While most eCommerce platforms offer some reporting features, they are typically limited in certain areas:
- Visualization: Some offer basic graphs and charts, but otherwise the types of visualizations you can use are limited. And you typically won’t have the ability to combine metrics into one visualization to view them in the context of each other. As a result, you’re limited in your ability to analyze and tell stories with your data.
- Omnichannel Analysis: If you want to visualize eCommerce data alongside data from different platforms like Facebook or Google Ads, you have to do this manually in other tools. This is tedious and time consuming.
- Distribution: Most platforms limit you to exporting reports as spreadsheet or PDF files. If you want more custom or client facing reports, you have to create them manually with other tools (Google Sheets, PowerPoint, etc.).
- Scalability: If you need to do reporting at scale, like if you’re an agency doing marketing for multiple eCommerce businesses, the process of manual report creation can become unmanageable, adding up to tens or hundreds of hours per month.
All the above limitations mean you have to spend a lot of time doing laborious, time consuming workarounds. And the use of many different tools or platforms increases the likelihood of something going wrong.
There are many different eCommerce reporting tools on the market. The one that’s best for you depends on your specific needs.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the types of tools available and how their features differ. And then we’ll walk through how TapClicks works to streamline eCommerce reporting in a single environment.
The Different Types of eCommerce Reporting Tools
1. Pairing ETL (Extract Transform Load) Tools with BI (Business Intelligence) Tools
What Are ETL and BI Tools?
ETL (Extract Transform Load) tools are connector tools that pull data from your eCommerce platform and other marketing channels. But they don’t offer dashboards and reporting natively. They need to be connected to other BI (Business Intelligence) tools like Google Data Studio or Tableau to visualize that data.
BI software is a general term to describe data analytics and reporting software that help businesses in any industry visualize and analyze complex datasets.
Overview of ETL Tools
ETL reporting tools, such as Funnel and SuperMetrics, allow you to aggregate marketing data from multiple sources, and then display those metrics and data in dashboard software or BI tools (e.g. Tableau or Google Data Studio).
They also often offer functionality for data cleaning, data transformation, and normalization of data. These are particularly useful when you’re combining data from different channels.
TapClicks (which we discuss in detail below) offers equally powerful tools for data aggregation, transformation, and normalization. However, because we have built-in dashboard and reporting software, users don’t need to use two separate services (an ETL tool and a BI tool). Both functions are included in our product.
Overview of BI Tools
Business intelligence tools (e.g Tableau) provide data analytics and visualization capabilities which focus on the general data management of an enterprise business.
Their embedded analytics capabilities enable users to integrate their data into external applications to provide analytics and reporting to their customers.
While some BI tools draw on a broad and diverse range of data sources, unlike TapClicks, they often have limited marketing-specific connectors. So if you work with a wide range of marketing platforms, it’s likely you’ll need to have additional API connectors developed to bring in that data.
TapClicks also provides the capability to integrate with non-marketing and offline data (e.g. sales data and ecommerce stores) through our Smart Connectors. So any data you can pull into a BI tool, you can pull into TapClicks as well.
The Drawbacks of Pairing ETL and BI Tools
- Depending on the tool you use for visualization, your customizability and ease of use will vary. For example, BI tools like Tableau offer a lot of customizability, but can be complex to use. In contrast, something like Google Data Studio offers less customization, but is easier to use. On the other hand, with TapClicks, you get both ease of use and a high level of customizability.
- Compared to TapClicks, your flexibility for distributing your data will be more limited. You will have fewer options for scheduling automated reports, creating reports in different formats, or creating custom branded slide deck style reports.
- BI dashboard tools are not typically set up to offer a high level of scalability. So if you need to manage separate dashboards for many different regions, clients, or campaigns, the process to do so will be more difficult and time consuming. Conversely, we’ve built TapClicks to make managing and updating many different dashboards fast and easy.
If you don’t need a lot of customization or reporting at scale, using an ETL tool with something like Google Data Studio can be a good option for you.
On the other hand, if you want to do super sophisticated eCommerce analytics, using an ETL tool with a BI tool like Tableau can also be a good option — but your reporting, scalability, and ease of use will be limited.
