Paperchase GA Flash Audit
10/06/2011 | Written by | Categories: GA Flash Audit

Paperchase homepage screenshot

This is a Google Analytics Flash Audit performed on the Paperchase website.  It evaluates their implementation of Google Analytics and makes some suggestions as to what can be done to improve the usefulness of the data via the configuration.

Paperchase appears to have a basic implementation of Google Analytics which is likely to be hindered in in some site sections by a templated URL structure leading to unreadable page names.  Virtual page names are used in the Checkout Process area (although without our hierarchical structure) so performance of that key part of the website can be  understood.

The action of adding a product to basket is not being tracked which would make it much more difficult to optimise the performance of the Paperchase website.  And while there is good functionality enabling filters to be applied to Search Results and Product List pages, the details of these filters is also not being captured.

Basic Details

Company Name: Paperchase


Visits: 89,000 (Apr ‘11)

UK Visits: 75,000 (Apr ‘11)

Code on Website

Paperchase is using the traditional version of Google Analytics.

They do not have code for any other tool on their website, web analytics or otherwise.

Google Analytics code

Standard Code

There were no pages encountered that did not contain Google Analytics code.

The GA account number was consistent across all pages.

The Paperchase website does not require any sub domain or cross domain tracking and there was no code implemented that affects cookies.

While most pages just contain basic page tags, all pages in the checkout process including the Basket page use virtual page names.  This greatly improves the usability of all page name related reports in GA around this section of the website.

Additional Variables

No custom variables were encountered during the exploration of the Paperchase website.

No events were encountered during the exploration of the website.

No virtual pages were encountered during the exploration of the website.

Marketing Campaign parameters

The marketing channels that Paperchase has been observed to use are Email and Facebook.  Emails are tagged with GA campaign parameters that will enable this marketing to be identified within Google Analytics but links on Facebook are not.

Potential Configuration of Google Analytics

Internal (Site) Search

Paperchase is able to set-up Internal Search reporting although the URL for internal search results contains around 14 different URL query parameters.  They need to specify the search URL parameter as termtextkeywordsearch.  The default page name once all the URL query parameters have been stripped out is simply /bin/venda.  This should be renamed used custom profile filters or virtual pages names as described in the next section.

Page Names

To maximise the usefulness of web analytics reporting and analysis, page names should be recognisable as relating to a particular page on the website and follow a hierarchical structure.  If they do not naturally follow a strong naming convention, pages can be renamed as part of the configuration of Google Analytics.  For an ecommerce website, pages are grouped into three sections: ecommerce pages, checkout process (Basket page through to Order Confirmation page) and non-ecommerce pages.

Ecommerce pages

The Category and Product Details pages in this section follow a decent page naming convention (which could be simplified) but the Product List and Search Results pages do not.  These pages use templates without the benefit of pretty URLs resulting in generic page names with a long string of URL query parameters.  Suggestions for how ecommerce pages should be renamed in the configuration are:

  • Department pages
    • Apply a profile filter that renames Request URIs e.g.
      • Current /shop/stationery/icat/stationery/
      • New/department/stationery
    • The naming convention is
      • /department/<department name>
  • Product List pages
    • Apply a profile filter that renames Request URIs e.g.
      • Current /stationery/notebooks/icat/snotebooks/
      • New/product_list/snotebooks/stationary/notebooks
    • The naming convention is:
      • /product_list/<condensed sub category name>/<category>/<sub category>
  • Filtered Product List pages
    • Apply a profile filter that renames Request URIs e.g.
      • Current /browse/snotebooks
      • New/product_list/snotebooks/filtered
    • The naming convention is:
      • /product_list/<condensed sub category name>/filtered
    • These pages would ideally use virtual page names to create a naming convention of
      • /product_list/<category>/<sub category>/filtered
    • The <condensed sub category name> could then be removed from Product List page names
  • Search Results pages
    • Apply a profile filter that renames Request URIs e.g.
      • Current /bin/venda?typekeywordsearch=
      • New/search_results/not_filtered
    • As the page name /bin/venda is used elsewhere, these pages should ideally be renamed using virtual page names
    • The search term still needs to be a URL query parameter
  • Filtered Search Results pages
    • Apply a profile filter that renames the Request URIs e.g.
      • Current /bin/venda? typekeywordsearch=keyword&termorder=keywordsearch%3Artype%3Acatrestrict
      • New/search_results/filtered
    • As with unfiltered search results pages, these pages should use virtual page names to ensure the correct page name is captured

