What are e-commerce KPIs?

E-commerce key performance indicators, also known as e-commerce KPIs are measurable metrics or data points that businesses use to evaluate their performance and progress toward specific goals and objectives. 

KPIs provide valuable insights into various aspects of an e-commerce business, helping companies make informed decisions and optimize their strategies. 

Key characteristics of e-commerce KPIs

The key characteristics of e-commerce KPIs are:
  1. Measurability: E-commerce KPIs are quantifiable and can be measured using specific metrics or data points. They provide objective and numerical insights into various aspects of online business performance.

  2. Relevance: E-commerce KPIs are directly related to the goals and objectives of the online business. They focus on critical areas that are essential for achieving success in the e-commerce sector, such as sales, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

  3. Benchmarking: E-commerce KPIs often involve setting benchmarks or targets that serve as performance standards. These benchmarks can be based on historical data, industry benchmarks, or the organization's own goals and targets.

  4. Communication: E-commerce KPIs facilitate communication within the organization by providing a common language for discussing performance. They help align teams and departments with the overall e-commerce objectives.

  5. Focus: E-commerce KPIs help businesses prioritize their efforts and resources on the most critical areas that contribute to the success of the online store. This ensures that resources are allocated effectively.

  6. Performance evaluation: E-commerce KPIs serve as a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of various e-commerce strategies, marketing campaigns, and operational processes. They provide a clear picture of what is working and what needs improvement.

  7. Continuous improvement: By tracking e-commerce KPIs over time, businesses can identify trends, patterns, and areas where performance can be enhanced. This encourages a culture of continuous improvement within the organization.

  8. Customer-centric: Many e-commerce KPIs focus on customer-related metrics, such as conversion rate, customer retention, and customer satisfaction. This reflects the customer-centric nature of e-commerce and the importance of meeting customer needs.

  9. Profitability: E-commerce KPIs often include metrics related to revenue, profit margins, and cost-effectiveness. They help businesses assess the financial health and profitability of their online operations.

  10. Risk management: Some e-commerce KPIs may also help in identifying and mitigating risks, such as fraud detection and cybersecurity metrics. These KPIs protect the business and its customers.

What are some essential e-commerce KPIs?

E-commerce KPIs are essential because they provide measurable insights into an online business's performance, helping identify strengths and weaknesses. They guide decision-making, allowing businesses to optimize strategies, improve customer experiences, and ultimately drive growth and profitability. Here are some essential e-commerce KPIs: 

  • Conversion rate: Conversion rate measures the percentage of your e-commerce website visitors who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase. It helps assess the effectiveness of your website in turning visitors into customers.

For instance, if 1,000 people visit your online store, and 50 of them make a purchase, your conversion rate would be 5% (50 / 1,000).

  • Average order value (AOV): AOV measures the average amount spent by a customer in a single transaction. Increasing AOV can boost revenue without increasing the number of customers.

Suppose your total sales for a month are $10,000, and you had 200 orders, your AOV would be $50 ($10,000 / 200).

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC): CAC measures the cost of acquiring a new customer, including marketing and advertising expenses. It's essential to ensure that CAC is lower than the lifetime value of a customer (LTV).

    Take, for example, if you spent $1,000 on marketing in a month and acquired 20 new customers, your CAC would be $50 ($1,000 / 20).


  • Customer lifetime value (LTV): LTV estimates the total revenue a customer is expected to generate over their entire relationship with your business. It helps prioritize customer retention efforts.

    Assume that the average customer makes 10 purchases and spends $500 over their lifetime, the LTV would be $5,000.

  • Cart abandonment rate: This KPI measures the percentage of users who add products to their shopping cart but do not complete the purchase. A high abandonment rate can indicate issues with the checkout process or pricing.

    Let’s say 100 users add items to their cart, but only 60 complete the purchase, the cart abandonment rate is 40% (100 - 60) / 100.


  • Return on investment (ROI): ROI assesses the profitability of marketing campaigns or initiatives. It compares the net profit generated to the cost of the campaign.

    If you spent $1,000 on a marketing campaign that generated $5,000 in revenue, your ROI would be 400% (($5,000 - $1,000) / $1,000).


