time8 min read

15 Key Performance Indicators to Track for Excellence in Online Retail Operations

time8 min read

Flight instruments provide a pilot with all the crucial information during the flight like altitude, airspeed, vertical speed, and more. By constantly monitoring these inputs as well as actively communicating via radio and maintaining visual control through illuminators, a pilot can perform a successful flight. A business executive is not that much different. Key Performance Indicators in retail business are designed to examine how the business performs, where it goes, and at what speed.

The difference is the quality of data. A pilot has no useless data on their dashboard. By contrast, a business owner may have tens or even hundreds of different company variables tracked simultaneously. Some of them are important, but many of them are not. How does the owner determine which are crucial?

The challenge for online retailers is not collecting the data needed. The challenge is knowing what to monitor, how often, and how to interpret the results. We want to help business owners and operational executives achieve excellence in their retail business processes. To do so, it’s important not to get caught micromanaging each team.

The goal is to find a specific number of KPIs that will help guide business decisions, control day-to-day operations, and improve the efficiency of the organization. But first, a short disclaimer.


In this blog post, we will not show specific numbers as they vary dramatically from organization to organization. Additionally, the following list of KPIs is made specifically for online retailers and consists of the essentials. Additional indicators could be added based on the level of maturity of the business, differences in the software ecosystem, and overall business structure.

The KPIs identified in this blog post are divided into 6 main business processes that are common for every online retailer. Such a structure should help you to focus on the performance of entire teams and rapidly see the larger business picture. Without further ado, let’s review the key performance indicators in online retail!

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Key Performance Indicators in Retail to Track


Sales and Marketing

Sales and Marketing KPIs are essential business performance indicators because they show how much money the organization spends and earns. They also illustrate how well the other business processes are functioning. It’s not enough to measure just sales and marketing because a drop in traffic or conversion rate means that you probably missed the root of the problem.

15-Key-Performance-Indicators-to-Track-for-Excellence-in-Online-Retail-Operations-sales-and-marketingWhile there are many different variations you can monitor and measure, below are the most insightful in terms of process excellence:

Website Traffic

The most obvious and crucial parameter for every online retailer. Shows how many users visit your website during a certain period.

Conversion rate (CR)

Shows how successful your business activities are by measuring the number of people who not only visited your website but took a specific action or converted. By observing CR, you can quantify the quality of traffic you have generated.

Average Order Value (AOV)

AOV is defined as revenue divided by the number of orders. It’s a crucial metric directly related to profit. With this metric, you can evaluate overall marketing efforts and pricing strategy.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

CAC is usually calculated by dividing the total cost of marketing and sales by the number of customers acquired. This parameter becomes handy while your organization grows because it can help you simplify marketing and sales decisions, understand which segment of your customers is more profitable, and analyze overall efficiency.

Content and Product Information

The content management team is one of the largest teams in the entire eCommerce group. The product information process is tightly connected to the growth of the business. The indicators below help to answer the question of how fast an organization can grow and what resources are needed. These KPIs are also applicable to other content on a website, like the category content or blog.

Number of content processed per unit of time

It’s important to understand how much content your team can process during a certain period. This number can usually be uncovered by measuring the time it takes to update one attribute in one product or several attributes in one product.

Number of new content added to a website per unit of time

More important is to know how many items you can add to a website during a certain period. The difference between this KPI and the number of content processed is that when adding a product to the website, the team must update all the attributes related to a specific product to make it appear. This usually requires different specialists (SEO marketer, copywriter, designer, and so on), making the process more time-consuming.

Order Management and Fulfillment

For online retailers, understanding how much time it takes for an order to be fulfilled and delivered is critical. The speed of this process could be the bottleneck that makes all other business efforts useless. If you have thousands of orders every hour but cannot process the volume, what is the point?

Number of orders processed per unit of time

As the main key performance indicator of the order management process, we suggest monitoring how many orders your organization can process per given period. With this number, you’ll be able to understand your fulfillment capacity and whether it is a bottleneck.

