Practice Enhanced E-commerce Analytics Implementation
Days ago I was asked which of the latest Google Analytics features I liked more. I couldn't articulate a decent answer at the point I wonder if that person thought I knew nothing at all about GA. Needless to say I should have done way better especially considering I manage Premium accounts for GAP partners and my inbox gets the latest before they go public.
In general terms I'm bad with out of the blue questions but I can't even use it as a cheap excuse so I got embarrassed first, mad at myself and finally it got me thinking. How come?
My brain, besides some other glitches like dyslexia, appears to be pretty good at forgetting what I don't practice without a solid purpose. It does not help me retain memories of certain techniques or their details if I don't go through the process of solving a problem where those techniques are applied to achieve some outcome, positive or negative.
In other words, no matter how cool the latest features of a tool can be, if I haven't had the chance to use them to solve a tangible problem it is hard for me to recall them.
All that rant connects with the next question. How many chances you have in your daily job as analyst to practice the latest features of the several tools we use? Sometimes it's just hard to practice them on hypothetical scenarios for the pure pleasure to get familiar with them due to lack of proper environment.
Example of that are the Enhanced Ecommerce capabilities Google Analytics came up with to enrich analysis of such an important part of the online life, when bits transform into something you can take to the bank. Time later, for educational purposes they created this demo https://enhancedecommerce.appspot.com where you can see how it works but anyway, it does not offer you the opportunity to get your hands dirty by implementing it yourelf in a sandbox where your job is not at stake if you break it badly.
It came to my mind that it could be nice to clone that functional ecommerce demo and make it available for download so everyone could practice and grasp all the intricacies quickly for the joy and benefit of their clients.
I asked my long time collaborator, programmer and good friend Ale Scott to give me a hand. More than that, he did the heavy lifting and I just guided him to tweak few details making it closer to a real checkout process. Here you have it (hopefully Google doesn't mind): http://demos.dynamical.biz/ecomm/
How it works
It requires the typical LAMP stack, not even all of it just Apache web server and PHP with SQLite that usually comes enabled by default.
Download the ecomm demo, upload the file to your server, unpack and ready to go.
Stuff you can practice and test
Any measuring tool or technique ecommerce focused, here are some basic ideas:
- Simple ecommerce tracking with any tool, Google Analytics, Piwik, Adobe Analytics
- Enhanced ecommerce tracking, including refunds, with Google Analytics
- Previous ones using any tag manager like Tealium iQ, GTM, or 7tag
One extra challenge the package presents, and you will have to solve, is an issue many sites suffer nowadays. URL does not change although the content of the page variates enough to be considered a different one (don't start me talking about AngularJS). Firing virtual pages and their corresponding virtual pagemanes are required for a perfect tracking.
I'll be happy if that makes a nice playground where you can get hands dirty and improve skills by exercising your brain muscle.
BTW, printed t-shirt pics come from viniloo.com and the Screw believers, we have data one is my favorite, of course.