  • Churn rate: Churn rate calculates the percentage of customers who stop doing business with your e-commerce store over a specific period. High churn can signal issues with customer satisfaction and retention.

    For example, if you had 500 customers at the beginning of the month and lost 50 of them during the month, your churn rate would be 10% (50 / 500).


  • Traffic sources: Understanding where your website traffic comes from can help allocate marketing resources effectively. Common traffic sources include organic search, paid advertising, social media, and referrals.

    Now assume that you find that 40% of your website traffic comes from organic search, 30% from paid ads, and 20% from social media, you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.


  • Inventory turnover rate: This KPI measures how quickly a company sells its inventory and replaces it with new stock. It's crucial for managing inventory levels and cash flow.

    Suppose you sold $120,000 worth of products in a year, and your average inventory value was $30,000, your inventory turnover rate would be 4 times ($120,000 / $30,000).


  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT): CSAT measures customer satisfaction with their shopping experience. It's often assessed through post-purchase surveys or feedback forms.

    Suppose you survey a group of customers and 80% of them report being "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their recent purchase, your CSAT score would be 80%.

Types of e-commerce KPIs

Key performance indicators for an e-commerce business can be categorized into various types, each focusing on different aspects of the online retail operation. Some primary categories of KPIs for e-commerce businesses are: 

1) Sales 

2) Marketing performance

3) Customer service performance 

4) Manufacturing 

5) Project Management 

What are key performance indicators for sales in an e-commerce business?

Key performance indicators for sales in an e-commerce business help measure and assess the effectiveness of your sales efforts. Some essential sales-related KPIs for e-commerce businesses include: 

  • Conversion rate: This KPI measures the percentage of website visitors who are converting into customers on your e-commerce website or making a desired purchase. This is calculated by dividing the total number of visitors by the total number of conversions.

  • Average order value (AOV): AOV measures the average amount spent by a customer in a single transaction. A higher AOV indicates that customers are buying more during each visit.

  • Revenue per visitor: This KPI calculates the average revenue generated for each of your e-commerce website visitors. It provides insights into the overall effectiveness of your website in converting visitors into paying customers.

  • Cost of goods sold (COGS): COGS measures the direct costs associated with producing or purchasing the products you sell. It's crucial for understanding the profitability of your sales.

  • Gross profit margin: This KPI assesses the profitability of each sale by measuring the percentage of revenue that remains after deducting COGS. A higher margin indicates greater profitability.

  • Sales growth rate: Sales growth rate measures the percentage increase or decrease in sales over a specified period. It's an important KPI for tracking the company's overall sales performance.

  • Sales by channel: This KPI breaks down sales by different sales channels, such as online, offline, direct, or through partners. It helps identify which channels are most effective for generating revenue.

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC): CAC measures the cost of acquiring a new customer, including marketing and sales expenses. It's important to assess the efficiency of your customer acquisition efforts.

  • Sales pipeline value: This KPI evaluates the total value of potential sales opportunities currently in the sales pipeline. It helps assess the health and potential of your future sales in your e-commerce business.

What are key performance indicators for marketing in an e-commerce business? 

Key performance indicators for marketing performance in an e-commerce business help measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and strategies. Some essential marketing-related KPIs for e-commerce businesses include: 

  • Return on investment (ROI): Measures the profitability of marketing campaigns by comparing the revenue generated to the cost of the campaign.

  • Click-through rate (CTR): Measures the effectiveness of online ads or email campaigns by calculating the percentage of users who click on a link or ad.

  • Cost per click (CPC): The average cost for each click on a paid advertising campaign. It helps assess the efficiency of paid marketing channels.

  • Cost per mille (CPM): The cost per thousand impressions in a display advertising campaign. It's used to assess the cost-effectiveness of impression-based campaigns.

  • Customer lifetime value (LTV): The total value a customer is expected to generate over their entire relationship with your business. It emphasizes the long-term value of each customer.

  • Churn rate: Measures the percentage of customers who stop doing business with your company over a specific period. A high churn rate can indicate customer dissatisfaction.

  • Customer retention rate: The percentage of customers who continue to make purchases from your online store over time. It measures the effectiveness of marketing strategies in retaining existing customers.

