Evaluating the performance of your website is crucial for the ever increasing competition for top ranking in the search engines following the growing number of ecommerce websites on the web today. In this post, we discuss the Key Performance Indicators required to evaluate and measure the success of your e-commerce store.
Table of contents:
- What are KPIs
- Why you need to track e-commerce performance
- Understanding Ecommerce Performance Indicators
- Tools for measuring performance of ecommerce stores.
What are KPIs
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable values for assessing how well a set of objectives are being achieved. These assessments are conducted in relation to set objectives. To measure the performance of a business online, the performance metrics have to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, controllable and time-bound. These are the characteristics that should define the establishment of the performance objectives to help evaluation and measurement. We shall discuss these in greater detail.
Qualities of Good KPIs
Good KPIs must have these qualities if they are to be effectively measured against certain expectations:
- Specific – Performance indicators should be set in clear unambiguous terms. Targets and achievement benchmarks should be clearly stated. For example, if a website targets a top position in the search engines, it should clearly state that it targets the number one position and not just to say it targets a top position.
- Measurable – A performance indicator should be measurable. For example, following our earlier example, we should be able to measure the progress made towards the achievement of the targets. It should be possible to determine how much progress is being made daily, weekly or monthly in advancing towards the top position in the search engines, what variations and possibly determine why the variations occurred.
- Attainable – Performance targets should be attainable and realistic. If you rank in position 34, it is not realistic and attainable to set a target to hit top ten in 4 weeks. This is not to say it is not attainable to hit that target. It is however not realistic and does not follow the norm that such a feat can be attained within such a short period.
- Realistic – Closely tied to being attainable, performance measures should be realistic. Setting high performance targets is a good idea but they also have to be realistic within the given environment. It is not a good idea to expect a website that moves by 1 point in two days to move twenty positions 30days. That is not realistic. So KPIs should be realistic.
- Controllable – It should be possible to determine how the performance metrics are performing and to insert controls if there are deviations in expected outcome.
- Time-Bound – Measuring performance should be for a defined period. If you target 20 percent conversions, you can target that outcome for a period of one year. That should be clearly stated to measure how well the online store has performed.
Why you need to track e-commerce performance
With more than 112 billion euros generated from ecommerce in 2020 from Europe alone, ecommerce is experiencing record growth and obviously a very serious business. Ecommerce now represents 13.4% of European retail sales (vs. 9.8% in 2019). More than encouraging indicators that demonstrate the dynamism of online commerce, but also a very competitive market. This is why you need to analyze the data of your ecommerce site to remain competitive.
COVID-19 has further increased ecommerce popularity and sales with more businesses going online and seeking to win market share. Just being online in the highly competitive market no longer guarantees success. You need to monitor performance and make necessary adjustments to support desired growth. KPIs are the basic metrics to guide your performance measures and give you a clear idea on how much progress you have made, where you need to make adjustments and what is not being properly done.
Moreover, as an ecommerce site generates a lot of data, but not all of it is essential to the success of your store. It all depends on your market, your chosen segment, your location, the size of your company and your objectives. However, some indicators remain essential and allow you to measure the attractiveness of your site and the commercial offer, the relevance and viability of your business model and finally to follow your progress.
There are two main types of indicators: marketing performance indicators and sales performance indicators.
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Understanding Ecommerce Performance Indicators
Key performance indicators related to marketing
The first performance indicators involve the operation of your store and its visibility. If you want people to buy from your site, they need to be able to find it! You can use specific measurement tools such as Google Analytics to access this data.
- Traffic and, in particular, the number of unique visitors. This data allows you to identify the number of potential customers and to have an overview of the customer journey by analyzing the traffic on your strategic pages.
- How long visitors stay on your site. This indicator is important to measure the time your customers spend on a given page. To improve this indicator, you can offer your customers buying guides or tips adapted to your catalog.
- The number of page views and the bounce rate are two criteria that enable you to assess the performance of your site’s design. If your customer has to click too many times to find a product, the risk of them leaving your site before purchasing is much higher. You should also keep an eye on the bounce rate. If it happens before a conversion (purchase, registration, download…), perhaps your page is not clear enough.
- Your customer/prospect file. Unless your offer is unique with a very low renewal rate, building a customer file is a strategic necessity. It is important to keep track of the number of visitors who register on your site.
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Key performance indicators related to sales
In addition to sales, some KPIs are essential to measure the performance of your business model, namely:
- The conversion rate = number of actions / number of visitors to your site x 100. This indicator measures the efficiency of your site, i.e. the number of actions (depending on your offer: sales, registrations, requests for quotes, account creations, etc.) compared to the number of visitors over a given period. This rate can be very different from one sector to another, or even from one segment to another. According to a Databox study, half of the surveyed merchants estimate this to be between 1 and 4% and the other half between 26 and 50%… The important thing is to compare your own rate, from one period to another, from one campaign to another, and to draw useful lessons for your progress.
- The average shopping cart (or AOV – Average Order Value) = total turnover/number of sales (or orders). This indicator, which indicates the average amount of a purchase on your site, allows you to analyze the performance of cross-selling and up-selling. To ensure a high average shopping basket, you need to focus on the user journey and push attractive offers.
- The Dropout rate: 60% of shopping carts are abandoned because of hidden delivery costs that are ultimately deemed too high. To avoid this, it is important to inform customers about the delivery conditions (time and costs), the return and refund modalities very early on in the purchasing process. Shoppers may also be discouraged if their preferred payment method is not available. If your rate is too high, consider testing your site, make sure there are no technical problems… especially on mobile devices.
