Today’s article on The 5 Most Important eCommerce Metrics You Need to Focus on First is brought to you by Gonzalo Gil – Founder and CEO at 3dcart.
Let’s welcome Gonzalo in our blog, and learn from her/his invaluable experience!
There’s a lot to keep track of when running a business, and eCommerce is no different. In fact, eCommerce is more complex in several ways than traditional retail. Not only do you have to keep an eye on sales, budgeting, marketing, and other usual statistics, you also have to deal with all the intricacies of running a commercial website.
Management of an eCommerce website isn’t always straightforward. You need a sound method of judging the effectiveness of your website so you can make improvements. You also need to understand where your visitors are coming from, how long they stay on your website, and how much effort it takes them to find the information or products they’re looking for. If you don’t have this information, you’re at a disadvantage.
Likewise, when you make improvements to your website, you need a means of comparing your visitors’ behavior before and after the change. This is the only way you’ll be able to judge whether your improvements are working as they should.
Fortunately, numerous online tools exist to break this information down into numbers: eCommerce metrics. Many eCommerce platforms have built-in tools for gathering and interpreting these numbers, and you can also use integrations to connect your website to other services. Since there are so many numbers that come into play, it’s helpful to know what’s most important so you can prioritize. Here are the five most important eCommerce metrics, and why they matter.
No. 1: Conversion Rate
Your conversion rate describes the percentage of visitors to your website who become buyers. An industry standard conversion rate is about 2%, which might seem low until you realize the sheer amount of browsing people do on the internet every day. If your online store is making 1 sale for every 50 visitors, your conversion rate is okay.
However, some online stores will have a much lower conversion rate, and others have raised theirs above 2% due to the effectiveness of their eCommerce website. No matter which situation applies, you need to calculate your conversion rate in order to make meaningful improvements that could lead to increasing it. A higher conversion rate translates to more sales, which is every retailer’s goal.
Conversion rate is the most important metric in eCommerce, with no exceptions. It defines how successful your online store is at selling your products. It’s vital that you track it so you can identify areas for improvement. One of the best ways to do so is by using Google Analytics, which also provides important data on where your traffic is coming from. You can use this knowledge to improve your website as well as your marketing.
There are two main causes of a low conversion rate: a problem with your website, or a problem with your advertising. Website issues often lead to customers leaving without making a purchase, causing your conversion rate to drop. Marketing errors result in visitors coming to your website when they aren’t actually interested in what you offer. This is a frequent issue with wide, untargeted marketing campaigns — you’re simply attracting too many visitors that aren’t interested in becoming customers. Improving your ad targeting can lead to significant improvements, and a higher return on investment for your marketing as well.
No. 2: Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who leave without visiting a second page. Basically, this is traffic comprising people who spend a few moments on your storefront and hit the back button without interacting. A normal bounce rate is 36%, or 36 out of every 100 visitors.
You need to understand the bounce rate because it offers important insight into your marketing. If your bounce rate is too high, you’re attracting the wrong type of visitors. This indicates that you need to improve your targeting, so your marketing budget isn’t being spent on viewers who may be interested enough to click, but not interested enough to stick around and shop once they arrive at your website.
If you’re using broad, untargeted advertising, a high bounce rate is normal. You should still make efforts to tighten your scope and target your intended audience more effectively, because you’ll get more out of each advertising dollar you spend. If you’re seeing a high bounce rate and your marketing is already highly targeted, it’s likely that the problem lies in your landing pages. Make sure they’re truly representative of what you’re offering to your potential customers and show your products in their best light.
No. 3: Average Order Value
Average order value is just what it sounds like: the average monetary value of customer orders in your online store. You can determine this in the dashboard of your online store’s eCommerce platform.
This is an important metric because it helps you understand how much you’re earning per customer. There’s no “standard” average order value to compare with yours because it depends on what you’re selling. Instead, compare your average order value with the cost of acquiring new customers. This will help you determine how much you can spend on customer acquisition.
If your average order value is high, you can consider your marketing budget well-spent. But if too high a proportion of your revenue is being spent to gain new customers, you aren’t operating efficiently. If your average order value is too low to justify your customer acquisition costs, you need to evaluate changes you could make — both to your customer recruitment budget and to your online store itself. You can either spend less money on your marketing or work to increase average order value through upselling, cross-selling, or other proven methods.
No. 4: Shopping Cart Abandonment
When a customer puts items in their shopping cart and then leaves your store without completing the purchase, this is called cart abandonment. This happens more often than you might think — after all, if the customer was interested enough to fill their cart, why would they leave? It turns out there’s a whole host of reasons for cart abandonment and an average of 75% of all online shopping carts are abandoned.
Even if your shopping cart abandonment rate is average, you can still make some improvements to help reduce it. Surprise costs at checkout are the number one reason customers abandon carts, and these usually come from shipping and handling charges that were not disclosed until near the end of the transaction. You can mitigate this by displaying real-time shipping calculations in the customer’s cart.
Other cart abandonment causes include confusing or tedious checkout procedures, restricted payment options, and poor site performance. You can reduce these issues by implementing a simplified or single-page checkout, ensuring you accept all the most in-demand payment methods, and running your store on an eCommerce platform that’s optimized for speed.
No. 5: Visitor Navigation Behavior
When an eCommerce business owner is thinking about metrics like cart abandonment and bounce and conversion rates, they often wish for more insight directly into their visitors’ reasons for leaving without buying. The good news is that you can get these insights through tools that show you your visitors’ actions through heatmaps and recordings of mouse movement. This is priceless data.
Apps like Lucky Orange Chat and Mouseflow track your visitors’ clicks, mouse movements, and scroll behavior, and provide heatmaps that show where visitors spend the most time. With this information, you can see how quickly visitors can navigate to whatever they’re looking for. You can determine where they click, which content they read, and how much they need to scroll before they find what they’re after.
With this information, you can discover if any parts of your website are confusing or inconvenient for your customers. This makes it much easier to improve your online store’s layout and purchase path to make it easier for customers to navigate to the pages and products they want. It’s not quite like reading their minds, but it’s as close as you can get.
Improving Your Metrics
Now that you know the five most important eCommerce metrics to focus on, you can get to work improving your numbers and pulling in more revenue. To best understand what raises your metrics and what harms them, you need to A/B test: release multiple versions of the same pages and compare their performance.
You’ll also have to track across devices — mobile versus desktop. The difference in how mobile devices are used means website usage also varies across devices, even when the site is mobile-friendly. Fortunately, you should be able to see both sets of metrics separately so you can make informed changes. For example, if your cart abandonment rate is fine on desktop but very high on mobile, it’s clear the problem lies in your mobile checkout experience.
Overall, the most important tip regarding your improvements is that you should never stop testing. When you’ve identified a clear winner from your A/B tests, test the winner against yet another approach. This way you’ll always continue to learn, and your marketing, landing pages, and other parts of your online store will become more effective.
If you pay close attention to your data and constantly work to improve, you’re doing what it takes to succeed in eCommerce.
We feel honoured to have Gonzalo’s insights featured in our blog, and we are incredibly thankful for the knowledge he/ she has shared with us.
Author bio here
Founder and CEO of 3dcart, a leading online store builder ranked as the best eCommerce software for SEO. As an eCommerce expert, Gonzalo works with businesses of all sizes to help them build their online presence and succeed in selling online.