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4 important growth goals in ecommerce

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are milestones on the road to online retail success. Monitoring your past and present performance will help you identify trends, anticipate issues, and plan your business decisions accordingly. By analysing your data, you’ll gain an accurate perspective on how your business is progressing towards its core goals. Some of these objectives will have many performance indicators, so narrowing these down to the most impactful data will help keep you focused. Below, we’ve picked out four core goals and their associated KPIs that help boost sales, streamline marketing and improve customer service…

I want to:

(Click each goal below to reveal the KPIs)

Boost sales

Associated KPIs: Daily sales, average order value and site traffic.

Being able to report on and analyse your past sales performance will help you anticipate trends and issues your business needs to react to. Look at things like how much and how fast individual products are selling across different channels and regions. How profitable is each item? What’s the average order value? What’s selling seasonally and how can you be best prepared? There are lots of ways you can use this data to boost your top line sales, but start by looking at the state of your listings. Poorly performing products may be down to quality of information, language or pricing presented to buyers.

It’s also worthwhile taking a look at the sales data for each of your channels. Although the more places you sell stock on generally means your products have more potential for people to see them, it might be a good idea to pull away from a few channels that are under-performing, and focus your energies on three successful platforms instead.

International sales is another key driver of sales growth. The Volo platform allows you to create a report that drills down into your performance to see what products are accounting for growth in new markets. If you haven’t really experimented with bundles and promotions, now may be the time if you want to increase sales fast.

Start by analysing what products best suit promotions or start to recommend customers’ products that work well together. What’s more, through Volo reporting you can gather Daily and Hourly Averages to show you the best time to run promotions. If you want to access data while you’re on the move, Volo’s mobile reporting platform can keep you constantly up-to-date so you can react faster.

Increase conversion rates

Associated KPIs: Conversion rates, shopping cart abandonment rates, shipping rate trends, competitive price trends and PPC.

Getting customers to your store is one challenge, but getting them to the checkout is a completely different ballgame. If you manage to get them there, there are still many road blocks which see them abort their shopping session. Start analysing why people aren’t completing their orders; now is not the time to create a complex checkout process that undoes all your hard work.

Could it be that customers are dropping off when they see your shipping rates, when they find the payment process too difficult and timely, they find a better price with a competitor or that the product has sold out by the time they get to checkout? If your data points to any of these culprits go away and tweak these things and see how your conversion rates alter.

There are other key performance indicators that can give you a view on what’s standing in the way. Stock forecast reports are a valuable piece of intelligence that will help you understand the average lead time on SKUs, so you can keep up with demand or streamline your offering demand doesn’t exist. The Volo system can send you instant email notifications if an item goes ‘amber’ or ‘red’, according to the rules you put in place. Trend forecasting is something that comes naturally to some people, and a well-developed hunch or gut feel can mean some sellers take markets by storm. But for most, it’s about hard work and researching what products customers and regions are reacting to in order to achieve better conversion rates.

Email marketing to your customer base is crucial when you need to encourage more repeat purchases and increase buyer loyalty. Over time you can fine-tune your communications and boost conversion rates thanks to Volo’s Customer report. The breakdown gives you a view of what customers have bought similar products from you before so you can serve them targeted emails and relevant content. Our Top Customers report helps you reward your best customers with offers and discounts. In addition to this, you can identify the most fruitful times of day for order taking so you can optimise your email campaigns so they go out at the most appropriate times.

Grow site traffic

Associated KPIs: Site traffic, traffic sources, promotional click-through rates, social shares and bounce rates.

The associated KPIs above aren’t always the best ones for all companies, however these are a good starting point for most. It’s really important that you segment your data as much as possible. Google Analytics allows you to create segments that can tell you what countries visitors are from, what they’re purchasing, who is visiting what a specific part of your site etc. If you are unfamiliar with Google’s segmentation abilities, read more here. Try not to get too caught up looking at averages, as this can often skew your perception of reality.

The product data you base your listings on is often information inherited from your suppliers, which can often leave you with inferior and inaccurate information that hasn’t been written with SEO in mind. Start by analysing your sales by supplier to see where the gaps are, then address the inaccuracies you’re experiencing with individual suppliers so you can share your expectations going forward so information is more consistent and helps buyers find you. When it comes to peppering in keywords to boost your SEO, try using Keyword to find out what your audience is looking for online.

Investing in pay-per-click (PPC) is a way of using search engine advertising to help generate clicks to your website rather than organically earning them. You can optimise your campaigns to target the most relevant audiences to your platform, and the good news is that the better your ads perform, greater your click-through-rates and the lower your costs.

Although desktops still account for the majority of retail ecommerce site traffic, mobile and tablet shoppers are catching up. So make sure your website is fully optimised across all devices to keep customers on your site for longer.

Boost customer service ratings

Associated KPIs: Overall customer satisfaction levels, customer retention rates, NPS, average resolution time and number of active issues.

Customer service is a cost centre, not a profit centre, for your business. The more people you have in customer service, answering phones, reading and sending emails, locating orders, checking their status, processing refunds and returns, the higher your costs and the more pressure on your margins. But it’s no use hiring so many customer service staff that you lose money on every transaction you make. At the opposite end of the spectrum, an under-resourced team means a seemingly unending stack of customer issues to resolve, slower response times, disgruntled customers and poor ratings. Your alternative is to invest in better processes and technologies that automate some of the areas for you, save your staff time and make them more productive.

Whether you have a well-equipped customer service team or not, online reviews left by your customers are the lifeline of your business. A whopping 61% of shoppers read online reviews before making purchase decisions, and positive reviews on average produce an 18% uplift in sales. So keeping a close eye on your customer service ratings will show you what areas you are doing well in and where you might need to work on improving the overall buyer experience.

As we’ve already discussed, there are things you can do when it comes to improving the quality of your product listings, supplier information, the buying experience and attracting customers to your site. But what can you do to solicit more positive reviews from customers? Firstly, your customers will have a lot of the same questions for you, so why not start aggregating FAQs so customers can serve themselves for everyday queries. For the more specific questions, make it your policy to respond within 24 hours (including weekends and holidays) to limit any negative or damaging feedback. Research by Amazon shows that orders with messages responded to within 24 hours receive 50% less negative feedback than those messages responded to after 24 hours.

There are product review management companies out there like FeedbackFive to help you manage feedback across multiple marketplaces so you can get more product reviews via email campaigns, improve your online reputation and get guidance on how to manage negative feedback better. Review platforms like Trustpilot and Feefo are also worthwhile checking out, to help you boost reviews and ratings.