45+ Important Online Retail KPIs to Track
KPIs (key performance indicators) are metrics that online retailers select based on their specific business objectives and goals.
The idea is to consistently track your most important online retail KPIs and then adjust your frontend (such as marketing) and backend strategies (such as inventory management) accordingly.
Even better if you can do so in real-time!
In this post, we will take you through the most important online retail KPIs for business growth, divided into the most critical types.
But first, let’s recap what a KPI is and how you can create and define KPIs for your specific goals and eCommerce brand.
What Are Retail KPIs?
KPIs (key performance indicators) are data points that online retailers can use to consistently measure performance against a specific goal they have set.
Let’s say you are an online apparel retail store whose goal is to increase your store traffic by 20% over the course of the coming year. You would then track performance indicators that help you measure your performance relative to this goal. Such as:
- Number of unique visitors
- Traffic sources
(More on this example later.)
KPIs vs. Metrics
Key performance indicators are specific, measurable data points based on particular goals a store wants to achieve. Metrics, on the other hand, measure the progress/performance of specific activities within an overall objective. (Some data points can be classified as both; it all depends on how you’re using that data.)
How to Create a KPI
Before choosing which retail KPIs are most important to your brand, you need to have a clear goal — and an understanding of what business elements directly affect the goal. This means that for every goal you have, your key performance indicators will be different.
Let’s look at some key performance indicator templates and examples, first continuing with the traffic example we used above.
Goal 1: Growing Store Traffic by 20%
Let’s say one of your main goals for 2023 is to grow your store traffic by 20%. Once you have implemented the relevant strategies, here are some KPIs you should be watching to gauge the performance of those strategies:
- Unique visitors
- Traffic sources
- Site traffic
- Bounce rates
- Social shares
- CTRs (from promotions)
Goal 2: Boost Profits by 10% in the First Quarter
Now, let’s assume that your next quarterly goal is to increase your profits by 10% and you’ve had to implement strategies, including advanced product sorting and merchandising, to achieve this. Here are some KPIs you should be watching to gauge the performance of those strategies:
- Gross profit margin
- Net profit margin
- Gross margin ROI
- Return rate and refunds
- Inventory value
- Product demand and price competitiveness in the market
- Dead stock
As you can see, two different goals, two different sets of KPIs you could follow. While some data points can be used to help track a variety of goals at once, some work specifically for one goal. They can also be used for overall performance or drilled down to specific elements.
Bounce rate, for instance, helps with traffic optimization but wouldn’t be a straightforward performance metric to measure profitability goal performance.
To helpget you started, here are 45+ retail KPI examples that fit into essential aspects of online retail.
45+ Important Retail KPIs to Track
KPIs for sales performance goals will help you measure where you are in terms of conversions and revenue and can be looked at generally or by specific channels, products, digital touchpoints, or time periods.
Here are some examples of the types of online retail KPIs and metrics you should follow for sales performance — beyond the obvious total sales and revenue.
1. AOVs (Average Order Values)
AOVs are an important KPI to determine the average dollar amount each time a shopper buys from your online store. To calculate AOVs, simply divide total revenue by the total number of orders.
2. Cart Abandonment Rate
Calculated by dividing the total number of purchases by the number of carts created, cart abandonment rate is another good KPI for measuring sales goals.
3. Churn Rate
Churn rate is a sales KPI showing online retailers the percentage of shoppers who stop buying from an online store over a specific period. The lower the percentage, the better your buying journey marketing strategy works.
4. COGS (Cost of Goods Sold)
Another important retail KPI to watch for sales performance are COGs. This KPI will tell you how much you’re spending to sell a specific product, including overhead and manufacturing, materials, wages, and other operational costs, ultimately assessing overall profitability.
5. Conversion Rates
One of the most important online retail KPIs is conversion rates. This can be measured overall, or for any element of marketing, sales, merchandising, or other strategy, channels, products, or pages.
6. Gross Profit
Gross profit is the measure of your store, category, or product total profit. It’s a good indication of the overall profitability of each — ensuring you are earning more than you’re spending.
