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01 September 2021 • Grow Your Sales

21 Key performance indicators (KPIs) for ecommerce businesses to track

21 Key performance indicators (KPIs) for ecommerce businesses to track

Is your ecommerce business as successful as it could be? You can measure success by your store’s bottom line as well as by customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, market share, and more. 

Even if you’re a true leader in your niche, there’s always room for improvement, especially if you’re hoping to increase online sales or scale your ecommerce business.

However, how do you identify your weaknesses so that you can optimize your time, energy, and financial resources and achieve business growth? 

You must make strategic adjustments to your efforts to concentrate your attention on the right areas. Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) will give you the critical insights that you need to help measure how well you run your ecommerce store. 

What is a KPI?

A KPI is an important metric or a measurement of a key factor that’s related to a business’s performance in some way. As an ecommerce business owner, you have access to a wide range of KPIs that cover aspects of operations like marketing, sales, customer retention, and other critical points. 

Through careful analysis of the metrics available to you in these areas, you can make thoughtful decisions about your online store’s operations going forward.

Crucial KPIs to track for your ecommerce business

Today’s ecommerce business owners can obtain KPI data from various sources, such as Google Analytics, their sales numbers, and their ecommerce platforms. 

Before you can fully optimize the power of these KPIs, it’s good to have an understanding of the metrics that are most beneficial to measure for your business. You should also be aware that KPIs across different time periods can help shed new insights for your site and business in general. 

The following indicators are some of the most crucial KPIs that are relevant to ecommerce businesses.

1. Average acquisition cost

You can easily see the results of marketing efforts in terms of traffic generated to your website. However, how many of those site visitors were converted into paying customers? In addition, what cost did your business incur to acquire those new customers?

Average acquisition cost is a KPI that describes the total cost of marketing in relation to the total number of converted leads. 

This metric may be broad, such as by covering leads from all sources. It can also cover the average acquisition cost for a specific marketing channel, such as a pay-per-click Google campaign. 

What’s more, this metric indicates which channels may be more effective at reaching potential customers. It can also inform you as to which marketing messages produce the best outcomes.

2. Average order value

Driving traffic to your website comes with numerous costs, so optimizing the value of each transaction is essential to your business’s success. The average order value tells you how much the typical customer pays for each completed transaction. 

You can run various programs to boost the average order value, such as gamification programs, bundled savings opportunities, and others.

By tracking this KPI for each of these and other efforts, you can determine the optimal ways to maximize the benefit of each sale. This metric can also be used to conduct testing for various programs and campaigns for your online store.

3. Average profit margin

Monitor this KPI to measure your business’s profit margin over a certain period of time. The metric is usually expressed as a percentage and is calculated using your store’s total profits and costs.

Do you need to increase prices on products or find ways to reduce expenses? By increasing your average profit margin in one or both of these ways, you could give your bottom line a boost. 

Keep in mind, however, that increasing prices may reduce sales. Through careful evaluation of your average profit margin, you can find the most strategic point where profits are optimized.

4. Average referral rate

Word-of-mouth advertising is powerful because it’s both free and effective. Your ecommerce store’s average referral rate is calculated by dividing the number of sales generated from referrals by the total number of sales for a specific time period. 

If you find that your store’s performance regarding this KPI isn’t so great, it may indicate dissatisfaction with some aspect of the customer experience. This can include areas such as product quality, delivery times, and customer service.

Identifying specific reasons and properly addressing those reasons may help you to improve your average referral rate. It can also increase the customer lifetime value, customer satisfaction rates, and the average profit per order.

5. Bounce rate

Your website’s bounce rate indicates the percentage of visitors who landed on your website and left without interacting with it in any way. A high bounce rate may indicate that customers found what they needed on the landing page.

However, it can also indicate that your website is poorly designed or that your marketing messages were not aligned with the content on your site. If the bounce rate for your website is high, it’s best to roll up your sleeves and do some further research.

All websites will have bounces. Nevertheless, bounces can be directly associated with lost revenue. 

Because of this, your website’s bounce rate is a very important KPI to track. You should also identify the reasons for these bounces through surveys, testing, and other methods so that you can make thoughtful improvements.

6. Click-through rate

Your ecommerce store’s click-through rate describes the number of visitors who responded to your marketing messages compared to how many people saw your online ads in total. A higher click-through rate indicates more successful, targeted marketing efforts. 

This is particularly true when a high click-through rate is combined with a high conversion rate. On the other hand, a lower click-through rate indicates the need to adjust marketing efforts to improve your online store’s landing pages.

7. Customer acquisition cost

How much money is your ecommerce store spending to acquire new customers? The simple answer to this is calculated by dividing your total marketing expenses by your total number of new customers for a specific period of time. 

The customer acquisition cost must be viewed in relation to the customer lifetime value and other metrics. This data will help you to fully understand if this cost is reasonable for your unique business.

8. Customer lifetime value

Through analysis of customer lifetime value metrics, you can determine how much money you reasonably should spend to acquire customers. After all, if the acquisition cost is higher than the lifetime value, your business will inevitably fail. 

Customer lifetime value is determined by subtracting your average acquisition cost per customer from the total average sales per customer.

If the lifetime value is negative or low, you must either find a way to reduce acquisition costs or to increase the lifetime value. This is essential for the sustainability of your ecommerce business.

9. Customer retention rate

Because the customer acquisition cost can be so substantial, retaining customers is essential. This is because it is often more cost effective to entice an established customer to make future purchases than to attract new people to your site. 

Your store’s customer retention rate can give you insight about how satisfied your customers are with your products as well as with the service they received. 

