10 Essential eCommerce Metrics to Measure Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

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by: John Surdakowski01/26/2022

Quick Summary Measuring the right eCommerce metrics can help you grow your conversion rates. These 9 metrics tell the story of how well you’re doing, so you can create strategies to improve and optimize your CROs.


So much of marketing is designed to get people to our sites and apps, but eCommerce success relies on conversions. The heart of your business is getting sales. Make sure you're measuring what happens through the sales funnel so that you optimize your conversions. Let’s start by defining conversion rate optimization (CRO), and then we'll dive into the eCommerce metrics you want to track to measure your CRO.

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What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is the sum of the actions you take to increase the number of users that do what you want on your eCommerce website or app.

Conversions help guide customers towards sales and allow you to measure the impact of your marketing, SEO, and optimization. When you measure the right eCommerce CROs, you'll get a roadmap for what’s working well, where sales get stalled, and where you can optimize performance.

eCommerce metrics on their own are neither good nor bad. They provide neutral data that allows you to make an honest assessment. From the data, you can develop eCommerce KPIs to set goals to measure and improve metrics to where you want them to be.

eCommerce Metrics to Measure CRO

The average eCommerce conversion rate is about 1.8%, which is a shockingly low number when you consider all the money you spend getting people to your site and driving them towards a sale. That average eCommerce site will increase its revenue by more than 11% when their conversion rate goes up to 2.0%. Increasing the conversion rate to 2.8% would increase their revenue by more than 55%.

So, what does it take to improve your CRO? It starts with measuring the right metrics to optimize your performance. Here are the top nine eCommerce metrics to measure.

1. Site Speed

Page speed and load times are crucial. Site speed and page speed impact everything:

Loading speed is one of the metrics Google used in determining search ranking positions. When users search, Google wants to provide them with the best experience, so if your site doesn't load quickly, it will hurt your search rankings. You can check your page speed for free with Google PageSpeed Insights.

2. Bounce Rate

When visitors bounce visit and leave without doing anything, known as "bouncing", it’s a warning sign that something’s not working. 

It may be a sign that visitors to your site didn’t find what they were looking for. Inspect your pages with a high bounce rate to determine if there’s a way to reduce it. Is the content compelling? Does it provide the product information visitors are searching for? Is your value proposition clear?

Keep in mind that bounce rate isn’t just about content. It may be that your site’s hard to navigate, your offer isn't compelling, or your marketing isn't aligned with the users who are seeing your ads. For example, if your marketing is focused on a product but drives customers to your home page, would it be better to drive them to a product page? If customers are coming from search, but leaving without converting, do you need to focus on search engine marketing or SEO to better position your products in search?

3. New vs Returning Site Visitors

Measuring new versus returning site visitors is an important eCommerce metric, and it can tell you a lot about how your marketing and content are performing.

For example, if you have few new visitors coming to your website, it’s an indicator that you need to attract new customers through marketing. If you have a lot of new visitors but few sales, review your product offerings and your site.

You also need to track returning visitors. This will measure your ability to attract repeat business and the effectiveness of your ongoing marketing and remarketing efforts. You can also track how often visitors returned and any correlation between the number of visits and sales to look for patterns.

You’ll also want to dig into the data to determine the average pages per visit. This can help you understand whether the content on your pages matches what visitors or looking for. You'll also find out whether visitors are coming to your site for a single product or whether they're exploring your offerings. This can help you develop new cross-selling and upselling strategies.

As you optimize your site for conversions, your goal is to see your returning users increase over time while keeping a steady flow of new visitors.

4. Time on Site

When a visitor spends at least 50 seconds on a product page, the probability that they'll make a purchase reaches its highest point, so measuring the time visitors spent on your site is key to improving conversions.

It is a way to identify pages that are performing poorly. When your visitors aren't spending a lot of time on your site or engaging with any particular product page, it may be an indication that you need to improve the content on your eCommerce site pages.