There are a variety of margin metrics you could review to ensure you are reaching performance goals. This can be gross profit margin for your store or specific products, or net profit margins, which shows whether you are effective at generating profit for each revenue earned.
8. New vs. Repeat Customer Orders
New vs. repeat customer orders is a KPI that compares the number of new customers and repeat shoppers. Unlike focusing just on customer acquisition, this sales performance indicator can point to gaps in retention and loyalty strategies.
9. Product Affinity
A good KPI for sales performance is product affinity. This data point will tell you which products your customers are purchasing together and can help improve several strategies, including cross-selling merchandising.
10. Product Relationship
Another performance metric worth keeping track of is product relationship. Although less-known, it is effective in indicating which products a potential shopper views consecutively — whether they made a sale or not. This is partially helpful in reviewing product bundles or buying journey strategy performance.
Merchandising KPIs are the data points by which you measure the success of your overall merchandising strategy. Ultimately, it’s vital in ensuring strategies are not just leading product discovery and sales — but driving profitability as well.
Here are just a few merchandising KPIs you will want to track to ensure your strategies are on point.
11. Days to Finish Inventory
Days to finish inventory is a KPI that gives you the average time your store holds inventory until it’s sold. This is an important data point to measure the success of backend operations, inventory optimization, and merchandising. After all, if the average time for a product is too long, then the problem is with your display — visual merchandising.
12. DOH (Days on Hand)
DOH is the average days it takes to sell inventory or the age of stock in hand. In other words, it will tell you how long inventory is in your warehouses before it’s sold and fulfilled. This is usually calculated daily, monthly, or yearly (like below) and can help direct which products you want to push.
13. Inventory Carrying Costs
Another KPI worth tracking to ensure your merchandising strategy is meeting your objective is inventory carrying costs. This includes all expenses involved with holding products, such as capital, storage, and risk costs — as well as the cost of the product itself.
It’s calculated by taking your overheads total and dividing it by the average annual inventory cost, which can point to poor inventory optimization and dead stock.
14. Inventory Levels
This simple operating KPI measures how much stock is on hand at any given moment. This will help you quickly adapt a variety of front and backend strategies such as product sorting, promotions, visual displays, and category optimization.
15. Inventory Turnover Ratio
Inventory turnover is a retail KPI that shows you how long it takes you to sell and then replenish a product. It’s a good indication of overall inventory management and operation health. It is also a good KPI to consider when planning your product sorting strategy. To calculate inventory turnover, you need to divide your COGS by your average inventory.
16. Inventory Value
Inventory value is the simple calculation of the number of products on hand multiplied by the unit price of each product. This is a handy KPI to consider when upgrading your merchandising strategy performance. Why? Because profitability is not just about levels, it is about the cost of holding those levels.
17. Non-Moving Inventory
Non-moving inventory performance indicators will help you assess operation, inventory, and merchandising optimization. All three of which dramatically affect profitability.
There are several ways you can calculate non-moving or slow-moving inventory — including three previously discussed retail KPIs:
- Ranking products based on “months on hand”
- Using inventory turnover
- Looking at product category DOH
18. Variants Stock Ratio
This retail KPI gives you the percentage of variants you have in stock for a specific product and can therefore help shape merchandising decisions to ensure you’re meeting your objectives.
For instance, let’s say you sell a t-shirt in five sizes (variants) — XS, S, M, L, and XL — but only sizes XL and L are in stock. Then your variant stock ratio for this product would be only 40%. You would then want to switch your visual displays or product sorting to prioritize a product with a higher ratio to help boost sales.
Probably the most important group of retail KPIs, marketing data points will show you how your current marketing and promotional strategies are going. While they also, of course, impact sales KPIs, for marketing performance tracking, you want to ensure you are looking at general and per-platform metrics.
Here are just some examples of the types of online retail KPIs and data points you should be tracking to ensure your current marketing strategies are working.
19. Average CTRs
One of the most important KPIs for tracking the performance of any marketing strategy is your CTRs. The average CTR shows you the percentage of click engagement on a page, ad, or element.