Paperchase product page screenshot

  • Product Detail pages
    • Apply a profile filter that renames the Request URIs e.g.
      • Current /notebooks/strawberries-a7-notebook/invt/00483577/
      • New/product/notebooks/strawberries-a7-notebook/00483577
    • The naming convention is:
      • /product/<sub category name>/<product name>/<sku code>
    • It would be useful to use a virtual page name here to include the <category> as part of the page name
  • Tell a friend
    • Apply a profile filter that renames the Request URIs e.g.
      • Current /pencil-cases/kaleidoscope-flat-pencil-case/invt/00484432/&temp=tellafriend
      • New/tell_a_friend/pencil_cases/kaleidoscope-flat-pencil-case
    • The page name for successfully sending the email appears to be /bin/venda and as such, useless
    • However, can apply a profile filter that renames the Request URI based on the Page Title
      • If Page Title is like “Tell A Friend about kaleidoscope flat pencil case at Paperchase – Error(s) on page” (note the Error(s) on page)
      • Rename the Request URI to /tell_a_friend/confirmation
    • Ideally the page name for success would be created using a virtual page name

Checkout Process pages

Pages in this section are uniquely named through virtual page views and it is easy to identify which page each page name represents.  However the page names are all singular in nature with no hierarchy in use.  Simply adding in a directory name through profile filters or reworking the virtual page names will make these page names more useful.

  • Basket => /checkout/basket
  • Signin => /checkout/signin
  • Enter Postcode => /checkout/enter_postcode
  • Order summary => /checkout/order_summary

Non ecommerce pages

There are a wide range of non ecommerce pages on the Paperchase website with a variety of naming conventions.  Some like the About Us and Careers pages are fine although could be shortened.  Others need virtual page names to become useful.

Some suggestions are:

  • Homepage
    • There are two page names for the home page – / and /page/home
    • In the basic admin, add page/home/ as the default homepage so these two versions are grouped under the name /page/home
  • Store Finder pages
    • There are various page names in use around the Store Finder functionality, some useful, some not.
    • The list of all UK stores is fine with the page name /all-uk-stores/page/ukstores/
    • However the results page upon using the Store Finder is quite simply /bin/venda
      • This needs to be overwritten using a virtual page name such as  /stores/store_finder/postcode_search
    • The Store Detail pages use page names that describe the store but the pages themselves cannot be identified and grouped.  They also require virtual page names to make them useful
      • Current /maidstone/fremlin-walk-house-of-fraser/stry/me141qp/
      • New /stores/store_details/maidstone/fremlin-walk/house-of-fraser
  • Company Information pages
    • These pages are ok although could be shorter e.g.
      • /about-us/company-information/page/companyinformation/ => /about-us/company-information
      • /about-us/careers/page/careers/ => /about-us/careers


It is recommended that if not already set-up, Goals are created for the following website actions based on the existing implementation and previously suggested configuration:

  • Place Order
  • View Careers page
  • Subscribe to newsletter
  • Send product details to friend

Analyse the Ecommerce Funnel

Paperchase has a not uncommon website feature which makes the Ecommerce funnel more complicated.  Visitors are able to add products to their basket from the Product List pages so do not even need to view a product page before placing an order.

Regardless of this, no measurement is recorded when visitors create and add to their basket, breaking that stage of the funnel.

Analyse the Checkout Process

All of the pages within the checkout process can be identified and reported on.

Create a Merchandising Report

It is not possible to create a Merchandising report for Paperchase, once again due to the products being added to basket not tracked with Google Analytics.

Recommendations for an Enhanced Implementation

Customisation of Cookies

Paperchase has no need to add code to customise cookies.

Custom Variables

It is recommended that the following custom variables are tracked:

  • Visitor
    • Customer
  • Visit
    • Basket created (for visitors who return to a persistent basket)
  • Page View
    • On the Product Details page
    • Product SKU
      • Availability
      • Price range
    • On the Search Results page
      • Number of search results returned


It is recommended that the following actions on the Paperchase website are tracked as events:

  • Product Details page
    • Adding the product to basket
    • Clicking through the description/details tabs
    • Sharing details on social media
    • Clicking to tell a friend
    • Printing page
    • Clicking to zoom into product image
  • Internal Search Results & Product List pages
    • Applying a filter
      • Capture the search term/category and the type & value of the filter
    • Selecting a sort option
    • Changing the number of products viewed
    • Clicking to add a product to basket
  • Clicking on Internal Campaigns
    • Examples include Visit Facebook & Gift Finder links on homepage
  • Clicking on “recently viewed” items
  • Clicking on “you may also like” items
  • Clicking on Checkout button on Basket page
  • Clicking on View Basket on the top right of the screen

Virtual Page Views

It would be worth capturing the Add to Basket as a virtual page view so that this action can be included within Google Analytics funnels

Download Guide to Google Analytics Flash Audit

Download Paperchase Flash Audit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking to improve your digital analytics or conversion rate optimisation?
Contact us today on +44 (0)20 7148 5970

Alternatively, come visit us in London and we’ll buy the coffee!
Get in touch
Leave us a message
Use the form below to leave us a message.

Lindsey Street