Countly for eCommerce: Key Plugins, KPIs, and Metrics

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This article highlights the Countly plugins, key analytics, and KPIs that are important specifically to the eCommerce industry. It aims to showcase how you can get started with the plugins and features most crucial to achieving specific revenue, retention, and marketing goals in eCommerce, and start a successful journey with Countly. The article presumes you are slightly familiar with the Countly UI and with the terms like Events, Funnels, Cohorts, etc.

Setting up Custom User Properties

Custom User Property is any kind of information that helps you to tag, group, and sort your users/devices using your application. More information about a User Profile can be found here. Since a User Property is associated with anything Countly tracks about the user (a Session, an Event, a Feedback given, or a Crash experienced), you may use it to create accurate micro-segmented analytics. It will be available for you while drilling the data, defining your dynamic user groups, targeting the recipients of your push notifications, etc.

The Custom User Property is a key-value pair containing either string, numerical value, or a list of values. The Countly SDKs have dedicated methods to collect and update this information. Here is an example for the iOS SDK:

Countly.user.custom = @{@"membership":@"prime",@"tags":@"girls"};

Once you integrate the Custom Property tracking into your SDK you will find it in the detail of a particular User Profile.

user_property.png

More examples
Property name Represents
Favorite categories Categories which were marked as favorite by a user, e.g.: Shoes, Home and Decor, Ladies, Gifts
 

Insights:

  • What is the gender distribution for people who favor the 'Shoes' category? (Using the Drill plugin)
Account type A type of the users account, e.g.: Basic, Prime, Retail, Business
 

Insights:

  • How much are the users with Prime account retained compared to users with Basic account?
  • Which account type brings the highest revenue? (Using Formula plugin)
Payment method  A payment method activated by a user, e.g.: Paypal, Master Card, Bank transfer
 

Next steps:

  • Using the Push Notification plugin, we might send an update notification about a Paypal payment method only to users who activated this method. 

Setting up Custom Events

Custom Events allow you to track user behaviour in the app. It might be any action performed by the user -  a button clicked, form filled in, or any other user interaction. By using Event Segmentation, you may track any kind of key-value pair information associated with the occurrence of the event. That helps you to microsegment the user behaviour, e.g. seeing what items are added to the cart most often, what is the most common error message user gets while checking out, or which subcategories are viewed the most.

There are three dedicated properties associated with an Event. Those are:

  • Count - number of occurrences of an event (mandatory)
  • Sum - any numerical value (optional)
  • Dur - duration of the event in seconds (optional)

All the other information about an Event is stored as event segments.

Recording Custom Events starts with including the following piece of code to the SDK, which sends the information to the Countly server once a user performs the event (an example for iOS):

NSDictionary* dict = @{@"Item":@"sofa", @"Message":@"'Choose the color of the item'"};
[Countly.sharedInstance recordEvent:@"Add to cart" segmentation:dict count:1 sum:120];

'Add to cart' event

Segments and Properties Represents Sample data
Sum The price of the item added to cart 10, 120, 23
Dur The duration of adding the item to the cart in seconds 5, 10, 17
Item An item added to the cart sofa, umbrella, lipstick, teddy bear
Category The category of a product added to the cart Boys, Girls, Home, Presents, Decor, Garden
Message A message displayed to the user 'Choose the colour of the item', 'Choose the size of the item', 'Item successfully added'

 

Tracking the 'Add to Cart' Event together with the properties and segmentation allows us to get the following insights:

  • What is the conversion rate between adding an item to the cart and purchasing it?
  • What is the average time for the app to add an item to the cart? How does it differentiate between various app versions, platforms etc.?
  • What is the conversion rate for a particular category of products?
  • How many times in the last month was a particular item added to the cart?
  • How often do users forget to choose the colour/size of the item?

The following screenshot shows the immediate information you may see on the Dashboard after you start tracking the Event. You may see how many times a particular item was added to the cart and the potential revenue coming from that particular item.

Events.png

More examples
Event name Segments and Properties
Purchase completed Sum - Cost of the purchase; Dur - Duration of the purchase; Category - the category of the purchased item; Item - the purchased item; Status - 'Success' or 'Failure'; Message - a message displayed to the user (e.g. 'Purchase completed successfully', 'The payment failed', 'No shipping info filled in')
 

Insights:

  • How many purchases are completed successfully?
  • Which category brings the highest revenue?
  • What is the most common reason for purchase to fail?
  • Using the Push Notification plugin, we might send a special offer to the users who purchased a specific item in the last month.
Search Sum - Number of search results; Dur - Duration of search; Keyword - a keyword searched by the user
 

Insights:

  • What is the average number of search results? (using Formulas)
  • What are the most often searched keywords?
  • How long on average does the search take? (using Formulas)
Checkout Dur - Duration of checkout; Message - 'Failure-no logged in user', 'Failure - empty cart', 'Success'
 

Insights:

  • How often does a user try to checkout without logging in?
  • What is the checkout conversion rate? (Using Funnel plugin)
Payment method selection Currency - USD, EUR, CAD; Method - 'Paypal', 'Master card', 'Visa card', 'Bank transfer'
 

Insights:

  • How is the preferred payment method evolving over time?
  • What is the correlation between the chosen payment method and a country, age group, platform, etc.?
  • How many purchases end up on the payment method selection step? (using Funnel plugin)
Share product Source - Page from where a user shared the product, e.g. home page, product detail view; Item - an item shared by a user
 

Insights:

  • Which pages are the most common for sharing an item?
  • Which items are shared the most?