Your goal CTR will differ depending on what marketing strategy, campaign, or platform you’re measuring — and the industry you’re selling in.
20. Average Position (Search)
Average position is a good KPI to track if your goal is to improve your store’s organic or paid search performance. It indicates where on a results page your specific content is located for specific keywords.
21. Average Session Duration
A good data point for improving shopping experience, store website optimization, SEO, etc., is your average session duration. Average session duration is the amount of time a shopper spends on your page or site in a single website visit.
22. Bounce Rate
Another valuable performance indicator for on and offsite marketing is your bounce rate. This KPI tells you how much of your store traffic leaves your store without viewing more than one page. For instance, if you’re running a promotion to a specific landing page, a high bounce rate means you aren’t moving them onto the next stage of your marketing journey — your checkout pages!
Clicks are the total click engagement an asset or element gets. This could be a click on a search listing, email, PPC, website upsell, or other merchandising displays, and more.
24. Engagement Rates (Social Media)
A good KPI for assessing the health of your social media marketing are its engagement rates. This can be tracked and assessed per platform, account, or campaign. Your goals will be different in each case. However, a rough benchmark would be to aim for a 1% to 5% engagement, depending on the element.
25. New Visitors vs. Returning Visitors
New visitors vs. returning visitors is a telling KPI that assesses the success of a marketing campaign. It compares new site traffic or first-time visitors with returning traffic. For instance, if you’re investing in an extensive awareness campaign, you will want to see higher new visitor numbers.
26. New Subscribers (Email / SMS Marketing)
New subscribers is an important KPI to determine the performance of an email or SMS signup campaign. However, you could also track this data point for your loyalty programs or events (like a co-marketing webinar). It’s simply the number of new subscribers to an initiative.
27. Open Rate and CTRs (Email)
Some other important email or SMS marketing performance indicators are your open rates and CTRs. Open rates are the percentage of subscribers that open an email or text, while CTRs tell you the percentage of those who actually clicked the link — to your store or product discovery landing page — in your marketing.
For onsite marketing goals, you want to track pageviews. This KPI gives you the average amount of pages a potential customer will view during a store visit.
On the positive side, the more pages they view, the more engagement there is with your shopping journey. But it could point to a longer than necessary sales funnel that results in potential customers leaving your store before purchasing.
It will depend on your goal prioritization and the other data points you are tracking.
29. Product Reviews
Product review KPI tracking isn’t just about your UGC collection performance. Social proof is essential to eCommerce marketing, merchandising, shopping experience, and checkout optimization. Therefore, in all these strategies, you will want to stay on top of the quantity and the quality of product reviews.
30. Subscriber Growth Rate
This KPI measures the rate at which your subscriber list is growing. It’s an important data point for assessing if your email, social media (such as YouTube channel subscriptions), and loyalty program signups are growing at the rate (quickness) you planned for.
31. Time on Site
Time on site measures how much time a potential shopper spends on your online retail site. If you’re reviewing this KPI for a blog marketing strategy, you want this measure to be high. However, if this is for a marketing campaign that takes a customer from a digital ad to a landing page to checkout, you want this stat to be lower for peak performance.
Traffic is probably the most critical metric for eCommerce marketing success. Whether it’s total site traffic KPIs to ensure overall inbound marketing health or specific page traffic to track PPC effectiveness, you want these numbers to be high. You also want to determine the source of all that juicy traffic — which brings us to the next retail KPI.
33. Traffic Source
The traffic source KPI tells you where a store visitor was before they clicked to your site. This is vital data if you want to ensure that your marketing strategies and campaigns are performing as they should. It will also help you shape new strategies by showing you where your shoppers tend to come from — channel/platform/listings/ads — more often.
Here are the top average traffic sources for eCommerce to give you a rough benchmark.
Customer service and its effectiveness is vital to your online retail shopping experience. By tracking customer service KPIs, you will better understand the effectiveness of your overall experience and ensure your customer service goals are being met.
Here are some examples of the types of online retail KPIs and metrics you can track to ensure your customer service is up to scratch.