- The lifetime value of a client (or LTV – Lifetime Value) = Average order value x Number of sales x Average relationship duration
This indicator allows you to estimate the revenue that a customer can generate and therefore calculate the most relevant acquisition cost, or even decide between attracting and retaining customers. The lifetime value of a customer also allows you to develop your business. How much will a single customer spend at your business over the lifetime of their account? Do people tend to come back and buy from you more than once? Are you doing a good job of upselling your current customers? Your LTV must exceed your CAC for your company to be operating profitably.
- The Customer retention rate = End customers – New customers / Initial customers x 100
Loyalty is important not only in terms of sales (repeat business), but also because loyal customers take an active interest in your company and are more likely to recommend it. It is important to analyze the activation levers of acquired customers, but also what pushes them to leave in order to implement corrective actions.
- The ROI – Return on investment = (gain or loss of investment – cost of investment) / cost of investment. This indicator allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of an investment. It is a major criterion that allows you to measure the effectiveness of a campaign, but also the economic relevance of your online store.
- Customer Acquisition Cost = How much does it cost you to acquire a new customer through your marketing efforts? This indicator tells you how effective your marketing and sales processes are and is the key to understanding the ROI you get from each customer acquisition channel your business uses.
- Revenue Growth Rate = How fast is your business growing? Your revenue growth rate measures how quickly (or slowly) your revenue is increasing. This metric is important for projecting future growth and spending and helping business owners to make informed decisions.
KPI Tracking Tools
While some of the KPIs like Return on Investment (ROI) are mathematically determined, many can be tracked with online tools. KPI tools are business reporting solutions used to track, monitor, and generate actionable insights from key performance indicators. We will take a look at some of the free KPI tracking tools and how they can help you judge the performance of your ecommerce store.
Google Analytics (GA)
GA basically measures marketing indicators. This will include the amount of traffic, how much time is spent by customers, number of new visitors compared to return visitors, number of pages visited, the speed of your website and the exit rates. These indicators will be more relevant for you to assess user experience and the potential for higher ranking on the Google search engines.
Google Search Console (GSC)
Google search console is very useful in measuring click through rates, the average position of your website on the search engines relative to different search terms and keywords, the amount of impressions, the errors on your site. These also are useful in measuring user experience and more relevant in predicting the ranking of your website in the search engine result pages.
Search engine rankings are generally important because they significantly determine the amount of organic traffic that comes to a website and invariably will affect visits and conversion. Normally, the higher the amount of relevant organic traffic, the more likely your sales conversion will increase. So ranking high in the relevant markets is very crucial for visitor traffic and conversion.
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Geckoboard provides a snazzy live KPI tracking dashboard for businesses. It features a drag-and-drop interface, allowing users to design their own visual dashboards across a range of metrics.
Geckoboard allows you to display full-screen dashboards on a TV screen, and is an excellent choice for companies that want to keep their teams laser-focused on results.
Designed for fast-moving teams that struggle to focus on the most important parts of their business, Geckoboard integrates with all of the most popular business software including Google Analytics, Salesforce, and Shopify.
The software pulls data directly from those programs (or Excel spreadsheets) to create beautiful visualizations of your most important metrics. While it isn’t as deep as other solutions on this list, it is perhaps the most simple to set up and use.
Salesforce is one of the most popular solutions for KPI tracking. While there is a bit of a learning curve, Salesforce allows you to build personal dashboards for your business as a whole or every single employee in your business.
If you want to make sure that each of your teams stays focused on the most important business metrics, there is no better solution than Salesforce.
Their website can look a bit intimidating, as they have products for every facet of a business including marketing, sales, community, services, project planning, and commerce.
You’ll have to take some time to sift through the different options that they offer and find the perfect mix of software packages for your company, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a solution that is more powerful for any business, big or small.
Tableau is an excellent analytics and KPI tracking tool with a range of excellent pre-built KPI templates that you can use to track your own business.
Tableau is built specifically with retail and eCommerce operations in mind but does offer a wide range of features that any business would find useful.
There is one feature that really sets Tableau apart from the competition — real-time data blending.
Tableau connects directly to your business databases, then develops insights in real-time. It can also blend data from a range of different sources, pulling from Salesforce, Analytics, or even Excel. Then, the system combines data to create informative and actionable insights into your company’s health.
SimpleKPI is a great starting point for businesses that want to start tracking vital metrics with KPI tools. As the name would suggest, the software is designed to be incredibly simple and easy to use.
Don’t mistake that simplicity for lack of power, though. SimpleKPI is capable of tracking a wide range of metrics including financial metrics, marketing metrics, operational metrics, and service metrics.
It is a complete package, and suitable for businesses in almost any industry.
SimpleKPI integrates with a number of popular software packages and offers 24/7 support to their customers. Like Geckoboard, SimpleKPI also features a full-screen option for you to display KPIs to your teams in real-time.
Asana is an excellent tool for simple, project-based KPI tools. As a complete project management system, Asana allows you to track tasks, projects, conversations, and dashboards.
The different projects in Asana are tracked within their “card” system. Within each card, you can create mission objectives, due dates, and add team members who are responsible for completing the tasks.
In Asana, they refer to their KPI tracking system as “OKR,” which stands for Objectives and Key Results. In the OKR system, administrators can create different tasks with objectives attached to them.
Their dashboard provides you with a range of tactical overviews that you can use to track your progress across each of your individual projects.
Understanding KPIs and how to measure them is crucial in assessing your website performance.. Whether you are dealing with marketing related metrics or profitability metrics, clues from performance indicators can help you make informed decisions to boost your online performance. Have any performance metrics you want to share with us or some comments, let’s have them in the comments