Everyone knows that ecommerce KPIs are helpful, at least in theory. But if you don’t turn them into actionable insights, they’ll just end up sitting around collecting (metaphorical) dust.
The most important KPIs can show you where you’re performing well, as well as alert you when you’re starting to slide. By keeping these KPIs top of mind, you can make instant adjustments to tangibly improve your bottom line — all based on real insights, not instinct or intuition.
That’s why we’ve gathered the top 27 ecommerce KPIs to help deepen your understanding and provide you with the necessary ammunition to enhance the customer experience and increase sales.
What are KPIs for ecommerce?
Ecommerce KPIs are key performance indicators that show how well your online retail presence is performing against a predetermined set of goals and objectives.
Related: Customer Service KPIs and Metrics You Need to Measure
There are many different KPIs you could track. Choosing the right KPIs for your business requires having clarity on your business goals, your ideal customer profile or persona, and a good understanding of expectations within your industry.
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Why are ecommerce KPIs important?
Without ecommerce KPIs, it’s very difficult to accurately gauge how your performance changes over time. And that in turn means any business decisions you make will be based on guesswork rather than hard data — negatively impacting performance.
What’s more, KPIs provide a single roadmap and source of truth across the organization, acting as objective signposts of whether you’re moving the needle in the right direction. This is especially important for keeping things aligned as your ecommerce business scales.
List of 27 top ecommerce KPIs
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to examine ecommerce KPIs in the following three categories:
- Customer service/support KPIs. These KPIs look at factors affecting customer satisfaction, a sure sign of the long-term health of your ecommerce business.
- Sales ecommerce KPIs. These KPIs show you how well you attract and convert paying customers.
- Marketing ecommerce KPIs. These KPIs demonstrate how well you can build an online audience through digital marketing and drive high quality traffic to your site.
Customer service/support KPIs
1. Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score
The CSAT KPI is typically measured by customer responses to a single survey question: “How satisfied were you with your experience?” Usually, the only feedback you receive is a rating on a 5-star scale.
When deployed strategically, it provides a useful snapshot into how customers feel immediately after customer service interactions. That way, you understand where your processes need attention and improvement. It can also be used to look at overall satisfaction with you as a brand and so contribute towards understanding your customer experience.
A typical CSAT score in the retail sector is around 75.
CSAT score formula: (Total number of 4 and 5 responses ÷ Total number of responses) x 100 = CSAT
2. Net promoter score (NPS)
Just like CSAT, NPS is also based on a single, simple question: “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend/colleague?” Answers generally range from 1, ‘Very Unlikely’, to 10, ‘Very Likely’. It acts as a measure of long-term brand perception as well as a proxy of satisfaction and loyalty.
An NPS score above 20 is favorable, and above 50 is considered excellent. Higher scores are an indicator of potential future growth as they increase the likelihood of getting customer recommendations, a powerful form of marketing.
NPS formula: ([Number of promoters - Number of detractors] ÷ Number of respondents) x 100 = NPS
3. Average first response time
Customers generally have a more positive view of brands who respond in a timely fashion. So, a KPI that shows how much time elapses between a customer lodging a query and receiving an initial response provides valuable insight. Of course, you’ll want to aim for the lowest response times possible.
Good first response times include less than 24 hours for tickets, 1.5 minutes for live chat, and 3 minutes for phone. Long response times may indicate a problem with staffing levels or reveal opportunities to employ customer service tools such as live chat to improve the triaging process.
Average first response time formula: Sum of all first response times ÷ Total number of responses) = Average first response time
4. Average resolution time
Responding quickly to an inquiry is all well and good, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the issue itself is being cleared up. If shoppers' problems are taking an age to get resolved, then the image of your brand suffers. And that means they are unlikely to want to stick around and buy from you again.
Slow resolution times may indicate a need to improve your customer service workflows or bolster agent knowledge. For context, the average ticket resolution time sits at around 82 hours.
Average resolution time formula: Sum of all resolution times ÷ Total number of resolutions = Average resolution time
5. First contact resolution rate
If there’s one thing the modern consumer values, it’s convenience. So, when customers have to keep getting back in touch trying to make sure an issue is solved, it’s a recipe for frustration. That’s why first contact resolution is such a valuable ecommerce KPI. It shows how efficient your team is at closing tickets the first time around and keeping customers satisfied.
First contact resolution rate formula: (Sum of all inquiries solved first time round ÷ Total number of inquiries) x 100 = First contact resolution rate
6. Average service escalation rate
The service escalation rate KPI tells you how many times a customer has asked a customer service representative to redirect them to a supervisor or other senior employee. It helps put some meat on the bones of the other resolution KPIs to better understand the nuances involved. Too many escalations can indicate a problem with how you are dealing with responses on the front line, so keep an eye on this stat.
