With Etsy and ArtFire joining selling venues like eCrater in offering Google Analytics I figure it's time for an article on this incredibly useful tool. If you need help setting up Analytics and the technical aspects of it here are some useful links:
Tech Update: Etsy Web Analytics Now Available
Google Analytics Help Center
Google Analytics Video Tutorials

Now once you have Analytics set up how is it useful?

The types of stats you can get from Analytics:
  • How many visitors view your shop per day, week, month, or whatever time fram you want.
  • The average number of pages they view and how long they stay in your shop.
  • What are your most and least popular pages.
  • How many people immediately click out of your shop and what pages they do it from.
  • What sites are sending visitors to your shop.
  • How much traffic from search engines are you getting and what are the search terms they are using to get to your shop.
  • Find out what if any links visitors are clicking on to leave your shop.
  • See what countries your visitors are coming from.

Where Analytics really becomes useful is as a tool to analyze and improve your promotion efforts. Here are a few ways you can use it for this purpose:
  • If you are running ads on a site like OwnTheHour or another site find out just how many people are visiting from that site and whether it's worth the money your spending for the ad.
  • Analytics integrates with google adwords to give you added tracking of the performance of any adwords campaigns you are running.
  • Is Twittering working? Check to see how many people are clicking from your tweets to your shop. If not reconsider how your using Twitter, are you maybe tweeting too much about your shop? Too little? Not enough followers? Etc.
  • Is your blog sending visitors? If not maybe the links to your shop aren't prominent enough or they're too far down the page. For that matter set up Analytics for your blog too if you haven't already and use the two reports together to get an even better sense of what is and isn't working.
  • Do you only sell in the US and your getting a lot of Canadian visitors? Maybe time to rethink selling to Canada or retool your promotion to bring in more US visitors.