E-commerce Overview

Introduction

Urchin's E-commerce reporting module expands the power of Urchin's reporting to allow you to follow visitors all the way to the point of conversion and actually measure your ROI on various aspects of your website and marketing campaigns. There are two sections of reporting enabled by the module. The first section of reports, E-Commerce, provides trend analysis of on-line revenue, transactions, and product detail. The second commerce reports section, Revenue Source, correlates revenue against visitor parameters including keywords and search engines.

This valuable reporting capability allows you to exploit cross-system on-line business resources and optimize on-line campaigns. Easily calculate your ROI from CPC, and organic search engine placements.

System Overview

When a visitor to a website makes a purchase, the shopping cart software will make an entry into a transaction log file which, when processed along with normal web traffic logs, creates a complete picture of the E-commerce system.

Urchin processes these logs together and correlates the web site session with the E-commerce transaction. The purchase and product information is stored in the Urchin databases ready for viewing in the E-Commerce reports.

Configuration

There are three key elements for configuring Urchin's e-commerce processing:

  • Establish a usable e-commerce log format: Urchin needs to understand how your e-commerce logs are constructed. The choices are ELF2, ELF, or custom log format. See the ELF & ELF2 Log Formats or Custom E-commerce Log Formats articles in this section for details.
  • Coordinating processing of e-commerce and webserver access logs together: typically e-commerce transactions are tracked separately from normal webserver activity and frequently the sites are not even hosted on the same machine. You'll have to make sure that both sets of logs are available to Urchin so that they can be processed together. Both logs should be listed as log sources in the single profile that is setup to handle your e-commerce reporting.
  • Choosing a visitor tracking method: the visitor tracking method will determine how well Urchin can correlate e-commerce activity with normal website activity. You should decide which visitor tracking method will yield the level of analysis you desire. The more accurate UTM method requires making some simple modifications to your website documents to achieve the most complete analysis. These modifications should be made to all websites involved in your online business. See the Visitor Tracking section of the Documentation Center for details on setting up UTM.

Considerations

It is strongly advised to have your shopping cart software log in ELF2 format if possible. This will reduce some of the Urchin administration overhead in setting up your e-commerce reporting since Urchin has a built-in capability to deal with this format automatically.