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Using Google Analytics to Find Pairs of Products Usually Purchased Together

The power of suggestion is not just something that expert hypnotists use to get a group of tourists to smell a weird smell, but something you can use to increase your sales. There are many items that are frequently purchased together in your online store, whether you know it or not.

Both the Shopify and BigCommerce platforms offer multiple cross-selling apps that are easy to integrate and allow you to expand your store’s selling capabilities by offering products usually purchased together to a user that is checking-out. However, most of the time you still need to tell the app what to offer and that is where this hand trick comes in.

Let’s talk about cross-selling. Cross-selling apps, like the ones mentioned above, invite customers to buy related or complementary items. This is likely to increase the average order value, and therefore positively affect your business’s bottom line. It also makes your site more user-friendly. And when you users love you so does Google.

Here is an example of two products you might expect to find in one’s shopping cart:

  • Yaky Hollywood Braid
  • Medicated Anti-dandruff Conditioner for Braids

With a cross-selling app in place, you can offer a customer the Conditioner, if the Braids were added to the shopping cart. Needless to say, the customer is able to refuse to purchase the offered product if they don’t want it, but more often than not, these related extras offered in the right place and at the right time can increase the average order value.

Suppose you are on Bigcommerce and you have installed a cross-selling app (there really are many to choose from). You still need to handpick related product combinations.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KEEP IN MIND: The way you, as a store owner, think may be different from what your customers think. The products you would match together may not be the way the customers are organically pairing them, so it is important to defer to the numbers in this case.

Fortunately, Google Analytics offers a pretty easy way to discover products that end up in the same order the most frequently. To find them, follow these steps:

  1. If your store does not generate tons of sales every month, it is a good idea to change the Date Range to something like the last 3 months or more, depending on what you need.
  2. In Google Analytics, go to Conversions > Ecommerce > Product Performance.
  3. Select “Product” as your Primary Dimension, and “Transaction ID” as your Secondary Dimension.

Google Analytics dimensions

Then, export the data in CSV.

You are almost there! The two first columns of your CSV will be “Product” and “Transaction ID”. Select all cells of the “Transaction ID” column, and with those cells selected, go to Home > Conditional Formatting > Highlight Cells Rules, and choose Duplicate Values. This will color-code cells with duplicate values in column Transaction ID (as shown in below screenshot):

Excel Product names and transactions

As you can see, two products with the same Transaction ID (#8331) were part of the same order. When I open those product pages (to easily find them consider using the store’s internal search feature), I can see that they are clearly related, and can be paired for cross-selling. Now, go through the rest of the product pairs where Transaction ID’s are duplicate, and see if they are great choices to use in your favorite cross-selling app, be it on Bigcommerce or Shopify.

The beauty of this technique is that you don’t have to rely on your own judgment when pairing products for cross-selling. Using Google Analytics, you can get your customer’s perspective on what those product pairs should really be, and specifically tailor your cross-selling app to meet those preferences.

Happy selling! And don't hesitate to get in touch if you need help with your site's SEO.


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