Advanced Ecommerce Tracking in Piwik PRO 101

Published: December 5, 2016 Updated: February 18, 2019 Author Category Conversion Optimization, Product Best Practices

This is a guest post written by Jan-Willem Ligtelijn of the Sir Miles B.V. agency.

“Advanced ecommerce tracking” is one of the key features of Google Analytics that can really help you dive into your online business flows and revenues. Piwik PRO also lets you expand the basic online cart tracking functionalities, although it may achieve similar results in a slightly different way.

Advanced ecommerce tracking provides you with information on product interactions throughout the entire shopping process: from item impressions and clicks, through viewing item details, to adding or removing the item from a shopping cart. It also automatically traces the checkout process, transactions, and even refunds.

To use these features you’ve got to have some coding skills or know someone who does. Let’s be honest, it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. But here’s a primer on making it work for you.

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Comparing Google and Piwik PRO advanced ecommerce tracking

While Google’s advanced ecommerce tracking is more elaborate in its “off-the-shelf” features, Piwik PRO can also provide you with a wealth of very useful information about your shoppers.

Here’s a quick comparison of the advanced ecommerce capabilities offered by Google Analytics and Piwik PRO:

Feature Google Analytics Piwik PRO
Product impressions Yes Yes
Product click Related to EAN Related to page or by using custom dimension EAN
Add to cart click Yes Yes
Remove cart / Update cart Yes Yes
Transaction tracking Yes Yes
Checkout tracking Yes Through custom funnel
Product detail impression Yes Yes
Promotion impressions Yes Through content tracking or custom events
Promotion clicks Yes Through content tracking or custom events

What jumps out at us right away is that while Google Analytics provides most features “out-of-the-box”, Piwik PRO can also deliver similar functionalities with smart implementation of various reports, such as funnels or content tracking.

By using Piwik PRO Tag Manager things get even easier, because most custom events can be easily created without editing a single line of code.

A few functions to enhance your ecommerce tracking

Here are just a few of the JavaScript functions that can help you add further functionalities to your online cart analytics:

  • setEcommerceView
  • Use this function to learn what product or category is being viewed. Piwik PRO reports which product or product category was viewed by the visitor.

  • addEcommerceItem
  • Use this function to push all cart items every time a product is added or deleted from the cart. This function should always be followed by trackEcommerceCartUpdate.

  • trackEcommerceCartUpdate
  • Use this function to learn about updates to the cart total. When the total order value is amended, i.e. when visitors add or remove something from the cart, Piwik reports this action.

  • trackEcommerceOrder
  • Use this function to learn when a successful ecommerce order is placed. This function is regularly triggered when the visitor lands on the order complete or the order success page.

Logged-in user tracking across different devices

Piwik PRO provides a very practical way to track logged-in users across different sessions and devices. This is possible with a feature called User ID, which lets you assign each visitor a unique value such as username, e-mail address, or other specific identifier.

One of the key benefits of User ID is the way Piwik PRO can track the user across devices. For example, let’s say that you are visiting a web shop anonymously. After a while you log in. Your current visit history will be migrated to your login identifier/user id. Even if you log in using another device (e.g. tablet), Piwik PRO handles this as one visit.

Cross-domain user tracking for ecommerce orders

This is particularly convenient when your order is handled through an external payment portal, or if you have a vendor setup with different payment providers. With a simple integration of Piwik PRO tracking code on the external page and pushing the same user ID, you can follow the order and the user through an external domain.

Final thoughts

It might not be as obvious as the “out-of-the-box” features for advanced e-commerce tracking in Google Analytics, but Piwik PRO can also deliver great results. All you need is to know a few JavaScript calls and some smart workarounds. At the individual user level, advanced ecommerce tracking in Piwik PRO can even outshine the standard Google Analytics offerings. If you’re unsure how to go about implementation, don’t hesitate to get in touch and ask one of the Piwik PRO experts for help.


Jan-Willem Ligtelijn is a technical marketing specialist at Sir Miles B.V., based in the Netherlands. Sir Miles is a consultancy firm that specializes in web statistics interpretation, Piwik integrations and MarCom consultancy.

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Author:

Ewa Bałazińska, Content Marketer

Content marketing & PR manager @ Piwik PRO. An avid enthusiast of all things digital, MA in Digital Media from Goldsmiths, London.

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