If your customer retention rate is low, consider running a survey to gain more insight about the experience that your ecommerce store provides.

10. Email subscription rate

Email marketing is a must-have item to include in your ecommerce marketing checklist. That being said, you’ll also want to keep an eye on how many of your website visitors are signing up to receive emails from you.

This is because you can reach your subscribers more frequently and affordably than you can reach potential customers who haven’t subscribed to your email messages. 

The email subscription rate is determined by dividing your website’s total number of subscribers by the total number of visitors. 

You can employ several strategies to help boost an email subscription rate. For instance, you can try adjusting your opt-in message or changing the timing of your popup message.

11. Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score indicates how likely your established customers are to recommend your store or products to someone within their network. This score is generally determined by asking customers to assign a numerical value to their likelihood on a 10-point scale through a post-purchase survey.

A higher Net Promoter Score indicates that customers love your brand and products and are passionate enough about their experiences to deliver rave reviews with others. A lower score indicates the need for improvement in one or more areas. 

By asking more questions via your post-purchase survey, you can gain detailed information to help guide your improvement efforts.

12. Program participation rate

While some of your loyal customers may send referrals your way on their own, incentivizing referrals with a special participation program can be effective. 

The program participation rate KPI shows you the percentage of established customers who have signed up for the program in relation to the number of customers who have been invited to participate. 

A low program participation rate may indicate dissatisfied customers or lackluster incentives.

13. Referral program share rate

The referral program share rate takes this a step further. How many of the customers who have signed up to participate in your referral program have actually made referrals? 

By tracking your online store’s program share rate, you can determine how valuable your program is to your loyal customers. The data provided by this KPI can also demonstrate how engaged those customers are with your brand.

14. Referral conversion rate

Referrals are an essential component to an effective ecommerce marketing campaign. However, simply generating referrals from established, satisfied customers is not enough. 

Your site’s referral conversion rate describes the percentage of referral leads that were converted into sales. To calculate the referral conversion rate, divide the total number of sales by the number of referred visitors. 

If your online store’s performance in this area is low, bolstering your referral and loyalty programs could be advantageous.

15. Return rate

Online shoppers often return products when they’re unhappy with the quality, features, or other aspects of the product. Some people will order several items at once with the intention of comparing them in person before deciding which product to keep. 

All stores will have at least a modest return rate. Nevertheless, if your data shows a high rate, this can indicate an issue with a product, product marketing, the condition of the goods after shipping, and more. 

A simple way to identify issues that require your attention is to ask that people provide a reason for the return as part of the return process.

16. Revenue according to traffic source

Which of your ecommerce store’s traffic sources are most profitable? When you track the revenue that’s generated from pay-per-click campaigns, social media marketing, and other sources, you can determine how to most efficiently manage your marketing campaigns. 

With this KPI, you can specifically gain insights as to which campaigns and marketing messages have been effective. This can help you to build on those efforts for improved results going forward.

17. Sales conversion rate

How’s your store’s performance regarding its effectiveness at converting traffic or leads into paid customers? This is measured via the sales conversion rate. 

The sales conversion rate may encompass all traffic sources. However, it can also be refined to analyze conversions related to a specific source to determine which methods are best at helping you get customers for your ecommerce business

Analysis could also be focused on specific marketing campaigns and individual products throughout their lifetime or over a predetermined time period.

18. Shopping cart abandonment rate

The typical ecommerce website suffers from a shopping cart abandonment rate of about 68%. Shopping cart abandonment involves customers who were interested enough in your products to place them in the shopping cart but never completed the purchase. 

This KPI is therefore a representation of lost sales. From a lack of payment options to high shipping costs or a blurry product photo, there are many reasons why customers walk away from full shopping carts. 

If you track your website’s abandonment rate and determine the reasons behind your store’s performance in this area, this can help reveal opportunities to reduce the percentage. By doing so, your conversion rate, profit margin, and other metrics will improve.

19. Social media engagement

Likes, shares, clicks, and comments are all forms of engagement with social media posts. Individual metrics can be analyzed for each type of engagement across all of the social media platforms on which you’re active. 

Social media engagement is a key way to measure passion for your brand, customer loyalty, and overall connectivity throughout a specific time period.

20. Time on site

You understandably need your customers to spend a reasonable amount of time shopping on your website. After all, a quick click away from a landing page generally leads to a poor conversion rate and lower sales numbers. 

On the other hand, if your customers spend a lot of time on your website without making a purchase, your layout could be poor. Other reasons why customers may not spend much time on your website may be high prices, unexpected expenses at the end of the transactions, or a time-consuming check-out process.

21. Unsubscribe rate

Your email subscribers are individuals who’ve been interested enough in your site initially to sign up for a newsletter and other promotional material. These customers may unsubscribe if they’re annoyed by frequent messages, no longer have a need for your products, and for a variety of other reasons. 

To determine why your ecommerce store’s unsubscribe rate may be high, include a short survey on the unsubscribe page.


If you’re not actively monitoring these critical KPIs, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to better understand your customers, the results of your marketing efforts, and customer satisfaction. 

These KPIs can take a significant amount of guesswork out of the equation so that you can make well-informed decisions and targeted actions. As you track these key indicators of your business’s performance, take the time to draw insights from broad and refined data points alike. 

Utilize them to measure the success of various campaigns and efforts so that you can determine what’s working well for your business. This can help you to see where you need to increase your efforts as well as where you might be able to cut costs.

By strategically using insights drawn from your chosen KPIs, you can consistently improve various aspects of your operations and enjoy advantages over the competition as a result.

Which metrics do you find to be the most helpful for your own business? Tell us all about them in the comments below!

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