your inventory, decide on how to organize your product collections, know which products would benefit from a marketing campaign, and much more.
Customer reports give you information about your customers, such as their average order count, purchase totals, and expected purchase value. They can also help you decide how to segment your audience when building a marketing campaign.
Here are the types of customer reports you can generate:
- Customers over time: Shows how many customers placed orders with your store over a selected period of time.
- First-time vs returning customer sales: Compares the value of orders placed between first-time and returning customers.
- Customers by location: See order and spend data about customers in a specific geographical location.
- Returning customers: See details about customers whose order history includes two or more orders.
- One-time customers: Shows data on customers who’s order history only includes one order.
- At-risk customers: Shows data on returning customers who haven’t placed an order in a while.
- Loyal customers: Contains data on customers who purchase from you frequently.
Inventory reports give you a month-end snapshot of your inventory, helping you track the quantities sold per day so you can make more informed decisions about when and what to restock.
Here are a couple of inventory reports Shopify store-owners can generate:
- Month-end inventory snapshot: Shows the quantity of each product variant left in stock at the end of the month.
- Average inventory sold per day: Shows the average number of items sold per-day of each product variant.
- Percent of inventory sold: Allows you to view the percentage of stock sold for individual product variants over a customizable period of time.
- ABC analysis by product: Gives each product variant a letter grade based on the percentage of revenue the variant has contributed to your overall sales.
- Product sell-through rate: Shows the percentage of your total inventory you’ve sold during a selected time period.
- Days of inventory remaining: Estimates how long your current inventory is expected to last, based on previous sales of your available products.
Marketing reports can show you which marketing channels are generating the most traffic, sales, and overall value based on how visitors interact with your store. This can be a big help in determining which marketing channels to prioritize and the types of marketing that are most effective.
Within Shopify’s marketing reports, you’ll be able to see reports on:
- Sales attributed to marketing: Displays how many sales can be traced back to specific marketing efforts.
- Sessions attributed to marketing: Shows how much web-traffic is being generated from specific marketing campaigns.
- Conversion by first interaction: Shows the number of orders from first-time visitors, as well as the average value of those orders, helping store owners see which referrals are most effective.
- Conversion by last interaction: Shows the number of orders from last interactions, meaning users that have not yet returned to your site since purchasing.
- Attribution model comparison: Compares first interaction and last interaction data, so you can see if there’s any significant drop-off of customers who’ve purchased previously.
One thing to note about marketing reports is that data can take up to 24 hours to populate, so if you’re trying to measure the impact of a specific marketing campaign, make sure to wait at least a day after the campaign ends before generating your marketing report.
Order reports help give information about your order volume, shipping times, and returns. Order reports can help give you an idea of which products are your best-sellers and which get most often returned.
Order reports can be crucial to understanding customer satisfaction or spotting defective merchandise. For example, order reports can help flag a potential problem in the design or quality of a product if you notice it’s being returned at a higher rate than other products.
Here are a couple of order reports you can generate:
- Orders over time: See the number of orders that were delivered over a selected period of time.
- Fulfillment, shipping, and delivery times: See the time it takes for orders to go through the fulfillment process, from placement of the order to delivery.
- Fulfillment over time: See the total number of orders that were fulfilled, shipped, or delivered over a selected period of time.
Profit reports show valuable information about the costs, margins, and profit of your online store. Being able to see how money flows in and out of your business is especially important when it comes to your accounting.
The types of profit reports Shopify merchants can generate include:
- Profit by product: Shows the total profit by product for a selected time period.
- Profit by product variant SKU: Shows the total profit of specific product variants over a selected time period.
- Profit by Point of Sale location: Shows the gross profit by point-of-sale location, making it extremely valuable for retail merchants with more than one physical location.
In order for your profit reports to generate accurate information, make sure you’ve added the cost-per-item attribute to each product variant in your online store.
Retail sales reports
Retail sales reports can give you information about products, variants, or staff that’s specific to point-of-sale location(s), making them a must-have for merchants selling in-person.
Retail sales reports can help you identify which products sell best in which areas, and give you valuable information about the sales performances of your staff members.
Here are the retail sales reports store-owners are able to run:
- Retail sales by product: Shows a breakdown of your total sales by product, not including shipping costs.
