Magento is a great platform. It’s incredibly flexible, and it is used to power everything from early stage e-commerce sites to some of the biggest sites on the internet. However, like any platform, some areas of its functionality are stronger than others. In this post, we explore an area that often leaves users unimpressed: Magento reports.

Existing Magento Reports

The default Magento reports are very basic. The main things you can do in the Magento reporting interface are:

  • See your top 5 items, search terms or customers
  • See your most recent 5 customers, orders, or search terms
  • Plot a line chart of revenue or orders for a few different time ranges
  • Pull simple lists of orders, products, customers, and search terms

These are useful for business intelligence, but they won’t allow you to build a data driven business. To take things to the next level, you need to supplement Magento’s reporting capabilities with additional analysis.

What’s missing from Magento’s Reports?

The list of things you can do with your data is only limited by the number of questions you have. While it can be tempting to run as many analyses as you have time for, it’s important to focus on actionable metrics.

Some of the analyses and metrics that savvy ecommerce companies study are:

The tools and features that help companies study and manage such metrics include:

  • Custom dashboards
  • Flexibile visualizations
  • Different views and permission levels for various stakeholders
  • Tools to incorporate data stored in other databases, Google Analytics, or spreadsheets

Augmenting Magento Reports With SQL Queries

The first thing that most e-commerce companies try when they want to answer questions with data is to ask a member of the development team run SQL queries.

This works if there’s only one data question, if you don’t need the answer immediately, and if the business user can work with the results in Excel to get what they need. However, if you want your business to use data to drive decisions on a day to day basis, this is not a sustainable solution.

I’ve spoken with hundreds of e-commerce businesses here at RJMetrics and in my previous job in venture capital. I don’t remember ever meeting someone whose IT team had plenty of time for pulling data for business users.

Manual queries can be particularly tricky because of Magento’s entity-attribute-value data model. This allows for a lot of flexibility when building out your store, but it also makes building and maintaining analytical queries much trickier.

Enhancing Magento Reports with Hosted Business Intelligence

Here at RJMetrics, we work with many companies that are on the Magento platform, and we’ve learned a lot about the platform’s strengths and weaknesses. We’ve spent even more time working with e-commerce businesses on all different kinds of platforms to understand their business challenges and how we can help use data to solve them.

We’d love to make your data understandable and actionable. Sign up for the RJMetrics free trial today.