Note: Be careful about the number of Events and Segments you define - it will affect the server performance and the way you can navigate through your data. The recommended threshold for the number of Events is 500, for the number of Segments (for each Event) is 100, and the maximum number of unique values in each Segment is 1000.

Creating Cohorts

Custom User Properties, together with the Events and their Segmentation, give you the idea of what type of user you are tracking and how he/she behaves in the application. These will help you define specific user groups and analyse them. Creating user groups - Cohorts - will help you understand shared characteristics between certain users as well as how the specific user group is evolving through time. You can also target the Cohort with a customised Push Notification or tailor the application appearance/functionality for that Cohort using the Remote Config plugin (e.g. redirecting users with a prime account to the call centre while users with the basic account are redirected to the Contact Form).

Creating a Cohort: Users who recently bought shoes

Cohorts creation is done via the Countly Dashboard where you define the Properties that characterise your group. To do that you may use all the User Properties, Events and their Segmentation, Views visited, Crashes experienced, etc.

cohorts.png

The screenshot displays the definition of a Cohort of users from the United Kingdom or Germany who successfully purchased shoes in the last 30 days. Defining a Cohort like this will immediately give us insights like:

  • How does promoting shoes affect people's purchases over time?
  • From which age group are the people who are buying the most/the least shoes in UK/DE?
  • What is the gender distribution of users who recently bought shoes?
More examples
Cohort name Cohort definition
Active users no purchase Users who had at least 5 sessions in the last month but didn't complete any purchase
 

Insights and Next steps:

  • Should we analyse our purchase process?
  • Should we start collecting feedback?
  • Combining a cohort with the Push Notification plugin allows us to send a message encouraging the user to complete a purchase once a user enters this Cohort.
Login via email Users who logged in via email
 

Insights and Next steps:

  • By creating the other two Cohorts for users who logged in via FB and Twitter account, I can compare how the usage of the login methods is evolving over time in my Custom Dashboard.
  • What is the platform and app version distribution of users logging in via email?
Loyal users Users who performed at least 3 purchases in the last month
 

Insights and Next steps:

  • What is the retention of loyal users?
  • Once a user stops performing purchases that often, send him a push notification encouraging him to purchase again. (Using the Push Notification plugin)
  • By using the Remote Config plugin we may display a discount banner only for loyal users.

Creating Funnels

Funnels allow you to track the user journey throughout the application by creating steps that a user would naturally take to complete an identified journey. The step of a Funnel might be anything, such as a specific Custom Event, View, experienced Crash, Feedback given, or an actioned Push Notification. All of those are there for you to define your own sequence, to analyse how the users are going through the particular steps and what might be the reason for them to not complete the whole journey.

Funnels are created directly from the Countly Dashboard by defining the particular sequence of steps. The screenshot below shows how to define a Funnel that starts with a user clicking on the promotion of shoes up to purchasing them.

funnel-ecommerce.png

Funnel name
Promotion conversion funnel - shoes
Funnel steps
  • User clicks on a promotion banner with shoes or views the product page with shoes
  • User adds shoes to the cart
  • User checks out
  • User successfully completes a purchase
Insights
  • How long on average does it take for users to successfully complete the purchase of shoes?
  • At which step of the process do users usually drop off OR Which step of the process results in users not successfully finishing the purchase?
  • What is the conversion rate for shoes?
More examples
Funnel name Funnel steps
Checkout process User clicks Checkout, chooses the delivery method, then payment method and completes the purchase.
  Insights:
  • Is our checkout process easy and fast?
  • What percentage of users converts from checkout to purchase?

Category conversion -

Garden

User views the product page from the Garden category, chooses the colour and size of the product, adds it to the cart, clicks Checkout, and completes the purchase.  
 

Insights and Next steps:

  • What is the conversion rate from the Garden category?
  • Creating funnels for other categories allows me to compare their conversion rates.

Custom Dashboards

Custom Dashboards help you to stay on top of the metrics that are relevant for you or your team, and to combine the tracked data from all of your applications and visualise them together. By using multiple widgets, you might for example instantly see retention for a specific feature usage, which pages are visited the most and which have the highest bounce rate, or the average number of unsuccessful logins into the application. 

The following list of screenshots presents some examples of visualising your data thanks to the variety of widgets Countly permits to use.

1. Creating and saving BY drill queries to the Report Manager allows you to leverage custom events and their segmentations. Thus, you are able to see which keywords were searched for the most over a chosen period of time, which categories were visited the most, or which products were added to the cart most often. 

dashboard_by.png

2. Combining multiple widgets for logically connected metrics gives you some powerful insights into your purchase process. You may see how many times users added an item to a cart (420 times), what was the overall value of the goods they added to the cart (521$), what was the actual profit from completed purchases (460$), and how is the money spent for completed purchases evolving over time. 

dashboard_2.png 3. Visualising funnels may help you to evaluate a variety of conversions. It might be a general checkout conversion - such as 'How many users complete the purchase after proceeding to checkout?' - or conversion for a specific product or a specific category. Creating separate conversion funnels for each category of your products might help you to analyse which category performs the best in terms of conversion.

dashboard_funnels.png

The above details will help you get started with Countly to achieve the goals that are pivotal to your business. For further details on any of these plugins and other features that will help you optimise your users' journey, please click here.

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