Key Metrics for Online Retailers in 2020

November 4, 2020
By Drew Smith
Drew is the Director of Product Strategy at Upp and focuses on how technology can help brands and retailers deliver what their customers want.

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key metrics for retailers online
November 4, 2020
By Drew Smith

Short-Term Wins and Long-Term Gain

The amount of data available to retailers in this day and age is immense. And as a result, too many retailers are using incomplete metrics to determine success, like ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), an efficiency metric. 

On top of that, retailers are struggling with competing in the oversaturated online marketplace. They must have a good grasp of their online performance and ensure that strategic decisions they make drive business success. 

This article will outline the limitations of some of the metrics you’re probably already using, and provide the key metrics online retailers should be looking at in order to win short term and make long-term gains.

The metrics that are limiting you

Metrics like ROAS and CPO (Cost Per Opportunity) are efficiency metrics. While they’re important and helpful in assessing where your marketing spend is at, they are not clear in gauging the success of your overall campaigns. While efficiency with your ad spending is a good thing, the most important element when reviewing the overall performance of your campaigns is making sure that your measures of success are aligned with the overall company success measures.

To do that, you need a better understanding of how you can maximise your digital spend to improve profitability. This means you’ll need to take a critical look at your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and assess priorities.

Don’t let your digital metrics limit you. Here are some of the key measurements you should also be considering.

Revenue

Revenue is one of the most important metrics to examine regularly. If you’re not hitting your revenue targets, it doesn’t matter how efficient your marketing is. It’s not hitting the goal.

How measuring revenue leads to short-term wins

Your business needs continuous and consistent revenue to succeed, and you should be keeping track of it across the board. You will benefit greatly from software that provides revenue data at a granular level so you can track progress against your goals.

It’s not just about measuring revenue, it’s also about tracking sales velocity. This can help you determine whether you’re on the right track and whether short-term wins can be sustainable.

The long-term gain

Measuring revenue will help you see where your business is placed on an overall level. It can also help you to ensure you’re meeting targets at a departmental level, division level, or regional level across your entire business.

Just make sure your measurements align outcomes with the business goals of revenue and profit together. There is no use driving revenue growth if you’re experiencing margin erosion.

This brings us to…

Opportunities to run profitable marketing campaigns

Profitability

Profitability is vital when it comes to growth — it’s the real metric you want to track to measure your business success.

It’s one of the main goals businesses should be focusing on and departments must align their current KPIs to these goals. However, many departments purely focus on their own KPIs as they don’t have visibility of how their actions impact overarching business objectives like profitability. For example, the digital marketing team may be focused around metrics like ROAS, CPC and CTR, meaning they can lose visibility of the bigger picture. 

How measuring profitability leads to short-term wins

Profit margins can often be elusive. It’s become harder than ever for retailers to achieve their desired margins in a fickle and evolving consumer environment. That’s why you need a full understanding of your costs, how they change, and how they impact the margin of every product.

Retailers will have to adjust their KPI priorities according to the climate. In the current climate, teams are facing issues such as excess stock, which is putting pressure on retailers to boost sales and revenue performance for the short term in order to get rid of this stock. This might mean short-term discounting for some retailers. While increasing this revenue and tracking it is important, it’s just as important that you get the balance right to ensure you don’t lose sight of profitability in the long term.

Short-term selling can prop up the bottom line when you need to bring capital in quickly, but it can also detract from company performance overall. Long-term focused companies tend to outperform all others in nearly every key economic and financial measurement. However, short-term wins aren’t the enemy as long as they align with your long-term goals.

The long-term gain

The right software like Upp can clearly lay out your margin in an easy-to-use dashboard.

Net profit margin is the key metric to track as it helps to detect and avoid margin erosion. If you’re experiencing margin erosion, the software will give you granular insights into your spending, and uses machine learning to automatically adjust your ad campaigns at the click of a button to ensure you’re reaching your targets. The software can also provide margin insights at SKU level, giving retailers full strategic control of their Google Shopping performance. 

The software platform aligns with your business objectives so you can make sure you’re meeting targets and achieving the growth you want.

 

Measuring the Right KPIs

Measuring revenue and profitability will also help you uncover two of the most important things about your marketing:

  • Which of your marketing approaches and tactics is driving revenue?
  • Which marketing efforts are ineffective at driving revenue?

You can have the most efficient ad strategy in the world but if your cash register isn’t ringing or you’re not hitting your margins, it won’t matter for long. Make sure you are measuring the right KPIs, aligning them with your business goals, and have the right software solutions in place to track your progress.

metrics driving revenue

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