What do the most successful ecommerce businesses all have in common?
The answer is they make decisions based on facts and data, not assumptions and guesswork. These top-tier businesses – the ones you eye longingly every day – are aware of how their store is performing at all times and they know exactly what they need to do to grow.
But data is a funny beast. It’s messy and unwieldy; complex and overwhelming. Every minute, millions of bits of information are created and stored – so how do you know what’s important?
It seems like we’re constantly pummelled with a ream of metrics we “need to track”: sales revenue, traffic, unique views, gross margin, cost of acquisition, customer retention, churn rate, lead generation, the list goes on… and on.
You’ve got a business to run.
You don’t have time to check in with this catalog of metrics regularly, let alone extract their meanings to create new strategies. Luckily, only a few metrics directly represent the state of your store and actively relate to sales, revenue, and profit.
If you’re specifically looking to boost sales (and, let’s face it, why wouldn’t you be?), these are the metrics you need to keep an eye on.
Sales conversions is arguably the most important metric you need to track. It basically tells you how many people that visit your store actually make a purchase.
According to Marketing Sherpa, a fair conversion rate for ecommerce stores is between one and five percent. While this might seem pretty low, having it as a benchmark to work from can be helpful when building out your sales strategies later down the line.
For Amazon sellers, the conversion rate is slightly higher at 10-15%.
How to Work Out Your Sales Conversions
Most analytics tools share this as one of their top metrics, but if you’re working it out manually it’s simply a case of dividing the number of visitors you’ve had to your store by the number of sales you’ve made and times it by 100.
For example, if you’ve made 200 sales this month and have had 5,000 visitors to your store, the sum would be 200 / 5,000 x 100. This gives you a sales conversion rate of 4%.
For Amazon sellers, there’s a very simple way to track sales conversions:
- Go to Reports and select Business Reports
- Check the sales and traffic
- Look for the row named Order Item Session Percentage – this is your conversion rate
- If you want to determine the sales conversion rate of individual products, you can look at “by ASIN” Reports
How to Leverage Results to Get More Sales
Identify Micro-Conversions vs Macro-Conversions
Not every conversion has to be the big sale.
In fact, there are plenty of other smaller actions your buyers will take before they make it to the checkout stage. At each of these moments, customers will make key decisions – these are called micro-conversions.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, “micro-conversions help you measure the impact of incremental user-experience improvements. Often, the effect of individual small changes cannot be detected at the macro-conversion level.”
If you can identify where customers are making the most important micro-conversions (like using the search filter, subscribing to your email list, or looking at a specific product), you can optimize them to help make the journey to the final sale (a.k.a. the macro-conversion) slicker.
For example, if you can see that lots of visitors look at a certain product page but they don’t progress from there, it’s safe to assume that there is a blockage on that page. Maybe you’re not supplying enough information, maybe the images don’t do it justice, or maybe the “add to cart” button isn’t prominent enough.
Past Buyers Are Your Bread and Butter
You probably already know that the customers you already have are worth more than new customers. Acquiring new customers can cost up to five times more than retaining an existing customer, while increasing customer retention by as little as 5% can skyrocket your profits.
So, to leverage your sales conversions to generate more sales, it’s a case of slickening up the funnel by identifying micro-conversions and key sticking points and focusing your efforts on retaining past buyers.
Employ the Help of Keywords
For Amazon sellers, one of the easiest ways to improve sales conversions is by performing keyword research. Getting your products to rank for related search terms or keywords on the Amazon SERPs helps increase visibility, traffic, and overall sales.
Customer Acquisition Cost
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) refers to the amount of money it costs to gain a new customer. The average CAC varies depending on the industry you’re in; the travel industry sees the lowest CAC, while tech tends to see the highest.
How to Work Out Your Customer Acquisition Cost
To work out your CAC, divide the number of customers you have by the total amount you’ve spent on marketing and sales. This will include money spent on campaigns, paid advertising, content, tools, and anything else that has fueled your marketing.
For example, if you’ve spent $15,000 on sales and marketing this month and have converted 100 customers the sum would be 15,000 / 100, giving you a CAC of $150.
This is a no-brainer but, to make a profit, your CAC needs to be lower than the average amount your customers spend.
It’s also helpful to know the CAC per marketing or sales tactic (this is also known as revenue by traffic type). For example, if you regularly run Facebook Ads, it’s important to track the CAC just for that activity.
How to Leverage Results to Get More Sales
Optimize Your Marketing Activities
Not all marketing activities are created equal. Some will work better than others and there will be a few that emerge as the frontrunners for the lowest possible CAC.
It’s important to dig into the data you have to determine the key channels your customers find you through. The ones that aren’t performing well can be scrapped or retweaked if you think there’s potential there.
This research from ActiveCampaign shows the most popular ways consumers find out about new products. If you don’t already have a selection of marketing campaigns running, you can use this as a starting point to draw inspiration from.
Consider Paid Advertising
The thought of throwing your money at ads might seem daunting, but the proof is in the pudding. Not only are they the preferred way for consumers to hear about new products, but they also offer one of the lowest CAC out of every marketing strategy. What’s more, you can easily track how much you’re spending to attract each new customer through the built-in dashboards (there’s no manual figuring out needed here).
Research shows that Facebook has a lower cost per click than other social media channels, plus it has the power to remarket to past buyers who are more likely to buy from you than cold customers.
