I'm a big fan of podcasts. They're just so handy when it's late at night or early in the morning and I want to take the dog on a walk. Why not learn something while I do that? Just yesterday I heard a WooCommerce question on the WPCast.fm podcast and I thought I'd take a crack at answering it.
Hi guys, my name is Travis and I'm interested in finding out what you think about the reporting options with WooCommerce. I have several clients who are running WooCommerce and are having issues with the way the reports are laid out. There's a couple paid options and I wanted to know if you knew of anyone with in-depth reporting experience & WooCommerce.
The good news is that the reporting that comes bundled with WooCommerce is actually pretty solid. It has all of the basics that any store would need. If you need more there are some pretty awesome free plugins and even a couple premium ones to take care of those needs.
WooCommerce provides several excellent reports built in. The most important is probably the variety of order reports. You can see the total number of orders, total income, daily sales, number of items, shipping costs, and taxes all on one screen.
You can of course see the top product sellers & top earners.
You can also view sales by category.
There are some other reports that aren't tied directly to sales like stock reports (what's out of stock, what is low in stock) as well as some reports about the coupons being used.
WooCommerce Advanced Reports
Those reports are a pretty darn good starting place for any e-commerce store. If you want to look for a little bit more there are two awesome free plugins that I recommend and a premium plugin that tracks customer data instead of order data.
WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration (Free)
I recommend that every single store downloads the Google Analytics integration for WooCommerce. And here's why – it's totally free and you set it and forget it. If you never use it again it isn't any skin off your back and if you decide to use it a year from now you have an entire year of data at your fingertips.
While WooCommerce reports focus on the products and categories that are popular Google Analytics focuses on figuring out what's going on your site. Stats like how long people are staying on your site, what sites led customers to your site, what pages on your site had the best conversion rates, etc. They're two very different types of reports but both of them are very useful. We love using Google Analytics for WooThemes.com and I've seen some of the great reports. My favorite report was a list of all of the sites that referred customers to you and how much revenue each site referred. Very cool.
The other nice thing about the Google Analytics integration is that it isn't tied to any content management system (CMS). That means that it's portable. You can move from Shopify to WooCommerce (or move from WooCommerce to Shopify) and keep your data.
Smart Reporter for WooCommerce and WP eCommerce (Freemium)
If you want a few more stats there's a pretty great plugin called Smart Reporter for WooCommerce and WP eCommerce available for free on the WordPress.org plugin repository.
This plugin adds a couple features to the functionality in WooCommerce. You can track which payment gateways are being used most often, the percentage of the order is product vs shipping vs taxes, and you can also see a report of which countries your customers come from. My favorite feature is the ability to forecast future sales.
This plugin is built and maintained by Store Apps. They've built several premium WooCommerce extensions which means that they know how to keep things up to date and they have quality code (far less likely to have bugs).
The only downside with this extension is that it only stores data for a month. If you want more than that you have to get the premium version. Kind of a bummer but pretty cool that you can basically stay on indefinite trial.
If you want even more in-depth reporting there's a pretty great KISSMetrics plugin available on WooThemes.com.
The best way to explain KISSMetrics is to steal their tagline:
Google Analytics tells you what’s happening. KISSmetrics tells you who’s doing it.
Knowing who is doing what on your site is really powerful. Instead of looking at sales you're looking at people. This is really useful for knowing key information like the churn rate for subscriptions. If you have a subscription product you can see how often people pause it, resume it, get a new one, buy other products, etc. Seeing how customers act on your site allows you to see which pages aren't working for your customers and which ones keep them coming back.
There's some pretty useful reporting built right into WooCommerce but if you need the extra power it's available through a variety of plugins. Happy reporting!
Photo credit: Armando G Alonso