12 May eCommerce Analytics: What Metrics to Measure and Why
To achieve results in any business, you need to be able to measure where you are currently, forecast the future, and make decisions using that information. This data needs to be based on valuable metrics, to ensure maximum success.
Ultimately, guessing your way through business growth is too risky. How can you know where you need to invest, and where you need to adapt in order to scale? Without data, you could be pouring money away.
Your eCommerce and marketing platforms offer valuable insights into your stores’ success, customer behavior, marketing strategy performance and more.
In eCommerce, you cannot monitor customer behavior physically. You cannot see what they’re interacting with, turning away from, or what’s impacting their decision to buy. eCommerce analytics and metrics help you to understand consumer behavior, and much more.
What are eCommerce Analytics?
eCommerce analytics involves gathering metrics to measure various elements of your online business. Data should be gathered from any area that impacts your store’s performance, and business growth.
This data is then used to understand how your business is working, and what you need to change or target for continued expansion. Your analytics could be used to understand customer behavior, monitor market trends, or forecast future sales.
Whatever you use analytics for, business decisions backed up by data are far more likely to succeed. Your analytics should help you to build a plan for the future.
For a full picture, your eCommerce analytics need to take into account metrics from across the customer journey. Your customers interact with your business from the discovery phase, through to the purchase, retention, and advocacy stages. You need to understand what works at each of these touchpoints with your business.
What Metrics are Important?
Metrics are important, but what metrics do you need to measure. Ideally, you need to keep track of as many metrics as possible. These all contribute to a full picture of your online business, and where you’re losing revenue. However, here are some of the most important metrics for understanding your business throughout the customer journey.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Your customer acquisition cost is exactly what it sounds like. CAC tells you how much you spend on acquiring each customer. This metric focuses mainly on the discovery and acquisition phases of the customer journey.
To grow your business, it’s important to invest in good ad and marketing campaigns. You need to put your store in front of your audience. However, ad campaigns can be costly, and lose money when not implemented effectively.
You need to know that acquiring customers is not costing more than you’re making from each customer. Needless to say, that would be unsustainable. You might want to contextualize your CAC by measuring your Average Order Value (AOV). If your CAC is above your AOV, something needs to change.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Your Customer Lifetime Value takes a look at your customer value, throughout their journey with your business. If you’re doing things right, your customers should be making more than one purchase with you.
It’s important to avoid viewing each customer’s value based on one purchase alone. For instance, you might spend £2k on a marketing campaign. If each customer makes one purchase, and you only reach two customers, this might seem like a wasted campaign. However, those two customers might return monthly to make another purchase, increasing the value of that one campaign.
Understanding your customer journey, on both a macro and micro level, is important for a full analysis of your success.
Customer Retention Rate (CRR)
For any business, it’s easier to retain existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. Despite this, so many eCommerce retailers focus on attracting new customers with their ad and marketing campaigns. They offer discounts for new customers, and overspend on top of funnel Facebook Ads.
If each customer drops away after one purchase, something is wrong. There could be a problem in your customer relationship, or your product. Your CRR helps you to identify that there is a problem worth fixing. To address your CRR you need to think about how you keep in touch with customers and build their relationship with your brand.
If you have a website and aren’t only selling on marketplaces, then website traffic is a valuable metric. Generally, you will connect your website to Google Analytics which will give you this information but some services like Wix will give you some information without connecting to google. However, you really need to connect to Google Analytics and ideally link that with your Google ads to give you the fullest picture here.
Identify the following metrics, and use them to adapt your website.
- Bounce Rate: How many visitors are logging on to your website and then leaving straight away?
- Dwell Time: How long are visitors staying on your web pages on average?
- Ad Campaign/Source: How did your visitors arrive at your website?
- Load Speed: How long are customers having to wait for your website to load?
These metrics help you to understand your customer’s experience with your website, and where there are problems.
For instance, if your bounce rate is high, you need to identify what is making them turn away. Your dwell time can tell you what pages are performing well, and which pages or items aren’t gathering interest.
Your campaign or source is important, as it helps you to understand which campaigns are performing, and which aren’t. If the majority of your users arrive from Facebook, you know it’s worth investing there.
Your load speed might help to explain dwindling visitor numbers. If your pages are taking a long time to load, your users are more likely to switch off. Each of these is worth investigating to understand how customers interact with your site.
While understanding the journey of successful purchases is important, you need to know what makes people abandon carts.
Research suggests that around 80% of eCommerce carts are abandoned in today’s online shopping landscape. Figures are high, and it can be challenging to know why.
A high abandonment rate would indicate a problem in the checkout process. For instance, your customers may be surprised by your shipping fees, shipping times, data security, or the length of the checkout process. Consider what might be losing sales in those last few touchpoints.
Conversions refer to any point in the customer journey where the customer takes the desired action. Conversion rates are important in marketing campaigns, ad campaigns, and overall as a customer makes a purchase.
Impressions and visitors are important. However, if you have a million visitors on your website, but none of them makes a purchase, what was the point? High conversion rates are a critical target for your eCommerce business.
Your conversion rates should be a key KPI (Key Performance Indicator), while also allowing you to monitor the performance of your ads, user experience, and marketing campaigns.
Without eCommerce analytics, online sellers would be operating their businesses in the dark. Conduct regular assessments of your critical metrics, and use them to generate a plan for the future. Achievable and clear goals are the driving force for growth.