Focus on Cost-Effective Strategies
Email marketing comes in as the fourth most preferred way for consumers to find out about new products, but there’s a reason we’re listing it here. It’s pretty much one of the only nearly-free channels that produce a high ROI.
According to recent research, every $1 spent on email marketing returns $38. Not only this, but 76% of customers use retailer emails to fuel purchase decisions and they are a great tool for inspiring repeat purchases.
Average Order Value
The average order value (AOV) is pretty self-explanatory. It’s basically the average amount your customers spend per order. Like most ecommerce metrics, AOV varies depending on the industry you’re selling in.
How to Work Out Your AOV
To get your AOV, divide your total revenue for a specified time period by the number of orders placed.
For example, if you’ve made $6,000 in revenue this month from 300 orders the sum would be 6,000 / 300, giving you an AOV of $20.
How to Leverage Results to Get More Sales
Firstly, have a goal in mind for your ideal AOV (remember to be realistic here. If most of your products sell for less than $50, don’t set your goal AOV as $75).
Chances are, you’ll start to see a common theme amongst your most popular items. Instead of raising the prices of these products, you can leverage their popularity in other ways.
Bundling items is a great way to do this. It means that customers get to buy their favorite products and get some extras for a smaller cost than buying everything separately.
Best Buy provides a great example of this in action. They actually have an in-built bundle creator on their site that lets users freely mix and match selected products.
It means that customers add on products they otherwise might have overlooked, bumping up your AOV over time.
Amazon sellers can also bundle similar items together, which you can see in action in the “frequently bought together” section on certain product pages.
To create a bundle on Amazon, you first have to check that the primary item in the bundle fits into one of the “allowed” categories – products from the Games, Books, and TV categories are not allowed to be bundled, for example.
Then, you will need to buy a new and unique UPC for your bundle and ensure you include the word “bundle” in the title of the product. While you might be bundling together several items you already sell on Amazon, the platform treats it as an entirely new product, complete with its own packaging, UPC, ASIN, and FNSKU.
The Money is in the Details
Again, raising your prices isn’t the best tactic for generating more sales and improving your AOV, especially when you’re up against a swathe of hot competition.
Instead, you should be focusing on the finer details.
For example, customers will buy more if you offer free shipping over a certain price, if you upsell items with relevant additional extras that can be tacked on at the checkout, and personalized product recommendations.
Tap Into Helpful Tools
Pricing is a sticking point for many ecommerce and Amazon sellers – and rightly so. How do you make sure you’re keeping up with the competition without pricing yourself out?
While figuring out your AOV is important, it’s also important that you’re making a profit and pricing correctly. Use a pricing tool like SellerSnap to analyze your prices, maximize your profits, and stay out of price wars while still improving your AOV.
Cart Abandonment Rate
Cart abandonment is an epidemic in the ecommerce world. Abandonment rates for online retailers lie between 60% and 80%, with an average of 67.91%.
People flee from their carts for a number of reasons; the shipping costs are too high, they needed to create an account, it took too long, and there were errors are some of the more common reasons.
It goes without saying that improving your cart abandonment rate can dramatically improve your revenue.
How to Work Out Your Cart Abandonment Rate
To work out your cart abandonment rate, divide the total number of completed purchases by the number of shopping carts created and times it by 100. Your rate will be the difference between the resulting number and 100.
For example, if you sold 3,000 products by 16,000 carts were created this month, the sum is 3,000 / 16,000 x 100, giving you a total of 18.75. You then subtract this number from 100 to give you an abandonment rate of 81.25%.
How to Leverage the Results
Understand Customer Concerns
The key thing you need to know to improve your cart abandonment rate is why customers are fleeing in the first place.
You might be able to figure this out from micro-conversion data. If that’s not possible, consider sending out a survey to past customers who have left products in their carts to see what caused the blockage.
On top of this, you can play around with key checkout optimization tactics. These include:
- Providing multiple payment methods so customers can choose their most preferred
- Showing costs in their native currency
- Being upfront about shipping fees and extra costs from the get-go
- Simplify the checkout process as much as possible
AmazonPay tackles the major reasons shoppers abandon their carts, whether it’s because they have to create an account or go through a lengthy checkout process.
It essentially helps people checkout and makes a purchase as quickly as possible.
Remarket and Don’t Shy Away from Persistence
The research from ActiveCampaign we mentioned earlier touches on the ways customers would like to be reminded about products they didn’t buy. Use the top of this list as inspiration for future remarketing tactics and don’t be afraid to be persistent.
Consumers today are busy.
They abandon their carts for all different kinds of reasons even if they had every intention of buying. Sometimes life gets in the way and they forget that they’ve got items languishing in their cart. A gentle reminder via email can push them in the right direction and trigger an uptick in the number of sales you get.
FiftyThree sends out emails to potential buyers that have left items in their cart. A simple reminder like this can dramatically lower your cart abandonment rate. According to research cart abandonment emails can have a 10% conversion rate – that’s no small feat in the great scheme of things.
Make the Most of your Metrics
We’ve focused on these specific metrics because they relate directly to sales and revenue. While there are many (many, many) more out there, these are the ones that are linked to how much money you make.
Understanding how these metrics work is the first part of the puzzle. The next step is using the insights from them to fuel your future efforts. If you can leverage these particular metrics and translate them into processes and activities, you’ll start to see an uptick in sales and revenue.