Average service escalation rate formula: (Sum of all escalations ÷ Total number of inquiries) x 100 = Average service escalation rate
7. Customer Effort Score
Good customer service depends on making your customers’ lives as easy as possible. So, if dealing with your brand is a hassle, then that massively decreases the chances they’ll want to stick around.
A simple question of “How was your experience?” with responses ranging from ‘Very Easy’ to ‘Very Difficult’ is all that’s needed to track this ecommerce KPI. Where you notice the required effort is high, that’s a sure sign you need to take action to smoothen the process and remove roadblocks.
Customer effort score formula: (Sum of all customer effort scores ÷ Total number of responses) = CES score
Sales ecommerce KPIs
8. Conversion rate
Conversion rate is one of the most important ecommerce KPIs. And with good reason. “It’s important to know if your strategies are working to push users to buy your product,” says Andrew Ruditser of Maxburst.
How efficiently you turn visitors into purchasers helps reveal the appeal of your products, the quality of your site traffic, how easy your site is to navigate, whether your marketing is reaching the right people, and much more besides.
The global average conversion is between 1 and 4 percent, although this will vary by channel, industry, and audience demographics. Even relatively small improvements in your conversion rate lead to big rewards down the road in terms of increased sales and revenue.
Conversion rate formula: (Total number of conversions ÷ Total number of visitors) x 100 = Conversion rate
9. Net sales revenue
The bottom line is always crucial. So, it’s a good idea to look at net sales rather than gross so you can factor in all the other costs, such as returns, that may otherwise paint a falsely inflated image of performance. “If you’re turning a profit…it gives you breathing room and allows you to invest in sustainable growth,” says Dennis Moons of Store Growers.
Gross sales formula: Gross Sales Revenue – Returns – Allowances – Discounts = Net Sales Revenue
10. Average order value
Each purchase has a built-in acquisition cost; average order value improves your return on that investment. As Jordan Gal of CartHook says, “The higher your [average order size], the more you can spend to acquire a new customer.”
This ecommerce KPI offers insight into whether you need to review your pricing strategy as well as implement measures to up-sell and cross-sell during the browsing and purchasing process.
Average order value formula: Total revenue ÷ Total number of orders = Average order value
11. Shopping cart abandonment rate
High shopping cart abandonment rates means that you have too much friction in the checkout process, negatively impacting your sales numbers. A highly optimized checkout process will usually have an abandonment rate of 20 percent or less. By breaking down your abandonment rate across the various stages of your shopping cart process, you’ll be able to see exactly where it is that your customers are dropping off and work at fixing it.
Shopping cart abandonment rate formula: ([1 - Sum total transactions completed] ÷ Sum total shopping carts initiated) x 100 = Shopping cart abandonment rate
12. Cost of goods sold (COGS)
COGS tells the whole story about what it costs to produce your goods: manufacturing, employee wages, overhead costs, etc. If this is higher than your average order size, it means you won’t see any net profits — you either need to reduce COGS by improving efficiency or increase your sale price.
COGS formula: (Beginning Inventory Value + Cost of Goods) - Ending Inventory = Cost of Goods Sold
13. Customer lifetime value (CLV)
The CLV is a great indicator of brand loyalty and the return on investment you get on your acquisitions. As such, it acts as a barometer of the long term financial viability of the business as a whole.
“Successful ecommerce businesses are all about building a brand connection with a customer and then becoming a go-to hub for that customer for years to come,” says Casey Hill of Bonjoro.
Although there is a lot of variation across different categories, the average CLV for ecommerce brands is around $168.
CLV formula: (Average purchase value x Average number of purchases) x Average Customer Lifespan = CLV
14. Retention and churn rates
These are two sides of the same coin, telling you how many of your customers you keep or lose over the course of a particular time frame. According to research published by Harvard Business School, just a 5 percent increase in retention can increase profits anywhere from 25 to 95 percent. Problems with retention
Because of the highly competitive nature of retail, the average retention rate for retail businesses is lower than many other industries at 63 percent.
Retention rate formula: (Remaining customers ÷ Total customers at the start of time period) x 100 = Retention rate
Churn rate formula: (Lost customers ÷ Total customers at the start of time period) x 100 = Churn rate
Marketing ecommerce KPIs
15. Return on investment (ROI)
“If I had to choose one KPI to focus on for ecommerce websites, it would be ROI,” says Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers. “If you’re able to get a positive ROI with your product, you can reinvest your profits into growth, traffic, ads, and conversion rate optimization so you can scale.”
It’s your ROI figures that will show you which marketing channels are most profitable and determine where you can spend money most effectively in future.
ROI formula: ([Net profit - Total cost] ÷ Total cost) x 100 = ROI
16. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
CAC tells you how much you spend to acquire each new customer, and can help build a picture of which marketing channels and tactics are the most cost-effective for bringing in business.
According to Djordje Milicevic of StableWP, “Knowing and understanding CAC is critical. An ecommerce business selling high-ticket items for $1,000+ is okay paying $100 to buy a customer, but if you’re selling items with a $50 price tag, you can’t afford that cost.”