  • Marketing campaign effectiveness: Assessing the success of individual marketing campaigns, including metrics like conversion rates and ROI for each campaign.

What are key performance indicators for customer service performance in an e-commerce business?

Key performance indicators for customer service performance help your e-commerce businesses assess the effectiveness and quality of their customer support and service efforts. Here are some essential customer service-related KPIs:

  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT): Measures overall customer satisfaction with their service experience through surveys or feedback forms.

  • Net promoter score (NPS): Gauges customer loyalty and willingness to recommend your business to others.

  • Customer effort score (CES): Evaluates how easy or difficult it is for customers to resolve issues or accomplish tasks when interacting with customer service.

  • First response time: Measures how quickly customer service representatives respond to customer inquiries or issues.

  • Resolution time: The average time it takes to resolve a customer's issue or request.

  • Service level: Measures the percentage of customer inquiries or issues that are resolved within a specified timeframe (e.g., within 24 hours).

  • Average handle time (AHT): The average time it takes for a customer service representative to handle a customer inquiry or issue.

  • Customer service response rate: The percentage of customer inquiries or messages that receive a response from customer service.

  • Customer complaint rate: Measures the number of customer complaints or issues reported in a given period.

  • Quality of service (QoS) score: A comprehensive evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of customer service interactions, often measured through internal quality assessments.

What are key performance indicators for manufacturing in an e-commerce business?

Key performance indicators for manufacturing are metrics used to assess the efficiency, quality, and productivity of manufacturing processes in your e-commerce business. Some essential manufacturing-related KPIs include:

  • Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE): Measures the overall efficiency of manufacturing equipment and machinery by considering factors such as availability, performance, and quality.

  • Production yield: Calculates the percentage of defect-free products produced compared to the total number of products manufactured.

  • Cycle time: The time it takes to complete a specific manufacturing process, from start to finish.

  • Downtime: Measures the amount of time manufacturing equipment or production lines are not operational due to maintenance, breakdowns, or changeovers.

  • Scrap rate: The percentage of materials or products that do not meet quality standards and are discarded during production.

  • First pass yield (FPY): Measures the percentage of products that pass quality control on the first attempt without rework or repair.

  • Capacity utilization: Evaluates how efficiently manufacturing resources are used in comparison to their full capacity.

  • Lead time: The time it takes to complete an order from the moment it is received to the moment it is delivered to the customer.

  • On-time delivery: Measures the percentage of orders or products delivered to customers on or before the agreed-upon delivery date.

  • Work-in-progress (WIP): The number or value of items in various stages of the manufacturing process at a given time.

  • Customer reject rate: The percentage of products rejected by customers due to quality issues.

What are key performance indicators for project management in an e-commerce business?

Key performance indicators for project management in an e-commerce business help assess the successful planning, execution, and delivery of e-commerce projects. Here are some essential project management-related KPIs for e-commerce businesses:

  • Project completion time: Measures the time it takes to complete a specific project, from initiation to closure.

  • Project cost variance (CV): Compares the budgeted project cost to the actual cost incurred. A negative variance indicates cost overruns.

  • Project schedule variance (SV): Compares the planned project schedule to the actual project progress. A negative variance indicates project delays.

  • Project scope change rate: Measures the frequency and impact of changes to the project scope. High change rates may indicate scope creep.

  • Resource utilization: Evaluates how efficiently project resources, such as personnel and equipment, are utilized.

  • Project risk exposure: Assesses the level of risk associated with the project and the effectiveness of risk mitigation strategies.

  • Customer satisfaction with the project: Measures the satisfaction of stakeholders, including customers and internal teams, with the project's outcome.

  • Project task completion rate: Tracks the percentage of project tasks or milestones completed on time.

  • Defect rate: The number of defects or errors identified during project execution. High defect rates may indicate quality issues.

  • Project stakeholder engagement: Evaluates the level of engagement and communication with project stakeholders, ensuring alignment with project goals.

In summary, e-commerce KPIs are critical tools for e-commerce businesses to measure, evaluate, and improve their online performance. They provide actionable insights that drive decision-making, support strategic goals, and ultimately contribute to the success and growth of the e-commerce venture.

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