2. Marketing Reporting and Dashboard Software
Like TapClicks, marketing reporting and dashboard software bring connectors (ETL functionality) and visualization (BI functionality) together into one tool.
They offer automated reporting options and dashboard access to stakeholders and clients.
Overview of Dashboard and Reporting Software
There are many lightweight dashboard and reporting tools for marketers who operate in a fast paced environment (e.g. Klipfolio’s PowerMetrics and AgencyAnalytics)
These offer customizable dashboards with varying levels of data source integrations. However, unlike TapClicks, widgets must be configured manually within each campaign which is laborious and time consuming. TapClicks, as we’ll explain below, instead allows for automated updates across many dashboards and customization at widget level.
TapClicks also offers far more connectors marketing-specific data sources.
Aside from the difference in the number of connectors offered by each platform, TapClicks is more suited to agencies who want to scale. This is a key point of difference for agencies with multiple clients with eCommerce stores.
The Drawbacks of Marketing Reporting and Dashboard Software
These tools are limited in scale and customization:
- In some cases that’s the data sources you can connect to
- The number of campaigns or clients you can run
- How dashboard templates scale
- Customization of widgets and dashboards
If you don’t need a lot of flexibility when it comes to customization and reporting at scale, and you’re managing a lower volume of clients or campaigns, this type of reporting and dashboard software can be a good option for your ecommerce reporting.
However, if you want an all-encompassing reporting tool which allows you to do everything in one place, with high levels of customizability and scalability, we’ve designed the platform for you.
How TapClicks is Different from Other eCommerce Reporting Tools
You don’t need to use additional tools such as ETL or BI tools in order to aggregate, analyze and report on your data because TapClicks combines everything for you in one place.
We’ve outlined some of the drawbacks of the other types of eCommerce reporting tools above. Now we’ll walk through the TapClicks solution and show you why we feel it’s one of the best all-encompassing tools on the market.
Want to streamline your entire eCommerce reporting process in a single tool? Try our free 14-day trial.
Number of Marketing Data Sources
eCommerce reporting tools are typically limited in the number of marketing platforms you can connect to in order to create your reports. For example, DashThis has only 30 integrations while AgencyAnalytics has only 60 integrations.
TapClicks offers over 250+ marketing-specific API connections to leading platforms. This includes live connections with popular advertising and social media channels (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, etc.), SEO platforms (MOZ and Google Search Console), CRM tools, and more.
And, if there isn’t a specific plug-in connector for your chosen eCommerce platform (e.g. WooCommerce or Shopify), TapClicks can set this up for you and connect directly with your eCommerce site so you can be pulling data within the hour. Plus, we can pull in up to 12 months’ historical data so you can start making more informed business decisions from day one.
The connectors are managed by our team so you can be confident that they are always up-to-date. This means you don’t have to maintain them yourself and you can be sure that your data is accurate and reliable.
Customizability and Scalability of Dashboard Templates
Customization levels vary with eCommerce tools. For example, a BI tool like Tableau offers a lot of customizability but can be complex to use. In contrast, something like Google Data Studio offers less customization but is easier to use. We designed TapClicks to offer the best of both worlds.
TapClicks offers a marketing dashboard with robust and customizable templates that update automatically. We have ready-made templates for PPC, social media marketing channels, ad networks and email campaigns.
You can create and customize them once, and not have to constantly update them each week or month come reporting time.
Each dashboard is made up of highly customizable widgets. These can be removed completely or edited. And, if you want to add different widgets you can easily create a new one. You can even change the date range of data for individual widgets.
You can also integrate data from multiple customer data platforms into one metric so your data can be blended into whichever format you want — bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts, etc. For example, if you wanted to view your Shopify data alongside your Amazon data, you could do this by customizing your widgets and viewing the data from each in a graph.
And you can customize the colors and create attractive visualizations for stakeholders which they can easily understand.
Apply Template Updates Across Many Dashboards
Whether you’re using a combination of ETL and BI tools or a lightweight dashboard tool, template edits are not usually automatically applied to live dashboards. They’ll apply to new dashboards, but you still have to go and make those edits to each of your live dashboards.
But with TapClicks, if you make a change to your template, it can be automatically applied to all of your dashboards using that template. You won’t have to retroactively go back to each one and make that update.