You can also track time on site in relation to conversions. Time on site is great if it leads to conversions. Sometimes, however, a high score for time on site might indicate customers were not able to find what they were looking for. You need to understand how time on sit impacts behavior and actions.

5. Click-through Rate

Measuring your click-through rate helps you track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts across different mediums and platforms. For example, your marketing may be strong enough to get a user to click on your site, but your page content may need improvement to generate sales. It could also be that your marketing is misaligned and driving visitors to the wrong place or failing to generate enough interest to close the deal. It might also mean that you need to pay extra attention to your value or price strategies. While some of this may show up in your bounce rates, click-through rates also help you measure the ROI for your marketing campaigns. 

Here’s an example. If you spend $100 on an ad campaign and get 4 clicks, your CPC is 4%. While the number of clicks may seem small, the average clickthrough rate (CTR) for Google paid ads is just 3.17%, although it varies by industry. Here are some of the average CPCs for clickthroughs:

  • Consumer services: 2.41%

  • eCommerce: 0.51%

  • Finance and insurance: 2.91%

  • Health and medical: 3.27%

  • Home goods: 2.44%

  • Technology: 2.09%

  • Travel and hospitality: 4.68%

6. Cost per Conversion / Cost per Action

What may be more important the CTR is cost per action (CPA) when measuring conversions. Also known as cost per conversion (CPC), Known as cost per conversion (CPC) or cost per action (CPA), this metric tracks the average cost to procure a conversion. This metric can vary wildly depending on the specific conversion you are tracking, and it’s important to distinguish between them and analyze them to uncover any issues.

When you are measuring cost-per-conversion relative to sales, you can determine ROI in several ways. For example, you may want to track your paid search ads from click to sale -- how many people clicked an ad and then bought your product? You may also want to track conversions from organic search results or email blasts. You may also want to track cost-per-conversion against your total budget for marketing,

Tracking these metrics helps you determine the effectiveness of your advertising, marketing, and SEO strategies.

CPA also helps you know your customer acquisition costs (CACs). Rather than a percentage, CPA shows you in dollars and cents what it's costing you to get conversions.

Here are some of the average CPAs for Google search based on the same categories:

  • Consumer services: $90.70

  • eCommerce: $45.27

  • Finance and insurance: $81.93

  • Health and medical: $78.09

  • Home goods: $87.13

  • Technology: $133,52

  • Travel and hospitality: $44.73

As you can see, CPAs display a wide variance in different industries. Organizations must weigh the customer acquisition costs against customer lifetime value (CLV). If your CPA costs more than your CLV, you need to adjust your business model.

See how we launch & scale brands on Shopify Plus with a data-backed approach

7. Device Used

There are nearly 15 billion mobile devices used worldwide and hundreds of different types. You can track performance across different device types to look for trends or patterns.

When tracking devices, you can learn about device brands, operating systems, models, browsers, and service providers. They are a lot of variables in there that can help you look for potential roadblocks to conversions. Start with checking your baseline performance against particular devices to see if something looks out of the ordinary.

It’s not unusual to find lower conversion rates on particular devices. It’s worth taking a look to see if something doesn’t render properly or isn’t optimized for that type of device. You can do the same for each of the other device metrics to see what stands out. 

Mobile eCommerce (mCommerce) will top $3.5 trillion annually and accounts for nearly 73% of all eCommerce sales. If you notice your site is underperforming on certain devices or mobile devices, look at your site design and infrastructure. Is your mobile site loading quickly enough? Are images getting cut-off, pages difficult to navigate, or is there an issue with your checkout process on mobile?

You can check your overall mobile performance for free with Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.

8. Email Marketing Growth

Successful eCommerce brands focus attention on every step of the customer journey. One important step is capturing emails so that you can personalize marketing efforts to customers.

Email allows you to stay in touch with your customers more directly, provide special offers, and reach customers even when they’re not actively shopping. With the right marketing platform, such as Klaviyo, you can personalize content at scale to increase engagement.