Ideally, your customer lifetime value (CLV) to CAC ratio should be 3:1 — you should get back $3 for every $1 you spend on marketing.
CAC formula: Total marketing spend ÷ Number of customers acquired = CAC
17. Bounce rate
Bounce rate shines a light into the quality of your site traffic by showing what proportion of visitors leave your site without ever clicking to navigate onto another page.
“An important ecommerce KPI I track is bounce rate,” says Louis Watton of Shiply. “If lots of users are bouncing off of a page quickly, then you need to assess why that is. Are they not seeing the price they want? Not enough product images? No reviews or reasons to trust the site?”
The average bounce rate across ecommerce is 47 percent. As a general rule, it’s good to aim to keep your bounce rate below 40 percent.
Bounce rate formula: (Total number of single-page exits ÷ Total traffic) x 100 = Bounce rate
18. Organic search rankings
Ranking on the top page of Google and other search engines shows that these algorithms consider your brand and website content to be an authority on the products and content topics you promote. According to Syed Ali Hasan of Film Jackets, “Search rankings are important for measuring the growth performance of an ecommerce store.” The higher you rank, the greater chance you have of bringing in new traffic.
19. Traffic source
Understanding where your traffic (and thus, sales) are coming from can help to identify your top marketing channels and tactics: organic search, paid ads, email marketing, social media, etc.
There isn’t a standard benchmark for a healthy breakdown of traffic sources, but try to spread your traffic across multiple sources. After all, if you rely only on social media for traffic and your account gets locked, then you want to make sure you’re generating traffic and revenue from other places.
20. Mobile site traffic
In 2021, mobile share of online ecommerce sales grew to 72.9 percent of total market share. Knowing how much traffic comes from mobile devices and how those users behave once they reach your site are important aspects of understanding how well you are serving this market. No matter how much mobile traffic you have though, it’s not going to do you much good unless your website is optimized for mobile.
21. Subscriber growth rate
For both email and SMS, it’s important to track your subscriber growth over time to ensure that your other marketing efforts are generating a dedicated base of followers. Most email databases decay at around 22.5 percent year over year, so you’re going to want your growth to outpace that figure.
Subscriber growth rate formula: ([Total number of subscribers in Period A - Total number of subscribers in Period B] ÷ Subscriber list size) x 100 = Subscriber growth rate
22. Email open rate
Email subscribers do you little good if no one reads your emails, and no one reads an email without opening them. If this number is low, you should consider testing subject lines or scrubbing your list of inactive, unengaged subscribers. In ecommerce, this number hovers around 15 percent, so anything above 20 percent will put you at a significant advantage.
Email open rate formula: (Number of email opens ÷ Number of email sends) x 100 = Open rate
23. Email click-through rate (CTR)
If you have a low CTR, it means that your email message isn’t compelling enough to drive the visitors to your website. That could indicate that you haven’t segmented your audience properly, or that the content itself needs some rethinking. A 2 to 5 percent click rate is a sign of a healthy and engaged email list.
CTR formula: (Number of email clicks ÷ Number of email opens) x 100 = CTR
24. Unsubscribe rate
Unsubscribes in and of themselves aren’t necessarily a bad thing: it simply means that people who aren’t a good fit for you are going their own way. However, if you see a sudden spike in unsubscribes, it’s good to look at your email activity to see if you sent a particularly irrelevant and unwelcome email, or perhaps are emailing your list too frequently. Make sure that this number stays below 0.5 percent.
Unsubscribe rate formula: (Number of email unsubscribes ÷ Number of email sends) x 100 = Unsubscribe rate
25. Social media engagement rate
Having followers is important, but even more important is whether those followers are actively engaging with your content. And that’s because engagement proves your followers are getting value from your posts. How they interact with your various posts also helps formulate your future approach to maximize effectiveness.
Engagement rate formula: ([Total likes + Total shares/retweets + Total comments + Total clicks] ÷ Total impressions) x 100 = Engagement rate
26. Social media post click rate
Knowing how many clicks a particular link gets demonstrates whether your social media will drive traffic and business down the line. This is particularly relevant when it comes to measuring engagement around product-related or promotional posts. (Keep in mind that as social media platforms allow native shopping experiences, this KPI will become less relevant over time.)
Social click rate formula: (Total clicks ÷ Total impressions) x 100 = Click rate
27. Number and quality of product reviews
High quality product reviews are a good sign that you have an engaged audience, and act as an excellent social proofing tool. It goes without saying that you want significantly more four- and five-star reviews compared to one-stars. Getting there means actively encouraging your customers to leave reviews and making it as easy as possible for them to do so, by providing links in emails, for example.
Keep ecommerce KPIs front of mind
Having KPis in place is great. But to really get the most out of them, their use needs to be woven into the fabric of your business. Creating a culture where checking in with them becomes part of the everyday routine is the best way to ensure they’ll drive meaningful actions that improve your business in the long run.