- Retail sales by product variant SKU: Shows a breakdown of your total sales by product variant, also not including shipping costs.
- Retail sales by product vendor: Compares data from each of your vendors and the products provided by each vendor, grouped by POS location.
- Retail sales by product type: Shows sales of specific product types, grouped by POS location.
- Retail sales by Point of Sale location: Shows sales from each POS location, allowing you to spot which retail locations perform best.
- Retail sales by staff at register: This report shows the sales made by each staff member, making it perfect for tracking individual sales goals for employees.
- Retail sales by staff who helped with sale: This report shows sales by staff who were attributed line-item sales at checkout. This can also be very valuable to tracking employee sales goals.
Similarly to retail sales reports, sales reports show information about your customer’s orders based on criteria like product or sales channel. Sales reports also take returns into account, making them very helpful for tracking the value of your sales over long periods of time.
With sales reports, sales will appear as a positive value for the day they were made and returns appear as a negative value for the day they were processed.
Shopify merchants have access to a wide array of sales reports:
- Sales over time: Shows the number of orders and total sales you’ve made over a specific period of time.
- Sales by product: Shows a breakdown of the total sales of a product, not including shipping.
- Sales by product variant SKU: Shows a breakdown of the total sales of a variant, not including shipping.
- Sales by product vendor: Shows a breakdown of sales provided by each of your vendors.
- Sales by discount: Displays your sales grouped by the name of a discount used.
- Sales by traffic referrer: Shows sales group by the origin of your visitor; such a specific web-page, online ad, or google search.
- Sales by billing location: Shows sales grouped by the country or region of the billing address for the order.
- Sales by checkout currency: Shows a breakdown of sales grouped by the currency used at checkout. This can be especially helpful for store-owners selling internationally.
- Sales by channel: Shows sales grouped by sales channel; such as Facebook, POS, or your Online Store.
- Sales by customer name: Shows a breakdown of orders by customer over a selected period of time.
- Average order value over time: Contains a record of how your store’s average order value has changed over time.
With custom reports, Shopify merchants can take any of the default reports and modify them through the use of filtering and editing features to target specific data that may be uniquely valuable to your store.
For example, say you ran a marketing campaign to promote a new product and targeted users on Twitter, Facebook, Google ads, and via email marketing. You could run a marketing report showing your sales attributed to marketing, but with custom reports, you could also get more granular with your data and see sessions, leads, and sales from each marketing channel to gain a better understanding of which platform was more valuable to your campaign.
You can create a custom report by going to Analytics > Reports and selecting Create custom report.
Shopify reporting apps
Though Shopify includes a wide array of out-of-the-box reporting tools, it also integrates with a ton of third-party reporting apps for merchants who need a more specialized set of accounting tools.
While we encourage you to explore available apps that help with your unique requirements, here’s a couple of the more popular reporting apps to help get you started:
- Report Pundit
- Data Export Reports
- BeProfit - Reports & Analytics
- Report Toaster
- Mipler: Advanced Reports
How to analyze Shopify reports
Reports vs. Analysis
If reports are the tip of the iceberg, analysis is the process of diving below the surface and uncovering meaningful insights about your business. So instead of just getting the “what” from basic ecommerce metrics, you start exploring the “why” and “so what”.
Analytics are a lot more complex than “up is good, down is bad”. But that added complexity of looking below the surface can be overwhelming.
Still, we must persist because below the surface, you’ll find:
- The answers to meaningful business questions (and new questions to ask, too).
- Problem areas you aren’t aware of that are costing you money.
- Quick wins and fixes to improve your user experience (UX) and conversion rate.
Asking the right questions of your data
So, we all want those insights hidden below the surface. The question becomes: how do you get below the surface? By asking meaningful questions about your store.
If you open up your analytics, you’re going to be staring down a lot of data. That kind of volume gets overwhelming quickly. To focus your efforts, it helps to have a list of questions that you want answered.
That way, you’re not clicking around waiting for insights to pop out at you. (This doesn’t happen, though it would be nice.) You need a purpose.
So, what’s a good question, then? Good question.