Of course, the more subscribers you can entice to join each month, the better. When you see a high email growth rate, this indicates that your CRO efforts focused on email subscribers is working. 

If your email list isn’t growing, you need to assess your CRO efforts to see why it’s not generating new subscribers. If you see a significant number of unsubscribes, you will want to evaluate what you’re doing with your email. For example, are you sending too many, too often? Are you not providing value? Are your offers not valuable enough to generate interest? Learn essential email marketing tips here

9. Cart Abandonment Rate

One of the biggest things to check on — and one of the eCommerce industry's biggest concerns overall — is the cart abandonment rate. In eCommerce, the online cart abandonment rate is nearly 70%. That represents billions of dollars in lost sales annually. For health and beauty brands, it’s even higher at 74%, although that’s a big improvement from early 2020, when cart abandonment hit nearly 95%.

While some shoppers are just browsing, a 2021 study by Statista showed that more than 60% of users eventually made a purchase. While 31% made a purchase on the same site at a later date, a quarter purchased the item from a different online retailer, and 8% purchased in-store.

Monitor, measure, and analyze your cart abandonment rates vigorously. This may be the most important thing you do in improving your overall sales. When customers put things in their shopping cart, you’re so close. It’s worth the effort to figure out what it takes to push them over that final hurdle.

This is a good place to A/B test different strategies to evaluate performance. Check to see whether changes to any of these items make a noticeable difference:

  • Clear navigation and call to action buttons

  • Progress bars on completing sales

  • Simplified page layouts

  • Transparent pricing, shipping, and delivery options

  • Secure verification and payment forms

  • Customer support, such as real-time chat

  • Account creation requirements/guest checkout

Any of these items can lead to cart abandonment. You want paying for products and completing purchases to be the easiest thing shoppers have to do on your site. Anything you add that creates friction in the process will reduce conversions.

Which eCommerce Metrics Should I Focus On?

Gathering eCommerce metrics and analyzing them is one thing. Creating a strategy to impact them is something different altogether. 

One thing to keep in mind when crafting a conversion rate optimization strategy is that not all metrics are created equal. Some will have a more significant impact on your CRO than others, so start with the most important ones. 

 Here are some things to think about as you prioritize.

What’s the Impact?

If you can improve a metric, how big of a direct impact would it have on revenue? If it isn't significant, it may not be worth the effort until you’ve taken care of other more important metrics.

What’s Our Strategy?

Your strategy isn’t to improve metrics. Your strategy is to improve conversions. Make sure that you focus your attention on the strategies that produce results and align with your organizational goals.

How Are Things Linked?

Most things don’t work in isolation. For example, if you improve your page speed, it can improve your search position, which can lead to more site visitors and more conversions. 

As you are designing your eCommerce KPIs to improve performance, it helps to map out how each relates to set priorities. This is information you need to know to measure the effectiveness of your strategies.

This can also help you identify roadblocks that prevent conversions. For example, if you increase click-through rates significantly, but don’t see increased conversions, it may indicate that you are not driving the right kind of customer to your site. It might also mean your content or call to action is performing at optimal levels and deserve a review.

Measuring eCommerce Metrics

Metrics like social media engagement, page views, and traffic are worth measuring, but they don't immediately translate to conversions. Anyone might click like on a social post or visit your website, whether they're a potential customer or not. What you want to focus on are the metrics that move the meter.

Measuring your eCommerce metrics provides you with a baseline to judge future performance. When you know where you are, you can set the agenda for where you want to go. Tracking the right eCommerce metrics can help you identify the places you need to improve and measure the impact of the changes you make.

Avex Designs is an elite team of strategists, designers, technologists, and creates that help brands grow. With more than 25 eCommerce experts on staff, our core services focus on growing your business through data-backed user experience (UX) design, cutting-edge technology, eCommerce optimization, and email marketing to increase conversions.

Contact Avex Designs today and let us show you what we can do for your business.

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