You wouldn't try to park your car without checking your side-view mirrors. In ecommerce, metrics are your mirrors. They help you to see what kind of situation you're in and if you need to adjust your actions or even make a complete U-turn.
Metrics allow ecommerce businesses to track the success of campaigns, products, and the overall health of the business. By tracking metrics, ecommerce businesses get alerted when something isn't working so they can make changes accordingly. Metrics also mean you can identify trends and opportunities to optimize and improve business performance.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a way of checking if the relevant metrics are on track to meet your goals. In this piece, we'll take you through the basics of KPIs, including how to set KPIs for ecommerce success. Then we'll give you a rundown of the essential metrics you should be tracking. Let's dive in.
KPIs: why they matter and how to set them
KPIs are metrics that you track in order to see how your organization is performing. They're specific to your industry, your company, and can vary depending on the goals you want to achieve.
At their core, key performance indicators (KPIs) help you measure the performance and success of your brand. And when it comes to ecommerce, they can play a crucial role in helping you understand how well your business is performing and what actions you need to take in order to improve.
In order to set KPIs effectively, you need to first understand what you want your business to achieve. Once you have defined your goals, you can begin to select the metrics that will help you measure whether or not you are reaching them. Don't worry if you're not sure which metrics to choose — we'll take you through the most important ecommerce metrics in the next section!
After you've selected metrics that align with your goals, decide on KPIs that make sense for your organization. For instance, if you want to improve customer loyalty, you might set the KPI "improve our net promoter score by 3% over the next quarter". If you're focused on lead generation and brand awareness, you might set the KPI "increase blog traffic by 5% over the next month."
Once you have set your KPIs, make sure to track them regularly in order to get a real-time understanding of how your business is performing.
12 metrics for ecommerce across the customer journey
Although the metrics that you track will vary according to your specific goals, all ecommerce brands will want to measure success through their ability to:
introduce their ecommerce business to new audiences
convert those people into customers
generate maximum value from existing customers
To help you out, we've curated a list of metrics across these key areas.
1. Ad click-through rate
Ad click-through rate, or CTR, is the percentage of people who see your ad and then click on it. This can be measured by comparing impressions (how many people saw your ad) with clicks (the number of people who actually clicked on the ad).
CTR is a key indicator of how effective your marketing campaigns are at driving traffic to your ecommerce site. If you notice a significant drop in CTR, it may be time to revise your marketing strategy, either by targeting different ads to different demographics or by attempting to improve the quality of your ads overall.
Another key metric to track for ecommerce brands is return on ad spend, or ROAS. This metric measures how much revenue your paid ads generate compared to the amount you spend on those ads. ROAS can provide valuable insight into how well your ad campaigns are performing.
For more information about ROAS – including how to calculate it and how to improve it — check out the Ecommerce Guide to Return On Ad Spend.
3. Website traffic
Website traffic is the total number of visits to your website over a given period of time. This metric can be useful for understanding how well your marketing efforts are driving people to your site. You can track traffic to your online store by looking at metrics like Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, and Sessions in Google Analytics.
4. Bounce rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of site users who click away from your website after viewing only one page. This measures how engaging your website content is and whether or not visitors are finding what they're looking for in your ecommerce store. If your bounce rate is increasing, you may need to revise your ecommerce website content or navigation in order to make it more user-friendly.
5. Open rate
Open rate is the percentage of people who open your email or SMS campaign. This can be measured by comparing the number of delivered messages and opens.
Measuring the open rate can help you understand how effective your marketing efforts are at engaging potential customers. If you notice that your open rate is lower than usual, it may be time to optimize your campaigns for better results. This might include revising the subject lines of your emails, including more images and videos, or personalizing the content of your messages.
6. Conversion rate
Conversion rate is the number of visitors who take a desired action on your site. This can include signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or filling out a contact form. Conversion rate matters because it tells you how effective your marketing efforts are at driving customers to take the next step in their journey. If your conversion rate is low, look into ways to improve your sales funnel and increase customer engagement on your site. This could include revising your website copy, adding more attention-grabbing CTAs, or offering customers incentives for taking specific actions on your site.
7. Customer acquisition cost
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the amount of money you spend to acquire a new customer. CAC is important because it can help you understand the overall ROI of your marketing efforts. This metric measures the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and helps you determine whether or not it's worth investing in new customers. To calculate CAC, simply divide the total amount you've spent on marketing efforts by the number of new customers you've acquired.
8. Shopping cart abandonment rate
Cart abandonment rate is the number of shoppers who put items in their virtual shopping cart but then abandon the purchase process before completing the transaction. If your cart abandonment rate is high, update your checkout process or website design in order to make it more user-friendly.
9. Average order value
The average order value is the money spent by the average customer on a single purchase. You can calculate the average order value by dividing the total amount of money spent by the number of orders placed. This metric is important because it can help you understand the overall profitability of your business. If the average order value is low, it may be difficult to make a profit from your sales.
10. Customer lifetime value
Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the estimated total revenue a customer is likely to generate over the course of their relationship with your business. This metric is important because it can help you understand the long-term potential of your business.
11. Net promoter score
Net promoter score (NPS) is a metric used to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. There are a few different ways to calculate NPS, but the most common method is to ask customers how likely they are to recommend your business to a friend on a scale of 1 to 10. Customers who respond with a 9 or 10 are considered promoters, while customers who respond with a 6 or lower are considered detractors. To calculate NPS, subtract the number of detractors from the promoters.
12. Repeat customer rate
Repeat customer rate tell you what percentage of customers make more than one purchase from your business. This metric can be used to measure ecommerce success because it shows how good you are at getting customers to return and make additional purchases. You can calculate it by dividing the number of repeat customers by the total number of customers.
Adapt and thrive
The value in tracking ecommerce metrics is that they show you when and where you need to change course to reach your desired destination. If you notice you're off track to hit a KPI, you need to investigate what's wrong and create an action plan to improve that metric.
Ecommerce is a constantly changing industry. To thrive, it's important to track metrics so you can adapt and update your strategies to match the changing conditions. Check out our 10 Strategies for the Evolving Ecommerce Landscape.