When you think you’ve got a good question, ask yourself: “What am I going to change based on the answer to this question?” If the answer is nothing, it’s not a good question.
Try to come up with an “if this, then that” scenario for each question. If the answer is yes, then this. If the answer is no, then this.
Here’s a simple process for coming up with meaningful questions to ask of your data:
- Walk through your site looking for problem areas. Basically, you’re trying to break your store, to find something that’s not working as expected.
- Write down the problem areas, concerns, questions, etc. that you identify during the walkthrough.
- Turn to your analytics to confirm the problem areas and concerns, and answer the questions.
For step one, it helps to have a structured walkthrough process. For example, set a few important factors ahead of time to eliminate your subjective opinion and biases:
- Friction: Is anything difficult? How can you make it easier? Is anything preventing your visitors from buying?
- Distraction: Is anything distracting your visitors from taking your most wanted action, whatever that might be? For example, adding a product to cart or checking out.
- Motivation: What’s adding to or subtracting from the motivation of the visitor? Are they motivated enough to complete your most wanted action?
- Relevance: Is everything on the page relevant? Is there anything that’s irrelevant or unimportant? Is everything on the page working in favor of the most wanted action?
- Clarity: Is the value of the product or service clear? Is the next step clear? Is the most wanted action clear? Is anything confusing?
There’s this old saying in statistics, inspired by Ronald H. Coase:
Torture data long enough and it’ll confess to anything.
If you go looking for a specific answer, you’ll find it. Eliminating cognitive biases during analysis can be quite difficult, but try to put emphasis on your questions, not your presumed answers.
What’s a good X?
What’s a good amount of monthly traffic? What’s a good conversion rate? What’s a good average order value? What’s a good…?
There’s no real answer to these questions. There are, of course, industry benchmarks and averages that you can turn to, but they are often more interesting than actionable.
For example, what will you change about your business knowing that the average store in your industry gets 100,000 visitors per month?
If you have fewer than 100,000 visitors per month, maybe you’ll vow to increase your monthly traffic. But aren’t we always trying to increase traffic? If you have more than 100,000 visitors per month, will you forget all about increasing traffic?
A good amount of monthly traffic is more traffic than you had last month. The same is true of every other metric you’re tracking.
It’s all about what’s good for you and your store.
Start where the value is
If you’re wondering where to start your walkthrough because you don’t have time to run through the entire store right now, start where the biggest opportunities are. That boils down to three categories:
- High volume, low value pages. These are pages that get a lot of traffic, but aren’t bringing in much revenue. So, for example, this might be an old blog post.
- Low volume, high value pages. These are pages that get a smaller amount of traffic, but that traffic is higher quality and more likely to convert. For example, your checkout page.
- Your sales funnel. Break your purchase funnel down into definitive steps. For example: the homepage is step one, the collection page is step two, the product page is step three, the cart is step four, and the checkout is step five. Linear funnels are on their way out, so you can likely think of multiple routes your visitors will take to purchase.
Funnels are particularly interesting. If you gather data for each step of the funnel, you can pinpoint exactly where your funnel is leaking. That is, where people are falling off most frequently. For example:
- 100 people make it to a collection page.
- 50 people make it to a product page.
- 40 people add a product to their cart.
You can see from this (super basic) funnel example that the biggest leak is on your collection page because you lose 50% of visitors there. So, that’s a good place to start digging around for questions, which you will use to analyze your data later.
Note that the further down the funnel you go, the smaller the necessary impact. For example:
- 100 people make it to a collection page.
- 50 people make it to a product page.
- 40 people add a product to their cart.
- 20 people click the checkout button.
- 4 people complete the checkout.
In this example, imagine increasing four completed checkouts to six. That’s a 50% increase very close to your bottom line. Now imagine increasing 50 people making it to a product page to 52. Much smaller impact because it’s higher up the funnel.
That’s why perfecting the bottom of your funnel can be so valuable.
Analyzing and optimizing your business with Shopify reports
Inevitably, the answers to your burning questions will lead to even more questions.
Analyzing reports is a continuous process of asking questions, digging for answers (both in reports and on your site) and asking more informed questions next time.
Keep slicing and dicing, experimenting with filters and columns. Resist the urge to simply report on what’s above the surface.