34. Active Issues / Tickets
Active or open issues/tickets is a KPI that will show you the total number of customer service queries currently in progress. If your goal is to improve customer service, then this data point is essential in ensuring any issues are effectively resolved. The higher the number, compared to the number of created issues, the more effective your support team is in getting to customers.
35. Average Resolution Time
It’s not enough that your team is opening issues/tickets; you also want them to resolve them as quickly as possible. Average resolution is the time it takes your support team to resolve an issue (or ticket) from when a potential customer or shopper gets in touch to when the issue is sorted out — and it’s the best KPI to measure the efficiency of customer support teams or systems.
Another important retail KPI to track to determine if your customer service is meeting set objects is your total backlogs. Backlog KPIs are data points or metrics that will show you how many unresolved issues or tickets you have. If your goal is to improve customer satisfaction, then you want this rate to be low.
37. CLVs (Customer Lifetime Value)
CLVs will show you how much a shopper has been worth to your eCommerce brand since their first product discovery. This is an important KPI to measure if your goal is to increase customer satisfaction, improve retention rates, and/or build long-term loyalty.
38. Customer Service Counts
Next on the list of important retail KPIs to track are customer service counts. This can be email, phone, or chat counts, depending on the customer service SaaS tools and platforms you’re using for your store. It’s the total number of tickets/issues that a customer service team receives.
39. First Response Time
First response time is the average amount of time it initially takes you to respond to a shopper or potential customer’s query. Ideally, for customer service optimization and performance, you want this data point to be as low as possible.
40. Hit Rates
Another good KPI to measure the performance of your store’s customer service is your product hit rate. This is calculated by taking a product’s total number of sales and dividing it by the number of users who have contacted your store about that product. This will also help determine the performance of your product pages and could point to possible inefficiencies.
41. Service Escalation Rate
Service escalation rate is another example of a customer service KPI that will help you monitor the performance of your shopping experience strategies. This KPI will tell you the number of times a shopper asked a team member to direct them to a manager.
Production retail KPIs are those KPIs related to manufacturing, supply chain, and production process goals. They help point to inefficiencies and ensure your current systems are meeting the objectives and goals you have set.
Let’s look at some top production KPIs examples for eCommerce.
Shrinkage retail KPIs are important if you want to keep production performance and operational costs. It is the calculation of loss of inventory that results from damages, breakages, shipping problems, and administrative errors. Basically, any inventory loss that isn’t through direct sales.
To calculate this KPI, you need to take the total value of the inventory you’re supposed to have and subtract the total value of the inventory you actually have.
43. Cycle Time
The next production KPI to consider for manufacturing goals is cycle time. This KPI shows the time it takes you to manufacture a product from beginning to end and will help determine if product efficiency is meeting objectives. (This formula can also be used for your order fulfillment strategies.)
44. Non-Compliance Events / Incidents
When it comes to manufacturing efficiency and quality, you will want to keep an eye on non-compliance events. These KPIs can point to possible performance issues relating to quality, working conditions, or safety. All of which affect productivity and operational efficiency, and costs.
45. OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness)
Another important online retail KPI for ensuring manufacturing and production goals are being met is OEE. Overall equipment effectiveness is a key performance indicator that offers insights into how your manufacturing equipment is performing.
46. OLE (Overall Labor Effectiveness)
OLE is a good KPI to determine the overall productivity of your manufacturing and production teams. It takes into consideration availability, performance, and quality percentage measurements that you can use to drive operational decisions.
Lastly, the most straightforward production or manufacturing KPI is yield. This performance indicator gives you the total number of produced products in a given period. You also need these data points to determine your FTY (first time yield) and FTT (first time through) KPIs, indicating whether your product processing is working to their full potential or being wasteful.
There you have it, 45+ online retail KPI examples you can use to track and optimize for important eCommerce goals. Ultimately, your list of must-track retail KPIs should be continuously evolving as your goals and objectives change.
You also want to ensure that you are looking at these KPIs in relation to your business as a whole to ensure that you are adapting for these data points in all strategies — including:
- Operation and merchandising
- Customer service
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