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Q&A: Bringing Data Innovation to Merchants with Google BigQuery

Shelley Kilpatrick / 4 min read

Effective decision making starts with data. However, before you can start making decisions, you need the right technology solutions in place to translate raw data into actionable insights.

With that in mind, BigCommerce is excited to share more details about how merchants can take advantage of our partnership with Google and their robust data solutions, including Analytics, BigQuery and Data Studio.

While you might already use Google Analytics for measuring website traffic, product sales, conversion rates, and so much more, you may not be familiar with Google’s advanced data offerings and how they work with the BigCommerce platform.

To help explain, we’ve brought in some of our internal experts, Derrek Pearson, Senior Manager, Product Management, and Mindy Regnell, Market Insights Manager, to answer some questions. 

First off, what is Google BigQuery and Google Data Studio?

Derrek Pearson:

Google BigQuery is an analytical data warehouse that enables you to bring together all your data from various sources. Once you have your data in one place, you can leverage structured query language (SQL) and artificial intelligence (AI) to ask analytical questions and visualize your data so that you can make strategic business decisions. 

Google’s Data Studio is a free visualization tool that you can use to build and customize reports that are easy to share with your team. 

So what is the advantage of the pre-built Google BigQuery integration with the BigCommerce platform?

Derrek Pearson:

While merchants with no developer skills could always sign up for a free Google BigQuery account, the difficult part has always been moving their data. There’s a lot of development work that must take place, either building the connection yourself or going through third-party tools.

Mindy Regnell:

Exactly, it’s not as easy as exporting and importing using a CSV file because there’s only so much data that you can export cleanly into a CSV file. Instead, you’re using APIs, and you probably need to involve a developer, which makes the process more resource-intensive.

Derrek Pearson:

With the pre-built integration, we’ve done the work for you to get your BigCommerce data into the data warehouse. Now, you can go into your control panel, follow a series of very simple steps that don’t require any development skills, and at the end, you’ll have your data represented in Google BigQuery. 

This enables you to leverage the full power of Google BigQuery on your BigCommerce store data — without taking on a big development project.

Mindy Rengall:

Not only is the integration good for merchants, it’s also good for developers because they can spend their time doing other things that will have a bigger impact on the business. For instance, they can create custom reports and scripting, find unique ways to slice and dice your data, or visualize data in new ways using business intelligence tools.

One of the things that BigCommerce has done really well is we’ve been investing in sample scripting and reporting, so all you need to do is change the variables and networks for your store. So we’re solving a lot of those most common use cases already. 

How can merchants get started using the pre-built Google Data Studio reports?

Derrek Pearson:

So far, we’ve published three Google Data Studio reports: product revenue by category, cost of goods sold, and revenue by city. They’re a great solution for getting started using Google Data Studio with Google BigQuery. You can find them here in our Knowledge Base

What’s particularly cool about the reports is that there’s a set-up instruction section showing how merchants can copy them, and once they do, it’s their report that they own. Then, they can follow a series of steps to swap out the sample data with their data. Now they have full control over the data and the reports.

Using these sample reports is a great first step in taking your BigCommerce data and leveraging it in a business intelligence tool, like Google Data Studio, to gain insights that can help drive your business. And once you have these first reports, you can build out your own reports to suit your particular needs.

How does BigCommerce’s open approach to data benefit merchants?

Derrek Pearson:

Our strategy across the board, data included, is to really maintain an open platform — what we like to refer to as Open SaaS. Merchants can use the best tools that meet their needs, and we aim to reduce any friction and make that process as easy and smooth as possible. And that’s the approach we’re bringing with our data partners, which we’re calling Big Open Data Solutions. We believe this is a unique approach that nobody else is really doing.

Mindy Regnell:

To elaborate on what Derek said, generally, with other ecommerce platforms, it’s possible to take your data externally, but they don’t make it easy. For instance, some have very strict API terms of service that restrict where you can take your data. While others prefer that you use their intelligence tools, which may seem like a good solution at first, but you may find that you eventually want to build a custom report that isn’t supported. Many larger organizations often use more than one analytics or reporting tool, so being able to easily move your data into another system can make it easier. 

The BigCommerce difference is that we give you control over your data, so you can get very granular with the types of insights you’re generating. You can also use the solutions that you’re most comfortable with and can provide the biggest impact on your business. 

For example, your BigCommerce data can be passed through your instance of Google BigQuery, and then you can use your instance of Segment.com to start identifying your customers and building out their journey. And you own the data every step of the way.

Connect Your Data to Google BigQuery Today

For merchants already on the BigCommerce platform, you can get started with Google BigQuery right now by following these simple setup instructions. One thing to note is that this integration is only available for merchants on Pro or Enterprise plans. For merchants on Standard or Plus, you’ll need to upgrade to access Google BigQuery.

Additionally, you can explore all of our data technology partners to learn more about additional solutions for business intelligence, customer data platforms, personalization and more.

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Shelley Kilpatrick

Shelley Kilpatrick

Content Marketing Manager

Shelley is a Content Marketing Manager at BigCommerce, where she specializes in content strategy, research and writing to educate brands on the ecommerce industry. Prior to joining BigCommerce, she worked on marketing teams spanning various industries from eLearning to millennial and Gen Z research. Outside of work, she loves exploring all things Texas BBQ and craft beer with her husband and two dogs.

View all posts by Shelley Kilpatrick

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