KPI (Key Performance Indicators) can be defined as a quantifiable measurement that is in place to measure the performance of any business activity. Monitoring them will help E-commerce websites identify the progress towards sales, marketing, and customer service goals. Then what KPIs should an E-commerce website focus on?
To answer the question, the goal being measured should be initially set since KPIs differ based on it. When setting a goal, SMART strategy should be always kept in mind.
S stands for specific meaning the goal should be really in details instead of being general like increasing brand awareness;
M stands for measurable. The goal should be able to be measured numerically;
A stands for attainable. E-commerce websites should adhere to realities. They can not set a goal to earn 10 billion if they are just start-ups;
R stands for relevant. The goal should be tightly related to their business as well as current business and marketing progress;
T stands for time-based. They should set a schedule for the measurement.
Once the goal is set, E-commerce websites can then choose KPIs accordingly. For example, it may be a goal to increase conversion rate 2% in the next year. Relative to the goal, KPIs include conversion rate, shopping cart abandonment rate, associated shipping rate trends and competitive price trends.
Here are some common KPIs that E-commerce websites can consider according to their goals.
- Hourly/ daily/ weekly/ monthly/ quarterly/ annual sales
- Average order value (total sales/ # of orders)
- Products per order (# of products per order)
- Average margin
- Conversion rate
- Shopping cart abandonment rate
An E-commerce website that is really generating sales will often benefit from measuring and improving the cart abandonment rate. Utilizing Google Analytics (goals tutorial) to set up a goal funnel, the website can measure not only how many but also at what point buyers leave the check-out process including add to cart, billing page, payment page, review order page, sales confirmation. Once identifying the step at which lots of buyers are lost, the website should optimize the step accordingly as soon as possible.
- New customer orders versus returning customer sales
- Cost of goods sold
- Total available market relative to a retailer’s share of market
- Product affinity (which products are purchased together)
- Product relationship (which products are viewed consecutively)
- Inventory levels
- Competitive pricing
Marketing Key Performance Indicators:
- Site traffic
- Unique visitors versus returning visitors (different from visits; a unique visitor may have more than one visit)
- Time on site
- Page views per visit
- Traffic source (like pay-per-click advertising, SEO, SEM, brand or display advertising, a YouTube video and so on)
- Day part monitoring (when site visitors come)
- Newsletter subscribers
- Texting subscribers
- Chat sessions initiated
- Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and so on) followers or fans
- Pay-per-click traffic volume
- Blog traffic
- Number and quality of product reviews
- Brand or display advertising click-through rates
- Affiliate performance rates
Customer Service Key Performance Indicators:
- Customer service email count
- Customer service phone call count
- Customer service chat count
- Average resolution time
- Concern classification
Once goals and selected KPIs are set, monitoring those indicators should become an everyday exercise. And most importantly: Performance should inform business decisions, and KPIs should be used to drive actions.