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Customer Support

The efficiency of the customer support team is directly related to the customer retention rate, lifetime value, and loyalty. To ensure maximum efficiency, make sure your customers don’t wait long, and that there is enough staff to help, the following KPIs can help you:

Average Resolution Time (AVR)

AVR not only shows how many customer issues the team can resolve within the period, but it also shows how well the team performs and the capacity of the process.

Average Wait Time (AWT)

Average wait time is a more crucial metric and can usually uncover challenges in the process. Longer wait times affect not only customers but also the overall performance of the team as well as the profitability of the business.

Integration with ERP

Integrations can be a complex topic. The more control you have over integrations, the more you can optimize them. Unfortunately, if you’re using a vendor-issued solution, you won’t have the flexibility to have much impact on the results.

Read also: 3 Proven Software Integrations to Boost Retail Business Process Efficiency

A list of the KPIs below will help identify whether it’s time to work on the software ecosystem and how it affects the business performance.


Inventory sync frequency

As an operational manager, you should be aware of how frequently the website synchronizes inventory. With a growing number of online orders due to a pandemic, this indicator could become crucial as failures of regular and rapid synchronizations could quickly deteriorate overall business performance.

Price sync frequency

The same goes for prices. If you’re using any sort of special pricing or limited offers you need to be sure that those deals appear on a website within a certain period.

The volume of inventory and prices synced per a single updated

Not only is the frequency of updates important, but the volume of products and prices that could be synchronized per unit of time needs to be tracked. These metrics work together, so one can not exist without another.

Time to actualize website data

Finally, you should have visibility to how quickly the data added to the website appears for customers to see. If this process is slow, no matter how much you have invested in a content team, they will look inefficient.

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Website Performance

Website performance is not some sort of rocket science designed for coders that is irrelevant for business purposes. Website performance is an essential part of online sales and should be monitored with the same level of attention as the other KPIs.

Page Load Time

The current industry standard for page load time is 3 seconds. This number can vary broadly from website to website, but it’s important to understand that visitors are used to speed. By checking load time regularly, you’ll see how content and other enhancements that you have added to a website affect its performance. Start by checking page performance with PageSpeed Insight by Google.

Core Web Vitals

Starting in May 2021, Core Web Vitals became another crucial website metric. Google now ranks and measures your website based on the speed that it loads and how fast it becomes interactive and stable. By missing this KPI, your SEO marketing effort could be ineffective, meaning investments are wasted.

Frequency of KPIs tracking and reporting

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to tracking frequency (daily, weekly, or quarterly). It depends on your risk management and overall business strategy. Generally, businesses do a poor job of tracking most of these indicators because they don’t consider operations problems as risks. Monitoring occurs only when the problem becomes so significant that it impacts performance to the point that the business starts to lose revenue.

The KPIs given above should help you to implement a more proactive, problem-solving approach. It allows you to predict what could create a problem in the future and address it before it can become one.

The framework of how frequently you should track all of the mentioned KPIs is the following steps: pick crucial parameters for your business, take a reference value of each indicator, determine and establish boundary values for each, and monitor when the numbers become higher than the boundary value.

How can you determine the boundaries of different parameters? It all ties back to how much it costs the business to have a problem. When profit loss caused by the problem is less than the cost to resolve the problem, the situation is likely fine. But when lost profit becomes higher than the cost of improvement, it’s time to act. So, consider a number that defines this transition as a boundary value.

What’s next?

Now that you are aware of the most crucial key performance indicators in retail, it’s time to act. Make interaction with KPIs a process rather than a reaction. Establish the process of collecting the data and visualization. By constantly monitoring important KPIs, you’ll be able to manage the process and improve it. As one wise man said: “What gets measured gets managed”.

Don’t let your business struggle due to an unknown reason, contact Maven today, and we’ll make sure all the hidden issues are visible, countable, and resolved.

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