The Performance Beacon

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E-commerce KPI: Study reveals industry benchmarks

In the current digital marketplace, data analysis is everything. This information allows companies to see which areas of their website are performing well and which are in need of improvement and can help prove the value of various investments. However, with all the data floating around, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to focus on.

When it comes to website performance, there are a number of different benchmarks to take into account. Load times, bounce rates, time spent on certain pages … the list goes on and on. But which of these figures are critical and which should receive a lower priority? And how do the metrics of your website compare with those of the industry overall? Let's examine the top benchmarks being leveraged today and what they can mean for your company.

Today's top KPIs

"Key performance indicators can tell quite the story about your website."

Key performance indicators can tell quite the story about your website, as eCommerce Insiders contributor Pawel Grabowski noted that these numbers can also help identify potential website issues while reducing the risk of customer loss. But which statistics qualify as "key"?

There are several measurements company leaders should pay attention to, particularly when it comes to their website's traffic, advertising and social media:

  • Traffic: When looking at KPIs related to website traffic, stakeholders should examine the number of page views, the overall bounce rate and the types of traffic coming to the page. These metrics will show how many visitors use each page, how long they stay on the website and what channels they use to get there.
  • Advertising: Grabowski recommended paying special attention to the pay-per-click cost per acquisition as well as the pay-per-click total conversions. This information can help measure the success of specific marketing campaigns and assist administrators in judging if their spend in these areas is in the best interest of the company.
  • Social Media: Social networking metrics have become increasingly important and should be included in the company's statistical analysis. During this examination, business leaders should take a look at Facebook's number of likes for each post, as well as how their organization ranks on the "talking about this" graph. In addition, administrators can also investigate the amount of retweets the company sees on Twitter and how many new followers it gets on each respective platform.

While by no means an extensive list, these KPIs are key and can help the company craft strategies for driving more traffic to the website and retaining visitors for longer.

"By tracking various KPIs, you are able to spot and react to changes … really quickly, ultimately reducing the losses in your online business," Grabowski wrote.

Industry comparison: Industry averages

"Although performance metrics can be helpful, they must be examined within the right context."

Although metrics like these can be helpful, they must be examined within the right context. For example, companies shouldn't limit their scope to current figures, but should compare this information with historical data as well for a more complete picture. It can also be advantageous to see how a business's performance compares with others in its given industry.

A recent Moz study did just this, and offers insight into the average KPI metrics for the e-commerce industry. Researchers included 30 websites in the study, which gleaned a combined 56 million visits between Aug. 1, 2013 and July 30, 2014. Key findings included:

  • The average bounce rate experienced was 35 percent.
  • The typical user stayed on a website for just under 4 minutes.
  • The average conversion rate was 1.4 percent.
  • Almost half of all website traffic – 43 percent – came from mobile devices.
  • Mobile users generated 26 percent of total revenue.
  • Desktop users accounted for the most sessions overall with 57 percent.
  • Desktop users also generated the highest conversion rate, at 1.8 percent. Tablets and smartphones saw 1.37 percent and 0.61 percent conversion rates respectively.

While the majority of these figures can be used as concrete comparisons, Moz did clarify its conversion measurements.

"Well, remember the conversion measured here is a sale," Moz contributor Alan Coleman explained. "If your conversion rate is lower than the study average don't fire your CMO straight away; check if your average transaction value is higher. If they balance each other out you are all good – if they don't it's time to start digging deeper."

No matter what specific KPI is being examined, it's important to have the most reliable and up-to-date information possible. This is where SOASTA's e-commerce solutions can be so valuable. By measuring and testing performance metrics including page load times and response times of individual features, businesses can gain a more in-depth view of its overall standing.

SOASTA Marketing

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