“Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay!” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Like Sherlock Holmes who couldn’t build any theory or draw any conclusion without the sufficient amount of data, an ecommerce store owner also needs to have a solid foundation of data to better understand and successfully manage her business.
However, while data is important, the right data is essential. With so much information available from a wide array of sources: your ecommerce platform, Google Analytics and other analytical services – it’s so easy to get buried under an avalanche of reports, stats and numbers and lose track of what is really important.
In this post I’ll define 8 most important metrics and KPIs every ecommerce store owner should keep an eye on to have better results in sales, marketing and customer service.
Average Order Value (AOV)
AOV is considered a key metric by many online retailers, because the higher you can encourage AOV to be, the more income your store will get.
The basic calculation is: (Sum of Revenue Generated)/(# of Orders) = Average Order Value
So, let’s say you have 285 orders combined total $11.575; divide 11.575 by 285 and get your average order value – $40.61
The tricky point here is that Google Analytics doesn’t track all the transactions of your store, so to have the full picture of your sales you need to use the tools that will help you get 100% data (like RJMetrics).
What you can do to increase order size value.Offer free delivery on all orders over $x, bundle deals, implement suggested selling and many more.
The conversion rate tells how effective is your store at closing deals.
The basic calculation is: (Number of Sales) / (Number of Visits) = Conversion Rate
For example, your store is visited 5000 times and 200 of those visits end in a sale, you have a 4% conversion rate. But once again, be accurate with the number of missing transactions you receive by the Google Analytics.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, the average conversion rate for eCommerce stores in 2014 is 3%. Depending on what you’re counting, a good conversion rate is usually in the 1–10% range. If you have less than 1% you might have problems.
Pulling site usability and design, pricing, product copy or developing a strong advertising campaign can help you increase conversion rates.
Bounce Rate is a percentage of visitors who leave your site immediately, probably because they didn’t find what they were looking or the website was too complicated/annoying to use.
The basic calculation is: (Number of visitors who leave immediately) / (Total number of visitors) = Bounce Rate
High bounce rate is a conversion killer. If the bounce rate for your landing pages is high (80%+) you need to fix it: attract the right visitors with the right keywords, improve usability, use good layout, provide valuable & unique content.
Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate
According to a Baymard Institute, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 68%.
The basic calculation is: (#of people who don’t complete checkout) / (# of people who start checkout) = Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate
As an example, if 500 people add items to carts, but only 100 actually purchase them, then we have the following picture:
Purchases not completed: 500 -100 = 400
Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate: 400/500 = 80%
If your site visitors put an item in their carts but stop along the way there could be several reasons for that: something took their mind off (maybe the dog needed to go out) or they found a form too long/confusing/complicated. The first one you can’t control, the second you can.
In Google Analytics, go to the Goals->Funnel Visualization to understand where exactly visitors leave the checkout process and why it’s happening. Here’re some ideas for checkout abandonment rate improvement:
- Remove fields from the too long registration form
- Add security badges and trust seals
- Be transparent about shipping costs
- Reduce checkout steps
- Start abandoned cart recovery campaign
Cost per Acquisition
Cost per Acquisition is a critical marketing metric. It can tell you which campaigns can drive your sales and which will become a costly pile.
The basic calculation is: (Total Cost of Marketing Activities) / (# of Conversions) = Cost per Acquisition
In other words, CPA tells you how much you need to spend to get a paying customer. Why is it so important? Because it helps you determine the true return on investment. In the end,if a campaign brings you only clicks but no orders, it’s not successful.
You may employ different methods to bring in new customers: paid campaigns, SEO, social media ads, high-quality content.
And the question is how can you reduce Cost Per Acquisition? Try to optimize your campaigns’ settings, pause all unprofitable campaigns, fix tracking issues and use other methods of acquisition reduction.
Where does your audience come from? Which channels produce the most customers? What social networks, keywords work best for your business? Knowing all this data will help you get the broad picture about your most high-performing and under-utilized channels.
If you’ve recently launched an online store, you should watch these metrics:
- Unique visitors
- Bounce rate
- Branded vs non-branded keywords
Net Profit is the actual amount of profit a business generates after all expenses. It tells you the profitability of your ecommerce business after taking all costs into account.
The basic calculation is: (Total Revenue) – (Total Expenses) = Net Profit
To increase Net Profit, businesses need to increase their revenue and decrease their expenses. You can lower expenses by improving the efficiency of production or making fewer purchases. You can increase revenue by attracting new clients, raising prices or vice versa making sales.
Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
Customer Lifetime Value measures the total amount of money a customer spends in a store during his relationship with it.
Why does it matter? The main reason why is that you should be earning more from your customers than the actual cost you spend to acquire them. In other words, if it costs you $100 to acquire a customer, you should develop a plan to make this $100 off of that customer within the next year.
There are several different methods of calculating customer lifetime value. I will stick the very basic LTV equation: (Average Order Value) x (# of Repeat Sales) x (Average Retention Time)
As an example, let’s say you have 100 customers. Each of them spends on average $55.50 and 30 of those customers have come back on average 3 times a year. You expect to retain those customers for 2 years. This is what you’ve got: (55.50) x (3) x (2) = $277.50
Here are a few strategies for boosting Customer Lifetime Value:
- 94% of businesses believe that personalization is critical to company’s success. So use the customer’s name and recommendations to reflect previous behavior.
- Focus on customer service – offer free updates and lifetime assistance, be available when customers need you, provide multichannel support, analyze and improve your emails, make customer service easy.
- Reward loyalty – early access to sales, an exclusive first look at new products, exclusively inform about the upcoming sales, let them have their hands on your brand-new products, give away free items for every x order, reward them with bonus points and so on.
- Incorporate customer feedback to improve everything from design and product pages to user experience and customer service.
- Incorporate up-sells into your offers.
- Offer exclusive deals for social shoppers.
- Create content that educates and motivates.
Tools for Tracking Your Ecommerce Metrics and KPIs
The key of getting valuable data from all these metrics is to have access to them in the first place. Of course, there a number of tools out there, so to help you sorting out the best ones we offer you our favorite variants.
1. Google Analytics
No need to introduce Google Analytics. With this tool you can easily track most of the metrics of your site, better understand users’ behavior and monitor the effectiveness of your KPIs and campaigns.
The only “but” lies in missing transactions, no information towards Net Profit, inaccurate traffic data and issues with refunds, coupons and taxes tracking.
RJMetrics collects all your data: web traffic analytics, data base, email marketing, customer support, ad platforms and more.
Data from multiple resources gets compiled together, so you can analyze your stats whenever you want. You can fully customize your reports and share it with your coworkers, partners or clients.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the correct KPI’s begins with clearly defining the goals of a business. What KPIs you settle on will depend on your business model.
Also, it’s important to remember what works for one business might not work for another, because usually businesses drive different objectives and different KPIs.
Don’t just track KPIs for no good reason, because you will lose track of the goals that matter. And of course choose a reliable tool to collect your data.
What KPIs do you keep an eye on for your e-commerce store and what tools do you use to track the key metrics of your site? Post your thoughts in the comments.