This is a huge gain in efficiency and optimization that allows you to scale and easily manage more eCommerce store dashboards.
Note: You can also make a change to just one dashboard if you wish.
So, if you have multiple clients with eCommerce accounts, you could update all their dashboards generically but you could also tailor a specific dashboard for one client if you wanted to.
Manage Many Dashboards from One Environment
Some of the alternative eCommerce reporting tools put a cap on how many clients or campaigns are permitted with their software. For example, AgencyAnalytics caps two of its pricing tiers at 15 or less campaigns.
If you have multiple dashboards to manage (e.g. Shopify data, Facebook Ads and Google Ads), and/or dashboards for multiple clients, TapClicks allows you to manage them all in one place.
TapClicks is built for agencies that want to scale, so several accounts can be grouped into a single client, and there is no limit to the amount of campaigns that can be run.
Because all your data comes into the TapClicks platform via the Smart Connector, all the aggregation, analysis, and reporting can be conducted seamlessly in a single environment. And if you have many clients, you can set up as many dashboards as you need.
For example, you could have several clients with Shopify data. It’s easy to set up a generic Shopify dashboard which can be used for all your clients and you can tailor each one at widget level too.
Extensive Reporting Options for Distribution
Provide Dashboard Access
While most dashboards allow you to provide clients access, TapClicks offers more customization in permissions. For example, if you’re an agency, you might not want to share your mark-up costs with your clients.
We let you set up custom permissions for your eCommerce clients who want to view their performance metrics any time they want.
Plus, a really convenient feature with TapClicks is that you can set up these permissions at the widget level. You can customize a specific widget so that it doesn’t display any sensitive information that you don’t want the client to see (e.g. mark up costs).
You then give your client permission to access the eCommerce analytics that you want them to see and save yourself having to manually send out custom reports or respond to last minute requests.
Most lightweight dashboards or BI tools limit you to exporting reports as spreadsheet or PDF files. So, if you want more custom or client facing eCommerce reports, you have to create them manually with other tools (Google Sheets, PowerPoint, Google Analytics, etc.).
If you’re a marketing agency with multiple eCommerce clients this takes a huge amount of time and involves patching together different reporting and analytics tools which require a lot of work to build and maintain.
Within the TapClicks ReportStudio, you can set up beautifully designed, PowerPoint-style marketing reports to display your clients’ KPI’s. And it’s easy to create and share last-minute reports with clients.
As mentioned above, you can give your clients specific access to customized dashboards which display any data you choose and with the permissions set by you. That way, they can view their marketing performance on demand, any time they want.
You can choose from the TapClicks professionally designed suite of report templates, or you can upload your own.
As with our dashboards, the templates are white-label, so you can implement your preferred branding and choose a color palette to match your or your clients’ corporate colors.
By setting up recurring reports, you can significantly cut down on the time needed to spend preparing marketing or sales reports, without sacrificing the quality of the report itself.
Schedule Automated Reports in Many Formats
We also save you a significant amount of time by letting you schedule recurring reports.
And, unlike other marketing platforms or BI tools, we don’t limit you to specific days. When creating a recurring report, you can select how often you want reports to be sent out: every day, every week, every other week, on specific days of the month, and so on.
Reports can be scheduled for a set period of time (e.g for a specific sales period) and can be sent in all the main file types (PDF, PPT and CSV).
This level of customization and automation gives you a significant amount of flexibility and scalability if you have several eCommerce clients you want to provide reports for.
We’ve taken a look at the different software tools available for reporting on your eCommerce data and the drawbacks with some of them. If you are a marketing agency with one or two clients with eCommerce stores, then you will probably manage with a simple BI tool used in conjunction with Google Data Studio, or a more lightweight marketing dashboard.
However, if you have multiple eCommerce clients and you are looking to do all your aggregation, analytics, and reporting in one place, then TapClicks is the platform for you.
TapClicks allows you to combine all your eCommerce data with your other marketing analytics (e.g. Google Ads) and present it in easy to use, attractive visualizations. And TapClicks ReportStudio means you can create visually appealing reports at scale which can be automated and scheduled so that they are distributed to whoever you want to see them.
Want to see how easy it is to use the TapClicks marketing dashboard and ReportStudio features? Try our free 14-day trial.